“Today, we deserved to lose. They could have scored more,” Julian Nagelsmann vented when mapping out his thoughts on the 90 minutes he had recently witnessed.
It was a take on a historic fixture that reared its head in the home dressing room, the concourses and the quaint abodes in Vila Real. In a small province of Castellón in Spain, the 51,367-strong population dared to dream of another European triumph.
No city with such few inhabitants had lifted silverware on such a footballing stage. Yet, now, Unai Emery and his plucky, well-drilled outfit seemingly had plans to double down with Champions League delights in the crosshairs.
Estadio de la Cerámica, formerly the El Madrigal, was buoyant. Delirious scenes draped in bright yellow covered the arena just five kilometres from the Mediterranian sea. And it was no wonder. Those of a Villarreal persuasion had just witnessed their club record one of its most significant victories. Bayern Munich. In their unassuming backyard.
Summed up by Dani Parejo, the heartbeat of El Submarino Amarillo's midfield; “We're happy with the game, but not so much the score; we feel a bit unsatisfied. We were very, very, very superior.” It was not only Nagelsmann's Bayern that knew the 1-0 scoreline had, perhaps, flattered the Bavarians.
Despite the first-leg heroics decided by Arnaut Danjuma's 14th strike of the season, no one is under any illusion in either camp. With the Allianz Arena as host, Villarreal needs to produce an otherworldly performance to progress.
Bayern's stadium will be packed to its 52,00-seated brim with sky-high expectations. Ironically, the Allianz will oversee more eyes focused on the pitch than the number of inhabitants of the aforementioned city in eastern Spain.
The visitors' 0-3 showing in Turin proves it can be done, but the know-how within this Bayern Munich side provides a different beast entirely. The Bavarian giants enter the tie as short as 1.22, with bookmakers anticipating a routine Bayern victory – something the Champions League has seen many times over.
The 1×2 markets are one to avoid if siding with the hosts. The short price offers no value whatsoever, especially after a spirited Villarreal performance in the first leg. Instead, a handy angle into the game may come in the goals markets. On William Hill's bet builder function, coupling Bayern to score in both halves and Bayern to score first supplies an odds-against wager worthy of consideration.
Nagelsmann's men have scored in both halves in 15 of 29 Bundesliga games, second to only Dortmund in Germany's top flight. Admittedly, it's not the most dominant of statistics, but on the back of a first-leg deficit with the game state how it is, one would imagine that Bayern begins the contest at 100mph.
The 22 shots at goal in Bayern colours in the first leg have swayed my thinking for the following selection. The Germans find themselves behind from minute one instead of minute eight, and I expect them to throw the kitchen sink at Villarreal until they're in a position to protect a lead.
The game-state should push Bayern's shot total into tall figures, potentially overshadowing the 22 in Spain. Unibet's offering of over 20.5 shots at even money is more than tempting. Included in this price by the bookmaker is any attempts at goal in extra time. It's an additional perk that has every chance of coming to fruition.
In the nine games played in the Champions League this term, Bayern averages 18.11 shots per90. In the Bundesliga, over a bigger sample size of 29 matches, the shot total increases to 20.14 per90. Add the need for Bayern to start in the ferocious manner they have in their arsenal, and the Unibet shot line should have legs.
After the Juventus victory in Turin, Villarreal president, Fernando Roig, spoke of it being the ‘finest game in the club's history.' If history is to repeat itself in Munich, rest assured Tuesday night will be etched into Vila Real folklore forevermore.
Either way, El Submarino Amarillo has one monumental task ahead, that's for sure. Nevertheless, as Parejo said after the first leg, “nothing in football is impossible.”