The immediate impact of Jupp Heynckes at the helm
There was palpable sense of excitement for Jupp Heynckes’ first match of his fourth — and final turn — in charge. Ultimately, Bayern put together a vibrant display of attacking football, buttressed by composed defending and end-to-end, decision-making prowess that had been inconsistent in application for some time.
There were no head-scratching selections for the starting XI. The 4-2-3-1 formation deployed Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez as the double-pivot tandem, with Kingsley Coman-Thomas Muller-Arjen Robben arrayed in front of them, looked equally confident and menacing in every facet. In defense, there were a couple of nervy moments, which drifted away under the high-performing partnership of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the center that ultimately allowed Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba plenty of room to roam forward and connect, respectively, with Robben and Coman in forward-moving possession. Kimmich and Coman did themselves combine for something special to finish off the match.
Robert Lewandowski, aside from the goal set up by a hard-working Muller moment, had some dangerous occasions of his own that he didn’t have to create, and looked to make the extra pass in moments that he probably should have taken a shot at goal.
Thiago was breathtaking
Heynckes talked this week about again using Martinez as a defensive midfielder, which proved to be a deft move to shore up the spine of the defense, but also unlocked of the best of Thiago. Working backward, Thiago scored a mouth-watering goal from distance, an inch-perfect curling strike.
Thaigo was also in complete control, whether it was zipping passes or a moment of in-game juggling that mesmerized everyone, especially the Freiburg midfielder who helpless watched Thiago control the ball with a series of touches to retain possession.
The Alaba-Coman connection
Alaba and Coman terrorized Freiburg down the left side. It was a complete domination and boost for two players who feed off confidence. Alaba looked like the player who thrived under Heynckes during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Coman, who scored a first-half goal on a brilliant diving header, is cementing his place in the starting XI with performances that become more dynamic because of his growing recognition that his blistering pace unlocks the space with and without the ball that opposition is often ill-equipped to effectively handle. Alaba and Coman combined for 193 touches swallowed up the left side of pitch from box to box.
Muller will find his best form in Jupp’s regime
If there is pressure on Muller to find his goal-scoring form, he did not have to show it against Freiburg. Muller, however, did embrace a more-industrious version of the raumdeuter role across his 78 minutes of play, which created the moment that led to the own-goal opener for Bayern and set up Lewandowski’s second-half goal.