Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp labelled Villarreal counterpart Unai Emery "king of the cup competitions" after the Reds set up a Champions League semi-final tie with the Spanish side.

Klopp's team played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Benfica to seal a 6-4 aggregate victory in their quarter-final tie on Wednesday, reaching the competition's final four for a joint-record 12th time amongst English clubs (level with Manchester United).

They will meet Villarreal in next round after Emery's men sealed an incredible 2-1 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich one day earlier, setting up their first Champions League semi-final appearance since the 2005-06 season after Samuel Chukwueze's late equaliser in Bavaria.

Speaking to DAZN in Germany after watching his much-changed side progress at Anfield, Klopp was wary of the threat posed by Villarreal in the next round, calling Emery the "king" of the cups and noting they deserved their spot in the last four after eliminating two top-class opponents.

"I think Villarreal definitely deserved to go through both rounds," he said. "Whoever kicks out Bayern and Juventus [a 4-1 aggregate win in the last-16] deserves to be in the semi-finals. 

"I know that Unai Emery is a bit of the king of cup competitions. It's incredible what he pulls off.

"They'll have a clear plan. And by the time we meet, we'll have one too."

Emery has earned a reputation as a cup specialist throughout his career, winning four Europa League titles with Sevilla (three) and Villarreal (one), as well as lifting seven trophies during his time with Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Arsenal boss will compete in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time later this month, advancing to this stage in his seventh season in the competition. 

Klopp, meanwhile, has reached the final four for the fourth time in his career, three of which have come with the Reds (the other with Borussia Dortmund). Only Sir Alex Ferguson has reached this stage more times (seven) as the manager of an English club.

Meanwhile, Liverpool's two meetings with Villarreal will take place either side of a Premier League trip to Newcastle on April 30, and Klopp made clear his frustration at having to face an early kick-off on Tyneside between the two legs. 

"I've just spoken to BT Sport [who will televise the Newcastle game] and pointed out to them again that this is a c**p kick-off time," Klopp added.

"We want to play all the games that are coming up, no problem at all. But it doesn't have to be that they let us play 12:30 on Saturdays and then see how it goes, for no reason. I will never understand that."

The 54-year-old did, however, acknowledge that Liverpool's congested fixture list was the result of an exceptional season to date, and was something to be embraced.

"It's the best end-of-season run you can have," he added. "Because we only play so many times because we get so far in the different competitions."

Liverpool remain in the hunt for a historic quadruple after overcoming Benfica, and face Premier League title rivals Manchester City for a place in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp took responsibility for a chaotic Liverpool defensive performance as they beat Benfica but insisted he could not be anything other than delighted with progress to a Champions League semi-final.

With an FA Cup last-four showdown against Manchester City on the horizon, the German made seven changes to a team looking to defending a 3-1 aggregate lead in Europe's premier cup competition.

A topsy-turvy game ensued, with the hosts coming through as 6-4 victors on aggregate following a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Klopp later blamed his changes for on occasionally ragged showing at the back, saying: "I made seven changes, the last line never played together like this, I decided that yesterday. 

"So we had 15-20 minutes to try and put it right. The majority of times they did really well, I liked the way we played football, the only problem was when we lost the ball our protection was obviously not perfect. 

"If you defend in a Champions League quarter-final it's about details. I didn't see the offside situations back, but it's part of defending to put the opponent offside. 

"Tonight that didn't work out too well we have to admit, but that is my fault because I changed seven times. 

"Benfica was still on fire and I respect that a lot. They scored really good goals, but it should not be as easy as it was tonight."

Klopp was more keen to focus on the positives overall, however, including a third Champions League semi-final appearance in five seasons.  

He added: "It is great, absolutely great. We never take something like this for granted. I am really, really happy. 

"I know we will talk about the game and the things that happened, the goals we conceded, but the day I am not over the moon about getting to a Champions League semi-final then something is really wrong and maybe it would be the right time to quit."

Next up for the Reds in this competition is a meeting with surprise package Villarreal, who stunned Bayern Munich to secure progress to the last four on Tuesday.

