10 weeks after securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a nail-biting win over Napoli, Liverpool resume their quest for a sixth European Cup on Tuesday night when they welcome Bayern Munich to Anfield.
Both clubs have a glorious history. But in terms of recent success, their fortunes could hardly be more contrasting. Bayern are hunting a seventh successive Bundesliga title this season, although they will need a late surge to overhaul Borussia Dortmund at the summit. Liverpool’s last season with a trophy, the League Cup in 2011/12, is also the last in which Bayern were not league champions.
Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp’s side will need to do what nobody has managed since Inter Milan in 2011: deny Bayern a passage to the Champions League quarter-finals. In the seven subsequent seasons, the German giants have only once failed to reach the semi-finals (2017). Although Liverpool made it all the way to the final last year, it was their first time in the Champions League knockout stage in nine seasons, so recent history is very heavily weighted in Bayern’s favour. As our statistical analysis shows, however, the Merseysiders need not be daunted by the Bundesliga champions, given their record against German opposition in recent years.
Last six games in all competitions
Liverpool: W3, D2, L1, F11, A7
Bayern Munich: W5, D0, L1, F17, A10
Liverpool’s form in 2019 has been inconsistent, with the Reds losing their first Premier League match of the season and getting knocked out of the FA Cup in January, as well as dropping four points from winning positions in the last three weeks. Their only two wins last month were both by the odd goal, so it came as welcome relief when they thrashed Bournemouth 3-0 in their most recent outing the weekend before last. That was the Reds’ first clean sheet in four matches and only their second in the last eight games.
Bayern have played six matches since returning to action following the German mid-season break, winning four out of five in the Bundesliga and advancing to the fourth round of the DFB Cup. They’ve averaged just under three goals a game in 2019, the 3-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen the only game in which they didn’t score three or more, although they’ve conceded 1.66 per game since the New Year and haven’t recorded a clean sheet since before Christmas. Ominously for Liverpool, Niko Kovac’s side have not been kept scoreless since early October, a run stretching 21 matches in all competitions.
Liverpool v Bayern Munich in European competition
Two Liverpool wins, four draws, one Bayern Munich win
Despite both clubs featuring almost annually in European competition, they’ve only met seven times in continental action over the years and have generally been evenly matched. They faced off in consecutive seasons in the early 1970s, with Liverpool reaching the Fairs Cup semi-finals in 1971 thanks to a 3-0 home win over Bayern and a 1-1 draw in the return. The Bavarians would exact revenge a year later in the Cup-Winners’ Cup, though, drawing 0-0 at Anfield before winning 3-1 in Germany.
Their only previous European Cup clashes came in the 1981 semi-finals. After a goalless draw at Anfield, Bayern appeared narrow favourites to reach the final in Paris. The second leg appeared to be heading for extra time until, with just seven minutes remaining, Ray Kennedy struck to put Liverpool firmly in the driving seat. A quick response from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge prompted an exciting finish at the Olympiastadion, but the visitors held on to advance to the final on away goals and subsequently win a third European Cup in five years.
In 38 years since then, the clubs have only met once competitively, the 2001 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco. UEFA Cup holders Liverpool emerged victorious, defeating the European champions 3-2 at the Stade Louis II. Goals from John Arne Riise, Emile Heskey and Michael Owen gave Gerard Houllier’s side a commanding lead, although Hasan Salihamidzic and Carsten Jancker replied to set up a nervy final 10 minutes. It was the fifth trophy raised by Liverpool in six months, following on from three in the 2000/01 season and the Charity Shield two weeks previously.
Liverpool and Bayern Munich: The last 10 years in Europe
Very few clubs can match the consistency of Bayern Munich in the Champions League in the last decade. In that time, they have won the tournament once (2013), twice been beaten finalists (2010 and 2012) and reached four further semi-finals since the 2013/14 season, a total of seven semi-final appearances in the last 10 years. In the other three campaigns, they were twice quarter-finalists.
Their last five attempts to win the Champions League have all been thwarted by Spanish opposition, Real Madrid three times (including the last two years) and Barcelona and Atletico Madrid once each. They have won their last five two-legged knockout ties against English opposition, dating back to a quarter-final defeat to Chelsea in 2005, and are on a three-match winning streak against English teams since losing to Arsenal in the Champions League group stage in 2015/16.
Since 2009, Liverpool have only been in the knockout stages of this competition twice, reaching the quarter-finals 10 years ago and the final last season. Their other two Champions League appearances saw them eliminated in the group stage and drop into the Europa League, in which they reached the final in 2016 and the semi-finals six years previously. Their other three Europa League campaigns saw them knocked out in the last 16 (2011) and the last 32 (2013 and 2015), while there were three seasons when the Reds didn’t even qualify for Europe.
Since taking charge of Liverpool in 2015, this is the fourth time that Klopp has come up against a team from his native land. The Reds got past Augsburg (1-0) and Borussia Dortmund (5-4) on their run to the Europa League final three years ago and successfully negotiated a Champions League play-off (6-3) against Hoffenheim last season. Indeed, Liverpool have not been beaten by a German club in European competition since 2002, when Bayer Leverkusen knocked them out of the Champions League quarter-finals. Three years later, the Reds got their revenge on the men from the BayArena in the last 16 stage of their journey to glory in Istanbul.
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