Lyon 2-1 Bayern Munich, San Mames, Bilbao
(Parris 41′, Majri 59′ — Simon 64′)
Bayern captain Lina Magull said pre-match that Bayern would have to be brave if they were to have any chance of defeating Lyon. And the team certainly matched their rivals for passion, work rate, and skill across 90 minutes.
Yet defensive lapses each side of halftime ultimately sealed Bayern’s fate, as Lyon triumphed 2-1 to keep alive their chances of a fifth straight Champions League title.
It was a cruel outcome for such a valiant performance, with Bayern rarely giving Lyon a sniff at goal and growing into their own attacking game in the second half.
But for the crossbar in the 79th minute, the outstanding Sydney Lohmann would have equalized for the Bavarians and kept alive a deserved shot at an upset.
It wasn’t to be, however, with Bayern struggling to come back from a goalkeeping error in the first half.
Cruel hammer blow
Laura Benkarth was hesitant to react to Eugenie Le Sommer’s lob over the defense on 41 minutes and Nikita Parris bravely beat her to the punch. The England forward’s header trickled into the net as Benkarth clattered the goalscorer with a late challenge.
While Parris recovered, it was a crucial hammer blow for Bayern after they had frustrated Lyon in an industrious first half.
Bayern Munich’s Carolin Simon, left, celebrates halving Lyon’s advantage — but it proved not enough to stop Lyon.
Bayern took on a more attacking shape in the second half, but another blow arrived in the 59th minute. Amel Majri swung over a quality free-kick from the edge of the box with Benkrath’s parry lacking the power to keep out the shot.
Bayern continued to press and a Carolin Simon free-kick gave them hope on 64 minutes. A low, swinging cross-cum-shot from the right touchline swerved past the Lyon defense and straight into the net. But apart from the late effort from Lohmann, Bayern failed to create another clearcut chance.
Positive future ahead
While Lyon certainly showed why they’re favorites to win another Champions League title, Bayern can take a lot of positives from a match where they made a mockery of their underdog status.
A disrupted season meant they last played a competitive match in June (compared with August 8 for Lyon), while their squad also went through a massive overhaul.
Losing Kathrin Hendrich (Wolfsburg) and Melanie Leupolz (Chelsea) were hefty blows, and Lea Schüller, Hanna Glas, Marina Hegering (all starters), Sarah Zadrazil and Viviane Asseyi (off the bench) all made their debuts against Lyon.
Despite the new-look squad, Bayern more than held their own against the world’s best club team and looked well-drilled and cohesive considering the ins and outs.
“We had good chances, but we didn’t take them. We will work on that,” coach Jens Scheuer said post-match.
Under Scheuer, the future looks bright. Next season they’ll be determined to reclaim the Bundesliga title from Wolfsburg and continue to build their pedigree in the Champions League.