On the prospect of facing the Spaniards, Klopp said: "Tough, tough, tough. Both games they deserved to get through. 

"I didn’t analyse them because you watch the game and you try to figure out both teams. But [they have] real quality and Villarreal has probably the most successful cup competition manager in world football, so he knows what he is doing. 

"The team is really strong, two different approaches away and home, it's clear that they defended in Munich even more than they did in Villarreal. 

"It will be difficult, but it is semi-final of the Champions League, if it wouldn't be difficult then something would be really wrong."

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery hit back at criticism from Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn about the way the Spanish side played after they knocked the Bundesliga leaders out of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Taking a 1-0 advantage into the second leg on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena, the Yellow Submarine defended resolutely and scored a late goal to secure a 1-1 draw on the night, going through to the semi-finals 2-1 on aggregate. 

Robert Lewandowski had levelled the tie early in the second half via Thomas Muller's assist, but Samuel Chukwueze put Villarreal through with his goal in the 88th minute.

Speaking after Bayern's elimination, Kahn said: "There are few less pleasant teams to play against [than Villarreal]."

In response at a news conference following the game, Emery said: "Well, we do need to respect opinions, but they are totally unfair. The match is played in two games: 90 minutes [in Villarreal], where we were better than them, where we got a difference in the scoreboard, and today we played a match in which we haven't lost.

"The talk is that they wanted to be more aggressive in the pressure, and in fact, Lewandowski committed two aggressive tackles and the referee didn't send him off, which I understand because he shouldn't, and then they claimed a second card for Juan Foyth. But it was a clean game, well played."

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal manager also addressed accusations of time-wasting against his team.

"Logically, we played for time, but also in Villarreal we played like this," he added. "Like with the goalkeeper, if they do not want to come and pressure, we gain our time. It is not that we do not want to play, we want them to come and pressure us. Today they did it, that is why it cost us more. [In the first leg], they didn't [pressure us].

"So what I want to say is that each team has tactics, but respect, I will never lose it. If someone disrespects [me], it is not that I will respect him, but I will omit him.

"[Kahn] said that they had bad luck and that we surprised them... well, one needs to be a man."

Villarreal captain Dani Parejo also did not hold back when speaking about Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

"When the draw took place and Villarreal was their opponent, I believe that their coach... well, I do not know him, but I think he showed a little bit of disrespect, not to Villarreal, but to football," Parejo told Movistar+.

"And our club in this case, when he said that he wanted to decide the tie in the first leg. I trust that this was a lack of respect to us.

"In the end, when you spit in the wind, sometimes it returns straight to you."

Robert Lewandowski will stay at Bayern Munich next season, chief executive Oliver Kahn insists, despite speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona.

The Poland international has hit 32 goals in 29 Bundesliga games for Bayern this season, scoring 47 times for his club in all competitions.

Lewandowski's latest goal came in Bayern's 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Tuesday, making him just the third player to reach 30 goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League after Cristiano Ronaldo (67) and Lionel Messi (49).

Recent speculation has linked Lewandowski with a move to LaLiga, given his Bayern contract is set to expire in just over a year's time.

But Kahn, speaking ahead of the Villarreal game, said Lewandowski would be remaining in Munich and the club would be "crazy" to consider letting him go.

"Apparently there is a competition out there to see who brings out the biggest nonsense story about Robert Lewandowski," Kahn told Amazon Prime Video.

"It is very important to mention that we have a contract that is valid for another season. If there's something to report, then we'll do it, too.

"We are not crazy and discussing a change from a player who scores between 30 and 40 goals every season."

Kahn then insisted the striker would "definitely" remain at the club for another season.

Those words would bring some comfort to Bayern fans who then watched their team bow out of the Champions League following a 1-1 draw with Villarreal, having lost 1-0 in the first leg in Spain.

Bayern have failed to win back-to-back Champions League games for the first time since their 2018-19 last-16 tie with Liverpool, when they drew 0-0 away and lost 3-1 at home.

