Thomas Mueller admits Bayern Munich’s treble dreams received a rough reality check at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Bayern left themselves with everything to do in the second-leg in Madrid on Tuesday after losing their home semi-final 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern have only rarely being tested by their domestic rivals this season.
“We were too naive, we had several very, very good chances and in the Bundesliga, we say ‘thank you’,” said Bayern’s captain, who squandered several opportunities himself on Wednesday.
“Perhaps the importance of the game played a role.”
Bayern wrapped up a sixth straight Bundesliga title three weeks ago and reached the German Cup final on May 19.
Yet an off-key Real managed to all-but burst Bayern’s treble dreams.
“I have rarely seen a Madrid team who allowed so many chances, that’s why we won’t give up,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
Real inched closer to a third straight Champions League final after Marco Asensio’s winner capped their comeback win, yet Madrid were below-par by their own admission.
“Bayern were perhaps the better team, that was an average performance from us, it must be said,” conceded Real’s ex-Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos.
Nevertheless, Mueller is optimistic for the return leg.
“We won there last season,” said the Germany forward of the quarterfinal away leg last year when Bayern led 2-1 after 90 minutes to force extra time, but then conceded three goals to Ronaldo to lose 4-2 to bow out.
“Real are definitely vulnerable. We need a different killer’s mentality.”
– Injury worries –
To compound Bayern’s problems, Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng are doubtful for the return leg after coming off injured in a frantic opening 30 minutes.
While Mueller, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski failed to convert clear chances, Real snatched their opportunities with ice-cold finishing.
After Joshua Kimmich’s stunning strike for the hosts, Real drew level on 44 minutes when Marcelo conjured a goal from nothing.
Daniel Carvajal whipped in a cross and all eyes in the Bayern defence were on Real’s goal-machine Cristiano Ronaldo.
Instead, Marcelo smashed the ball into Bayern’s net with a wicked left-footed shot.
Then Rafinha, in at left-back for Bayern’s injured David Alaba, lost possession and Asensio finished the counter-attack on 57 minutes.
Real claimed their sixth win in a row against Bayern in the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
Ronaldo, who has hit 15 Champions League goals in 2017/18, failed to score for the first time in a European match this season.
A disallowed off-side effort in the second-half was all the superstar had to show. He hit five goals over two legs against Bayern in last season’s 6-3 win.
Niklas Suele, who came on for the Boateng in the first-half, said Bayern let Real off the hook.
“If we had won 5-2, Real couldn’t have complained,” said the burly centre-back.
“We didn’t take our chances up front and conceded two weak goals at the back.
“We sat in the dressing room and were down, because we were the better team.”
Real coach Zinedine Zidane says his team must heed the lessons from their Juventus scare – losing 3-1 in Madrid after routing the hosts 3-0 in Turin in the last round.
“We will have to fight in the second leg, nothing is decided, that showed in the second leg against Juventus,” said Zidane.