Tip Of The Cap: Juan Bernat. The young 22-year-old is often overlooked when it comes to handing out praise, but Bernat has a knack for putting in quality performances that fly under the radar. This game was no different. He didn't have any moments that made your draw drop or that directly influenced the game's eventual outcome, but he played the full 120' and never seemed to tire. He was great from box to box, leading his team in dribbles AND in interceptions. He had a great look late in the match when he was one on one with Bayer keeper Bernd Leno, and if he hadn't been stonewalled, he would be a LOT higher on this list. That still doesn't detract from what was otherwise a very solid game for him.
Golf Clap: Xabi Alonso. Much of the Bayern attack, such as it was, went through Xabi. Filling in for Bastian Schweinsteiger, he once again proved just how deep this roster is, and why he was brought in this last summer from Real Madrid. Everything flowed through him. He had a game high 154 touches, and a game high 124 passes. Several of those passes were more than just the tiki taka short game that most people expect. He had several high quality crosses. Outside of his midfield production, he also chipped in on the defensive end as well, intercepting four passes and clearing out five Leverkusen attacks. Oh and he also led the team in tackles. Not bad for the 33 year old Spaniard
Standing Ovation: Roberto Hilbert. Defensively, Hilbert was everywhere for Leverkusen and was instrumental in keeping Bayern off the scoresheet. He had a game high nine tackles, a game high seven interceptions and cleared seven more Bayern attacks out of the box. Outside of his own end, he was also one of Leverkusen's best attacking threats. His dribbling skills and accurate passing touch was on display, and while none of the attacks he generated came to fruition, it certainly wasn't for lack of effort or skill.
Meister Of The Match: Manuel Neuer. Leverkusen outshot Bayern 19-9, testing Neuer throughout this match. He stood tall, and outside of making some very strong saves to keep his team in the match, he was in full sweeper keeper mode. He completed 11 accurate long balls, which tied for the team lead and broke up a few Leverkusen attacks before they got too dangerous. But the crown jewell in his performance today happened when this game went to penalties. Neuer made a save on the very first PK that Leverkusen attempted. He read where Josep Drmic was going and easily swatted his shot away. That gave the rest of the Bayern shooters all the confidence they needed to bring this win home. In a game that went to penalties and was decided by one measly kick, Neuer was the difference.
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