Meanwhile, no team have suffered more Champions League quarter-final eliminations than the Bavarian giants (eight), and they have fallen in the last eight in consecutive seasons after losing to Paris Saint-Germain last term.

However, Kahn refused to criticise Julian Nagelsmann's team for their efforts and said the club were "not going to cry".

"It's always disappointing when you concede a goal just before the end," he said after the match. "We could have made it 2-0 before that. 

"You can't blame the team. They put everything into it, tried everything in the second half. 

"There are few less pleasant teams to play against [than Villarreal]. To crack this kind of defence, you need a lot of patience, you have to keep running. If there's one critique, it's that we didn't take advantage of one or two scoring opportunities and should have created one or two more chances. 

"It just wasn't meant to be. The team threw everything in. We didn't lose the battle today [but in the first leg], more commitment and will is hardly possible.

"We're not going to cry, we're going to go for it again next year in the Champions League. 

"We have a great opportunity to become league champions for the 10th time in a row. No one has ever done that in Europe. We have a nine-point lead over Borussia Dortmund. That's what we'll focus on and throw everything into that."

Julian Nagelsmann knows this season cannot be considered a success for Bayern Munich after falling short of their "minimum goal" of making the Champions League semi-finals.

Bayern are on course for a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title, nine points clear of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund with five games to play.

But as last season, Bayern have failed to win the DFB-Pokal and been eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

After being edged out by big-spending Paris Saint-Germain in 2020-21, underdogs Villarreal put paid to their European hopes this time, claiming a 1-1 draw in Germany on Tuesday to claim a 2-1 aggregate success.

Samuel Chukwueze's late equaliser saw Bayern eliminated in the last eight for the eighth time in the Champions League era – more than any other side.

It was the first time Bayern had failed to win consecutive matches at any stage of the competition since facing Liverpool in the last 16 in 2018-19.

On the back of that disappointment, Nagelsmann was unwilling to be complacent about the Bundesliga title race as he considered the season as a whole.

"It depends on what happens in the Bundesliga," said the first-year Bayern coach.

"If we win that, we've matched what we did last year, which is not enough for Bayern Munich. The semi-finals should have been our minimum goal, but we've not done it."

While Nagelsmann insisted the damage had been done in Spain, he ranked this result among the three most disappointing of his coaching career.

"To be honest, this is one of the worst three defeats of my career," he said. "Hoffenheim v Liverpool was tough. RB Leipzig v PSG was difficult to take. We had plenty of chances, this is certainly one of the three toughest occasions.

"As to how we lift the team, everything works as normal. I'll do my job as usual. [On Wednesday] we'll start preparing for our next Bundesliga game and I'll get the team ready for it.

"A team like Bayern has experience with good and bad results. You win together and lose together, and you have to prepare for the next matches together.

"It's not easy, we will feel bad about [Tuesday], but I will do my best to lift the team."

Nagelsmann will be relieved he will at least not have to face Villarreal again this season, having grown frustrated by the approach of the LaLiga side, who had just four attempts but scored with their only shot on target.

Crucially, they limited Bayern to four shots on target from their 23 efforts, making seven blocks, and won 11 fouls to slow the pace of the game.

"It's difficult when the opposition have eight defenders in the penalty box, so it's never that easy to find your rhythm," Nagelsmann said.

"We have to score from winning the ball back, as we did. In other situations, it's super difficult.

"That's a part of how football is in southern Europe. I don't want to open up any discussion I'll have to apologise for next week, but everyone has to see their style for themselves.

"We had a couple of strong tackles where players could reasonably stay down, but not every situation needs to end with a player staying down for three minutes. I'm not going to make excuses about that, though."

Villarreal coach Unai Emery told his side to savour their achievement, after they progressed past Bayern Munich to the Champions League semi-finals with a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Coming into the second leg in Munich up 1-0 on aggregate, the Yellow Submarine continued to absorb pressure.

Robert Lewandowski levelled the tie at 1-1, seven minutes into the second half via Thomas Muller's assist, but Samuel Chukwueze put Villarreal through with his goal in the 88th minute.

