Bayern’s defeat to Liverpool has sent shockwaves across München and Germany. Now, the aftermath has reached UEFA themselves, who are taking drastic measures to stop the bleeding.
We all knew that Bayern’s 2018-19 season would be one of transition. The question was how traumatic the transition would be. Indeed, and despite a nearly heroic catch-up of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Bayern’s phase-out reached its zenith with a borderline humiliating Round of 16 elimination against Liverpool in the Champions League.
The shadow of doubt looms over Niko Kovač, the squad and the suits in this time of reckoning. Important figureheads held meetings at all levels to discuss the way forward. Who should leave? Who should arrive?
Today, Straight Red can reveal UEFA’s secret play to put Bayern out of their misery, at least for the time being.
A merciless virus
Bayern’s elimination hardly came as an accident. Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain opened the floodgates of big-name (or big wallet) European teams put to the sword by lesser squads. And yes, Manchester United stopped being a European great ever since Alex Ferguson decided to leave.
The Ajax Daycare, captained by Matthijs De Ligt, who presumably skipped class the next day to play at the Bernabéu, annihilated holders Real Madrid with something close to pure nirvana.
Likewise, Manchester United’s refusal to get involved with shady sponsorship, and indeed their utmost respect for Financial Fair Play rules almost guaranteed them elimination. PSG were always meant to go through, but Ole-Gunnar Solksjær’s nursery pulled through much to Neymar’s dumbfoundedness.
What began as a couple of isolated incidents soon proved to be a coordinated turn of events. See, Liverpool were last year’s romantic, epic tale of underdoggery. They weren’t supposed to ride the wave of their defeat in Kiev to further dominance in Europe. And when Sadio Mané decided to dance around an inexplicably incoming Manuel Neuer, Alexander Ceferin knew he would end the night in his situation room.
Ceferin gathered with the closest members of his entourage to discuss what to do with the fallen giants. Each case bears its own specificities. Real Madrid crash out of the competition they stubbornly hogged for the fourth time in five years. Bayern hold on to the ghost of seasons past and all but ignore the necessary transition until it knocks the door down. And PSG, well, made rubbish use of €400m to sign two players.
The precedent set by the likes of AC Milan and Manchester United themselves is a massive cautionary tale. Ceferin wants to avoid a drawn out and painful descent into the catacombs of Europe’s second-tier competition. And so, the decision has been made to demote these three clubs to the Europa League by decree.
The following is a transcript of the official document, whose release is imminent, in which UEFA explains this decision.
UEFA Press Statement
FOR RELEASE PENDING FLORENTINO PÉREZ APPROVAL.
Following the worrisome events of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League Round of 16, UEFA held emergency meetings at its headquarters in Switzerland. Indeed, attendees expressed serious concern that two of Europe’s most successful and emblematic clubs, and another one with a sh*t ton of money, are entering a downward spiral. With their own fans as primary witnesses of their mediocrity, Real Madrid, Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain capitulated to teams with greater quality, stronger will and superior physicality.
Their rivals’ superiority notwithstanding, teams with strong European pedigree and heritage should embody excellence and power through to Champions League quarterfinals. Oh, and PSG should really do better with all the cash they splashed on Neymar and Mbappé.
To prevent their crises to play out longer, and spare fans of the unnecessary process that will yield one certain result, UEFA has decided to demote these teams to the Europa League for the 2019-20 season, regardless of their domestic performance in the current campaign and for their own good.
The Europa League will prove to be an exciting place for these clubs to recover their power for the long term. With fearsome opposition like Aberdeen or Ludogorets, we are confident that these teams will fine tune their squads and tactics to the level required for football that isn’t on Thursdays.
President Ceferin informed all stakeholders via private communication. UEFA remains in contact with each club’s directors to ensure a seamless transition to Thursday action.
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