Bayern Munich, those edgiest of all-conquering Euro-giants, may yet wilt again in the Champions League. But not just yet, it seems, after a dominant first-leg display from Jupp Heync-kes’s wonderfully mobile and muscular team brought a 2-0 defeat — as close to a 2-0 thrashing as one is likely to see at this stage — of a disappointing Juventus. This was a hotly anticipated meeting of the trophy clubs of Italy and Germany but by the end goals from David Alaba and Thomas Müller barely did justice to the host’s superiority.
Afterwards Antonio Conte was rather gloomily defiant, pointing to his team’s misfortune in going behind after 27 seconds to a deflected long-range strike and warning of greater efforts in the second leg. In truth it will take an improbably dramatic turnaround in the balance of this tie to prevent Bayern reaching the semis.
Bayern arrived here on the back of a 9-2 swatting aside of Hamburg and there was much talk in Munich of the need to avoid self-immolating complacency. Indeed, there is the sense in these parts that it is only really Bayern that ever beat Bayern, though there can be a brittleness to the Bavarian swagger at times, not least when facing Italian teams, known in these parts as Angstge-gner: a most feared opponent.
If there were nerves here they will have been banished by Bayern’s sensational, if slightly fortunate, start. Picking the ball up in a central area 35 yards from goal the Austrian left-back Alaba let fly with a hopeful drive that skimmed, bounced and ultimately dribbled inside Gianluigi Buffon’s left-hand post, sent there with the help of a cruel and decisive deflection off Arturo Vidal. Alaba celebrated like a lottery winner by the touchline as the Allianz Arena erupted with a sense of glorious disbelief.
“Juventus is a top team and they will play with great motivation at home,” Heynckes warned, but he will know that Bayern’s fate is once again in their own hands.