According to Emery, savouring that achievement must not come as a result of Villarreal's status in comparison to European football's elite, but because of the work it took to get there.

"Let's enjoy the semi-finals, knowing we are here not because of how nice we are, or to let others say we are a nice and small town, but because we've worked for it," Emery told Marca post-match.

"We are professionals, but we also have feelings and today we have played a huge game and for this, a lot had to do with all the good we did in the first leg.

"It was essential to play a perfect game defensively, because against opponents of this level it is the only way to progress. We knew that we were going to have five moments throughout the match and we took advantage of one, thanks to the fact we have approached the tie with humility."

The Europa League holders approached Bayern in the same manner that saw them through Juventus in the last-16, keeping shape and playing in transition, while trying to restrict Bayern to low quality opportunities.

It worked again in the second leg, with Bayern particularly managing a cumulative xG of 1.06 despite 15 shots in the second half, compared to Villarreal's 0.64 from only two attempts.

It mattered little to Raul Albiol, who had to mark Lewandowski, saying extra time might have been a bridge too far.

"It's been a long 90 minutes and we didn't want extra time because it would have been too much suffering against an opponent with strikers of a very high level, who have forced us to be very focused, although they have scored a goal off a half-chance," Albiol told Movistar+ post-match.

"It is a success for a town, a club, a board, a team and all of Spanish football. It has been very nice and it has shown, as we did last year in the Europa League, that we compete very well. Work and passion are fundamental."

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich's elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Villarreal is "difficult to accept".

The Bundesliga leaders crashed out in the quarter-finals for the second season running, as Samuel Chukwueze's late strike at the Allianz Arena snatched a 1-1 draw on the night - and a 2-1 aggregate victory for the Europa League holders.

Julian Nagelsmann's side, beaten 1-0 in the first leg, dominated the game as they sought a ninth win from 11 Champions League quarter-final ties.

But despite Robert Lewandowski drawing them level early in the second half, Bayern were unable to capitalise on their superiority as they could only find the back of the net once from 23 attempts at goal.

And the Bavarian giants were stunned two minutes from time, when Chukwueze rounded off a devastating counter-attack to send Villarreal through to a first semi-final in this competition in 16 years.

Muller knows Bayern only have themselves to blame for lacking a cutting edge.

"If you take just this game into account, without the first game, we should have gone through convincingly," he told Amazon Prime.

"It's difficult to accept this; I don't know what to say.

"It's bitter to concede after that performance. With the fans behind us, we pushed, pushed, pushed from the start. We have to do more in front of goal."

Head coach Nagelsmann said the nature of Bayern's exit left a sour taste in the mouth.

The head coach added: "The first leg was the key. Today, we did very well. It was one of our best games. But we should have made it 2-0 in the second half.

"It's all very bitter. We had very little space, there was always a danger of getting hit on the counter, and creating many chances against such a deep defence is hard. 

"If you don't win and get eliminated, that's just the way it is."

Villarreal will do battle with Liverpool or Benfica for a place in the final.

Samuel Chukwueze struck a dramatic decisive late goal as Villarreal secured a 2-1 aggregate victory that sent Bayern Munich crashing out of the Champions League.

The Nigeria international climbed off the bench to make it 1-1 on the night two minutes from time in the second leg at the Allianz Arena to send the Yellow Submarine through to their first semi-final since the 2005-06 season.

Robert Lewandowski had levelled the tie early in the second half with his 13th Champions League goal of the campaign.

But there was a dramatic twist, as Chukwueze ensured Unai Emery would not be prevented from progressing beyond the last eight of this competition for the first time in his managerial career.

The Champions League quarter-final second legs are here, and the competition's two most recent winners must overcome first-leg deficits to reach the final four on Tuesday.

Defending champions Chelsea were downed by a stunning Karim Benzema hat-trick at home to Real Madrid, who are bidding to be crowned European champions for a 14th time.

Bayern Munich, meanwhile, suffered a shock reverse at Unai Emery's Villarreal, who will surely require a remarkable defensive performance to keep the free-scoring Bundesliga leaders at bay in Bavaria.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data from Tuesday's crucial European ties. 

