German press slam Neuer and 'second rate' Bayern Munich after Liverpool shock
The challenges facing German football were laid bare by Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk
Bayern Munich's followers were not happy with their limp Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool on Wednesday night and the German press joined in on slating the Bavarian giants.
Sadio Mane scored twice in a 3-1 win for the Reds at the Allianz Arena having gone into the last 16 second leg as underdogs, such was the impressive feat Bayern had originally achieved by keeping them out in the initial Anfield stalemate.
Sporting newspaper Bild went with the headline "Oh no, Neuer!" after the goalkeeper's shocker for Mane's opener, rushing out and becoming dumbfounded by the winger's audacity of turning towards goal and shooting.
They defined Bayern's performance as "without courage, without ideas and without pace" while an opinion piece by journalist Matthias Brügelmann accepted that the club "need a radical change".
Much of the coverage has focused on German football's problems as a whole, with none of their teams reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in 13 years. Brügelmann states: "The fact is: German football is second-rate internationally."
Over at Die Welt, the prognosis is similar, with their writer noting that: "The English clubs prove this season that they are far ahead." They acknowledge that Munich deserved to go out, putting them no longer among "the absolute elite of Europe", now requiring the "need to change fundamentally".
Bayern have dominated the Bundesliga over the years and once again top the table this season, albeit by goal difference after an average start, but their hopes of succeeding in Europe rely on a big refresh of the playing squad. Süddeutsche Zeitung note "the big cycle of Bayern is over" after they played "without conviction, without courage".
Perhaps most cuttingly of all, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called the club "just a mock giant". In defeat, "the big Bayern balloon burst, and there was only hot air". Ouch.
They summarise the game with an anecdote about Oliver Bierhoff, the legendary former striker who now serves as general manager of the German national team. At the start of the game he was pictured in the stands with a Bayern scarf wrapped around his neck. By the time Liverpool were 3-1 ahead, he had binned it off.