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Three observations from Bayern’s 1-1 (5-4) win over RB Leipzig

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Bayern lucky to advance to the next round of the DFB-Pokal 

RB Leipzig v Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

There was plenty of hype coming into this match featuring two of the best teams in Germany. It didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t live up to the hype either. There were more fouls than actual football. RB Leipzig dominated most of the first half and if it wasn’t for a Naby Keïta’s red card in the 54th minute, this match could’ve ended very differently. RB Leipzig did valiantly to hold on and go to penalties, but that wasn’t enough to overtake the German champions in the end.

Bayern midfield vs RBL midfield

Coming into this match the midfield battle was going to be key to winning. Very early on RB Leipzig started to own the midfield going forward. Leipzig didn’t give the Bayern midfield any time or space in possession, and Bayern were having to rush their forward balls. Vidal was quite erratic and misplaced many of his passes. He looked tired and out of place in the defensive midfielder role. RB Leipzig’s direct and vertical style of play made our midfield uncomfortable and unable to create any real chances until the second half.

After the red card it was all Bayern, all attack but no substance. Bayern kept coming forward but still found it difficult against an extremely defensive and well organized Leipzig side. Bayern had multiple chances to grab the winning goal in extra time but were denied by a resilient 10-man Leipzig.

Sven Ulreich, the penalty shootout specialist

The Bayern goalkeeper had a very busy first half, RB Leipzig was all over the Bayern defense and was getting forward very easily thanks to their speed and Bayern sloppiness. RB Leipzig had five shots in the first half, four on target and Ulreich saved all four. The second half was a bit easier since Leipzig were force to park the bus until penalties. In penalties, once again Ulreich came big saving Timo Werner penalty and giving Bayern Munich the victory just like he did in the DFL-Supercup against Borussia Dortmund.

Special shout-out to Péter Gulácsi, the Hungarian goalkeeper was equally brilliant and kept his team in this match until the very end.

Everything Thiago touches is magic

After Thomas Müller suffered a muscle injury against Hamburg, his normal replacement would have been James Rodriguez, but the Colombian didn’t travel with the team because of back problems. Because of these injuries Jupp Heynckes decided to put Thiago in his place, behind Robert Lewandowski, and pair up Vidal and Tolisso together again. But the midfield didn’t work. Arturo Vidal and Corentin Tolisso looked lost and outmatched by Naby Keita and Kevin Kampl. In the first half, Thiago was caught playing back trying to clean up defensively and failed to use his creativity and technique to help in the attack. After the red card and the inclusion of Sebastian Rudy for Vidal, Bayern started looking more comfortable and dangerous. Eventually they broke the Leipzig defensive wall thanks to a pass from Jerome Boateng that Thiago headed in for the equalizer in the 72th.