Real Madrid v Chelsea: Benzema brilliance puts hosts in driving seat

Benzema's Stamford Bridge hat-trick has put Los Blancos on the brink of a semi-final spot, and he will be looking to continue his incredible European campaign when Chelsea try to overcome a 3-1 deficit in Spain.

After hitting consecutive European trebles, Benzema's tally of 11 goals is a new record for the most strikes by a French player in a single edition of the competition, and matches his record across the last two editions combined (he scored six goals in 2020-21 and five in 2019-20).

The 34-year-old's understanding with Vinicius Junior caused Chelsea all sorts of problems in London, and the duo have now assisted each other a combined five times in the Champions League this term (Vinicius providing four assists, Benzema one), the most of any two team-mates in the competition.

Carlo Ancelotti will qualify for the semi-finals for a record eighth time if Madrid can maintain their advantage against his former employers, equalling Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are making their first trip to the Santiago Bernabeu in European competition, and must become the first English side to win a Champions League game there by more than one goal to have any chance of progressing.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's costly mistake at Stamford Bridge has left the Blues on the brink of an exit, with his dire pass to Benzema representing his first error leading directly to a goal in 20 appearances in the competition.

Chelsea may be encouraged by the fact they have not lost both legs of a Champions League tie since going down to Bayern Munich in 2019-20's last 16, and have won three and drawn two of their last six meetings with Los Blancos.

However, with Madrid progressing from nine of their previous 10 ties after winning an away first leg (the exception being a 5-3 aggregate loss to Ajax in 2019), Chelsea look unlikely to revive their title defence.

 

Bayern Munich v Villarreal: Emery eyes landmark success against Bavarian giants

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich are looking to avoid consecutive last-eight eliminations when they host Villarreal, with Arnaut Danjuma giving Unai Emery's men a precious 1-0 first-leg lead.

Danjuma has six Champions League goals this term, with only Robert Lewandowski (12), Benzema (11), and Mohamed Salah (eight) managing more, and could prove the visitors' best outlet on the counter-attack.

Indeed, Villarreal will certainly require a resolute defensive performance in Munich, having conceded 22 shots in their surprising home triumph.

However, Julian Nagelsmann's side were uncharacteristically wasteful in Spain, and their four shots on target last Wednesday marked the lowest such tally managed by a team to attempt over 20 shots in the competition this season.

 

Bayern unquestionably have what it takes to turn the contest around, however, and haven't gone consecutive Champions League games without scoring since a 5-0 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in 2013-14's semi-final tie.

Lewandowski will carry the burden of rescuing the Bavarian giants, having already scored two European hat-tricks in Munich this season (against Benfica and RB Salzburg). Only Cristiano Ronaldo (for Real Madrid in 2015-16) has ever managed three trebles in one Champions League campaign.

If the Yellow Submarine can pull off a remarkable success at the Allianz Arena, Emery will progress beyond the competition's quarter-finals for the first time in his career.

But the omens do not make for great reading for the Spaniard. The only previous time a side of his won an opening leg in the competition's knockout stages (Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 win over Barcelona in 2017), they became the first team to be eliminated after winning a first leg by four goals, falling to an incredible 6-1 away loss. 

Julian Nagelsmann has promised that Bayern Munich "will not play badly against the same opponent twice" ahead of his side's Champions League clash with Villarreal.

Bayern welcome Villarreal to the Allianz Arena trailing 1-0 from last week's first leg.

The Bundesliga leaders are looking to avoid being eliminated in the quarter-finals in consecutive seasons. Prior to last term, when they lost to Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight, Bayern had only been eliminated in one of their last nine quarter-final ties in the competition, against Real Madrid in 2016-17.

Villarreal coach Unai Emery said after the first leg that he regretted his side not being able to make the most of further opportunities to extend their advantage.

It was the first time Bayern have failed to score in a Champions League since Liverpool in February 2019, and Nagelsmann insisted the poor display will not be replicated on Tuesday.

"We played a bad game and they played their best game," Nagelsmann told a news conference.

