UWCL: Lyon Too Clinical for Bayern

Bayern Munich faced four-time defending European champions Lyon—who boast German playmaker Dzsenifer Marozsán among their world-class squad—in the Champions League quarter-final tonight in Bilbao. In a feisty game, the Bavarians were not intimidated and used their physicality well and, after being down 2–0, mounted a genuine comeback through a Carolin Simon free-kick goal that made the game uncomfortable for Lyon until the very end. Ultimately, however, the Lyonnaise were just too clinical with the few clear chances they got and too experienced to let their lead slip. With their 2–1 win, Lyon now advance to face their familiar rivals Paris Saint-Germain (who won their quarter-final game by the same scoreline over Arsenal) in the semi-final on Wednesday, while Bayern Munich head home to prepare for their Frauen-Bundesliga season opener vs. SC Sand on Sunday, September 6.

After making six summer signings, Bayern Munich head coach Jens Scheuer immediately installed Hanna Glas and Marina Hegering in defense and Lea Schüller as the team’s No. 9. Lina Magull captained the team following Melanie Leupolz’s transfer to Chelsea, while Simon (who won the Champions League with Lyon in 2019) started at left-back against her former team. Lyon rolled out a team as expected with only injury-forced changes. Nikita Parris slided centrally, while Kadeisha Buchanan partnered captain Wendie Renard in central defense.

Bayern started off the game strong with some sustained periods of possession. When out of possession, they held their defensive shape and forced Lyon to resort to low-probability chances. By halfway through the first half, Lyon had already been called offside three times. Despite playing well, Bayern did not have many good looks, with Schüller missing a cross being their best chance.

With Lyon’s squad packed with world-class players, however, they only needed one moment of magic to unlock the game. In the 41st minute, Eugénie Le Sommer elegantly flicked the ball onto Parris’s path and the English forward managed to cushion the header into goal while sprinting at full speed. Laura Benkarth, Bayern’s goalkeeper, made a failed play on the ball and body-slammed Parris instead, earning a yellow card in the process.

Coming out from half-time with the lead, Lyon were able to rest Amandine Henry by bringing on Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, their summer signing from Wolfsburg. With their superior bench options, Lyon manufactured some nice chances, including one where Marozsán released Delphine Cascarino on the right that forced Benkarth into a huge save one-on-one. Cascarino continued to cause trouble, however. In the 58th minute, she carried the ball centrally, drew a foul from Magull, and earned a dangerous free kick for Lyon at the edge of the box. Amel Majri then stepped up and made it 2–0.


Now chasing the game, Bayern brought on attacking substitutes Jovana Damnjanović—their leading scorer last season—and new signing Viviane Asseyi. The French international, familiar with many of Lyon’s players at both club and international level, brought an immediate spark to Bayern’s attack and earned a free-kick in the 63rd minute. Simon, a former Lyon player, did her best Megan Rapinoe impression to pull a goal back and show that maybe Lyon made a mistake by selling her last summer.

Sensing an opening, Bayern pushed further forward in search of an equalizer, yet that opened up opportunities from the other end for Lyon as well. Bayern’s Sydney Lohmann fired a long-range rocket that hit the crossbar, while Marozsán chipped a ball just inches too high for Lyon. The play got especially chippy in the middle of the park and, unfortunately, Damnjanović suffered a potentially serious injury and had to leave the game. After that, besides another long-range effort from Bayern’s substitute Simone Laudehr that was easily caught by the goalkeeper, Lyon professionally managed their one-goal lead until the end.

Despite their loss and Damnjanović’s injury, Bayern Munich should hold their heads high for a strong effort heading into the new season. Their new-look defense—especially Swedish international Glas—performed admirably, and with additional familiarity Asseyi should be able to inject more flair and unpredictability into Bayern’s occasionally stodgy attack. While Wolfsburg continue to be the standard bearers for German women’s soccer, Bayern should be better equipped to mount a serious challenge this season.

About Sean Wang 16 Articles
I became a diehard women's soccer fan after catching the epic 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final between Japan and the US at a dive bar in Jordan, Montana. A Berliner since 2017, I can be frequently found shouting in front of the computer while watching OL Reign play in the NWSL, and catching Frauen-Bundesliga actions in Potsdam and on local television. Come talk "Quatsch" with me on Twitter!