Villarreal shocked Bayern Munich to win 1-0 at Estadio de la Cerámica, heading to Germany for the second leg of their tie primed to reach their first UEFA Champions League (UCL) semi-final in over 15 years.
The Yellow Submarine made the perfect start to their third-ever quarter-final tie in this competition, taking the lead with just eight minutes played. A flowing move down the right saw Giovani Lo Celso combine with Gerard Moreno, before the loanee found Dani Parejo unmarked inside the area. The finish was less pleasing on the eye, but just as effective. Parejo’s miscued shot found Arnaut Danjuma, who side-footed the ball home emphatically from close range.
Despite not losing away from home in the UCL since September 2017, a subdued Bayern offered little in return, as only a last-ditch challenge from Lucas Hernandez stopped Moreno from doubling his side’s lead on the half-hour mark. In his 50th UCL match, Unai Emery watched his side limit the visitors to half-chances, with Joshua Kimmich’s blocked shot the closest Bayern came to an equaliser in a surprisingly tame first-half showing. The night almost got even better for the hosts shortly before the break, as Francis Coquelin saw his cross-come-shot deceive Manuel Neuer, but Villarreal’s second goal of the night was ruled out for offside by VAR.
They then saw Moreno hit the post in the second half, after striking a fierce dipping effort from the edge of the area, as Bayern’s defence, who have two clean sheets in their last 12 games in all competitions, saw Moreno’s audacious lob of Neuer from the halfway line drift wide. In response, Thomas Müller came inches away from an equaliser, unable to divert Serge Gnabry’s flashed shot into the net, with strikes from Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman also thwarted as the Yellow Submarine put the anchor down late on.
Villarreal then broke and should have doubled their lead, Lo Celso teeing up substitute Alfonso Pedraza, who somehow struck wide. Despite the miss, Julian Nagelsmann’s side now need to come from behind at the Allianz Arena if they are to add to their six UCL titles. Meanwhile, Villarreal gave themselves a real chance of progressing to the last four, also extending their unbeaten home run to ten matches.