"This will not happen again, to play badly against the same opponent twice.

"We delivered in the past and it should be like that. We have to, we must, we want to. It is normal when you win so many titles and have such success for so many years that you maybe need this pressure sometimes to get the maximum out.

"Maybe it will be a sparkling game from our side. We must turn up our complete intensity level. We did not take the last steps, the last metres in the first leg. We have to play more uncomfortable football."

Bayern actually finished the first leg with a higher expected goals (xG) of 1.6 in comparison to Villarreal's 1.5, though that will have been helped by a higher quantity of attempts (22 to 12).

Nagelsmann added: "We made many mistakes. They made one to keep us alive. They could have scored more goals but we are still alive and we should show it on the pitch."

Bayern are aiming to progress from a Champions League knockout tie after losing the first leg for the first time since the 2014-15 quarter-finals, while the defeat was their 20th against a Spanish team in European competition, their most against sides from a specific nation.

Barcelona have asserted they will not break the bank in pursuit of Erling Haaland, but they remain keen on a striker to help Xavi's rebuild.

Robert Lewandowski is seen as a potential option if does not extend his deal at Bayern Munich.

According to reports, Lewandowski is weighing up his options, as Barcelona prepare themselves for a possible move.

 

TOP STORY – DEST TO BE USED AS MAKEWEIGHT?

Sergino Dest will be added as a sweetener to get a potential deal for Bayern's Lewandowski to Barcelona over the line, Sport reports.

Bayern already made a transfer request during the previous off-season's transfer window for the 21-year-old United States international, who has struggled for consistent minutes since Xavi took over as coach in November.

While a combination of Ronald Araujo, Dani Alves and Oscar Mingueza have all filled in at right back this season, Dest has been increasingly viewed as expendable under Xavi's tenure.

Lewandowski's contract runs out in 2023, but a move at the end of this season is still on the cards. Barca could use Dest to partly subsidise what is sure to be a huge asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

– The agent of Chelsea and Germany forward Timo Werner has been in Italy meeting with representatives from MilanJuventus and Atalanta, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich, per Bild.

– The Mirror is reporting senior figures at Inter are now more open to the idea of a return for Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

– Villarreal and Netherlands winger Arnaut Danjuma is viewed by Liverpool as a potential replacement for Sadio Mane, Goal has reported, but the Reds are not expected to make a bid until 2023.

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann admits his side deserved to lose their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Villarreal on Wednesday.

Arnaut Danjuma scored the only goal of the game in the eighth minute, and only wasteful finishing prevented the hosts from taking a greater lead to Germany for next week's second leg.

The result marked the first time Bayern have failed to score in a Champions League game since February 2019 (0-0 v Liverpool), ending a run of 30 consecutive games in which they had scored at least once.

While Nagelsmann accepted Villarreal were deserving winners, he still believes his side have what it takes to turn it around in the reverse fixture.

"We deserved to lose. We weren't good today. In the first half, we lacked power in defence and had too few chances," he told DAZN.

"The second half was a completely wild game. We gave up control because we were desperate to score.

"I think they could have scored a few more goals against us, but it was 1-0. We have not played a good game today in all aspects. 

"But it's only 1-0 and we have to show another side of us in the second leg; we know how to do it and I think we will."

Asked where it went wrong for his side tactically, Nagelsmann pointed to a lack of intensity down the flanks.

"It's a typical match against a Spanish team, who have good players and make few mistakes," he added. "They have quality with the ball. 

"On the wings we were not intense and we lacked penetration; we did not do the diagonals well either. Nothing worked for us and we had few chances. We deserved to lose."

Bayern have failed to progress from each of their last five ties in the Champions League knockout stages when they have lost the first leg, with four of those five eliminations coming against Spanish teams (Barcelona in 2014-15, Atletico Madrid in 2015-16 and Real Madrid in 2016-17 and 2017-18).

Thomas Muller, who failed to have a single shot in his 62 minutes on the pitch, knows Bayern have to improve dramatically if they are to end that run and book a spot in the last four.

