BERLIN (Reuters) – Bayern Munich have earned a slight advantage after their goalless draw at Liverpool in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday but past experience against the Reds should act as a warning, said club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
The Bavarians were never a big threat at Anfield on Tuesday but were very disciplined at the back despite a string of absences, and the result left the teams with all to play for when they meet again in Munich on March 13.
“We cracked open the door for the return leg,” said Rummenigge, himself a top Bayern and Germany striker in the 1970s and 80s. “It was an outstanding game. (Former Germany coach) Sepp Herberger would have been proud: one for all and all for one.”
“The team did it really well. The coach set up the team perfectly and they were rewarded with this result. But I want to warn against going into the return leg with too much euphoria,” he said. “It is still a dangerous result.”
Together with current club president Uli Hoeness, Rummenigge played in another goalless draw in Liverpool in 1981 only to exit the competition with a 1-1 in Munich.
The Reds scored late in that game to advance on the away goal rule.
“We were out with a 1-1. We should not make the mistakes that my team made. We have to deliver a great second game,” Rummenigge said.
Bayern are on the rise after a less than perfect first half of the season and have closed in on Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to within three points having won nine of their last 10 league games. They are also still unbeaten in the Champions League.
There was also no sign in Liverpool of their vulnerable backline or individual mistakes that have peppered their season so far.
The German champions will be without suspended top provider Joshua Kimmich as well as Thomas Mueller for the return leg but Bayern coach Niko Kovac should have some of his injured players back, including Leon Goretzka and Arjen Robben.
Kovac also knows that with their confidence brimming Bayern have every right to hope for a spot in the last eight.
“When we have a good structure then it is really difficult to play against us and score. We have reached our goal and now we have to make sure we seal the deal at home,” Kovac said.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)