"We failed to deliver the match we wanted," he said. "Offensively, we didn't have the energy; we didn't create many chances and we lacked the explosiveness. 

"We accept this 1-0. If it had gone wrong, the score could have been higher. 

"We have seen that Villarreal is not an opponent we can walk against, contrary to what some media said. We have to prepare for the second leg and take our revenge."

Arnaut Danjuma scored the only goal of the game as Villarreal edged past an out-of-sorts Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

The Yellow Submarine, playing in their first last-eight tie since the 2008-09 season, started superbly and opened the scoring inside 10 minutes courtesy of Danjuma's sixth Champions League goal of the season.

Francis Coquelin had an effort ruled out for offside and Gerard Moreno struck the post as Unai Emery's side dominated at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Julian Nagelsmann's side scarcely looked like finding a leveller and they will have to improve dramatically in next week's return fixture if they are to progress to the last four.

Villarreal's electric start was rewarded in the eighth minute when Danjuma steered home Daniel Parejo's mis-hit shot from six yards.

Coquelin found the back of the net with a looping cross that caught Manuel Neuer out shortly before half-time, yet the Bayern goalkeeper's blushes were spared thanks to a VAR review that showed the Villarreal midfielder had been marginally offside.

The Bundesliga leaders were well off the pace in the first half and went in at the break having failed to register a single shot on target.

Serge Gnabry flashed wide shortly after the interval, while at the other end Moreno struck the base of the post with a dipping strike from 25 yards. 

Moreno went agonisingly close to a breathtaking goal on the hour mark, the Spain international whipping just wide from inside his own half after a sloppy pass from Neuer – the closest either side came to a goal in the final 30 minutes.

 

What does it mean? Dismal Bayern punished

Bayern were red-hot favourites to secure a first-leg advantage in Spain, yet a combination of slapstick defending and toothless attacking left them with work to do back in Germany next week.

Emery's men were outstanding and will be disappointed not to have given themselves a healthier lead to take to Bavaria, given the quality of the chances they created.

Danjuma maintains hot streak

Danjuma's sensational season in the Champions League continued with another goal here. The Netherlands international now has six goals to his name – more than any other player for the club in a single campaign in the competition.

Subdued Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski cut a frustrated figure up front for Bayern, taking just 29 touches – the joint-lowest of any Bayern starter – and managing just two shots.

What's next?

Both sides are in domestic action on Saturday before next week's second leg, with Bayern hosting Augsburg and Villarreal at home to Athletic Bilbao.

The business end of the Champions League usually throws up familiar rivalries, with Europe's big guns so often getting to the latter stages of the competition.

Wednesday sees a repeat of last season's semi-final as Chelsea and Real Madrid contest a tie brimming with European pedigree, but last year's Europa League winners Villarreal are playing the increasingly customary role of Champions League disruptor.

From Atalanta to Ajax to Lyon, there seems to be one club that manages to punch above their weight in relation to Europe's elite in recent seasons, and Unai Emery's side will have their work cut against Bayern Munich.

We take a look at both games using Opta facts, which suggest two enticing matchups as well as contrasts of style.

Chelsea v Real Madrid

As mentioned, this is the second consecutive season in which Chelsea and Madrid have met in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Blues could become the first English team to eliminate Los Blancos from the knockout stages of the competition on multiple occasions, having progressed 3-1 on aggregate in last season's semi-final.

That tie was notable for the first leg, in one of the few times former head coach Zinedine Zidane went away from his usual midfield of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric, and with a rare 3-4-3 formation. If not for Edouard Mendy's early heroics to deny Karim Benzema, the second leg at Stamford Bridge when Zidane reverted could have also panned out differently.

However, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight games against Spanish opposition, with their last defeat coming at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard as Valencia won 1-0.

Meanwhile, Madrid have lost only one of their last eight Champions League games when facing the holders, while they have won each of the last three without conceding a goal.

Benzema is coming into this tie in intimidatingly good form, and following his hat trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16, his season tally of eight Champions League goals is the highest of his career.

Since Thomas Tuchel has taken over at Chelsea, they have been close to impenetrable defensively. From his first Champions League game with them in February 2021, the Blues have kept a clean sheet in 10 out of 15 games.

 

Villarreal v Bayern Munich

This is only the second meeting between the two clubs after the 2011-12 season, when Bayern won 3-1 at home and 2-0 away before ultimately reaching and losing the final.

This will be Villarreal's first game in the Champions League quarter-finals since 2009, when they were eliminated by Arsenal. Overall, they have only won one of their six games at this stage of the competition or later, a 1-0 victory at home to Inter in 2006.

While the approach from Emery will be almost certain to try to contain, Bayern have scored an astonishing 101 goals in the Champions League since they were last held to a clean sheet, against Liverpool in 2019.

They have won 26 out of the previous 34 games since, averaging 3.4 goals a game over that span.

Robert Lewandowski has naturally been key to that, scoring 12 goals in eight Champions League appearances this term, and is one of three players to enter a quarter-final stage with that many goals – the other two being Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Much like against Juventus, the question will be how long will the periods of containment be for Villarreal, in order to make their forays in the opposite half truly count?

 

Alphonso Davies is poised for his first Bayern Munich appearance in almost four months after getting the all-clear from doctors monitoring his heart.

The attacking left-back has not featured for Bayern since December 17, after first testing positive for COVID-19 and then being sidelined when checks revealed a mild heart inflammation.

Davies, newly named as the CONCACAF men's player of the year, will be heading to the World Cup with Canada later this year after they qualified for the first time since the 1986 tournament.

On Wednesday, he should begin his comeback in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Spanish outfit Villarreal.

Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that 21-year-old Davies had been given the green light to play by the medics dealing with his myocarditis.

"Phonzie will be in the squad, and the results of his medical mean that he has been cleared to start," Nagelsmann told a news conference.

"We will make a decision over the course of the day. In general, I am leaning towards having him in the starting XI."

News of Davies' condition emerged in mid-January, by which stage the youngster had started 22 of Bayern's 27 matches this season – only Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski had started more regularly, which is a reflection of his importance to the team.

He had made 16 appearances in the Bundesliga and at the time he led the way in the division for dribbles attempted (97) and completed (61).

Nagelsmann said he had settled on seven or eight of the players who would start against Villarreal, with winger Serge Gnabry possibly set to get the nod ahead of Leroy Sane.

However, Sane has an outstanding record in the competition this season, which may influence Nagelsmann's choice. The former Manchester City man has been directly involved in 12 goals in eight games for Bayern in the Champions League this term (six goals, six assists).

Only Sane's team-mate Lewandowski (15) and Ajax's Sebastien Haller (13) have had more goal involvements in the current campaign.

"We'll rotate a bit, but not too much. We're used to this Saturday-Wednesday rhythm. We'll rotate a little more against Augsburg [in the Bundesliga on Saturday]," Nagelsmann said.

One player who will not be involved is Corentin Tolisso, who will be hoping he has not played his last game for Bayern after suffering a torn thigh muscle in the weekend Bundesliga win over Freiburg.

Tolisso is out of contract at the end of the season and Bayern reportedly decided earlier this season not to renew his deal.

"I actually thought that Coco had a stomach problem," Nagelsmann said. "I only found out after the game in Freiburg that he had a torn ligament. It's not an easy situation for him. He's in France now to get his mind off things a bit."

Nagelsmann believes Bayern have what it takes to get past Unai Emery's Villarreal, who stunned Juventus in the previous round.

Bayern are unbeaten in their last five games when playing away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie (W3 D2), although their last such defeat came in Spain in the 2015-16 semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Emery will be taking charge of his 50th game in the Champions League (W21 D10 L18), and it will be his first quarter-final tie.

The Bayern coach said of Villarreal: "It's a very experienced team. They have a coach who is especially experienced internationally [in club games].

"They play different formations, you have to adapt to different situations. It's a team that opens up with risk. It's an experienced team of players, who have already experienced something and which has to be cracked first. However, I am confident that we will prevail."

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