Jersey Swap: Callum McGregor. Although McGregor was slightly fortunate to see his goal in the 74th minute go between the legs of Sven Ulreich, he was quite arguably Celtic’s most influential player on the pitch. He did so well to recognize the momentary lapse in concentration from Rafinha that left plenty of space on the right side on Bayern’s penalty box and make a darting run into it. There were few Celtic players that went forward in the attack with as much confidence as McGregor, and he was the man that got Celtic back into it. He covered more distance than any other player in the match and was always looking to get himself into dangerous areas between Bayern’s midfield and back line when Celtic would look to launch counter attacks. He made 2 key passes that lead to threatening opportunites for Celtic, and James Forrest was the only player to have completed more (4).
Tip of the Cap: James Rodriguez. Coming off of a strong performance at the weekend over Leipzig, James was sound once again. Without Robert Lewandowski out of the firing line, the starting lineup that Jupp Heynckes fielded didn’t necessarily compliment James, but the Colombian, for the most part, did what was asked of him. He did slightly fade towards the beginning of the second half, but he was positive in the first half as well as the later stages of the second half. No Bayern player covered more distance on the pitch than James (11.74 kilometers), and Celtic’s McGregor was the only player to have covered more ground than James. His confidence in possession is growing, and it was noticeable through periods of the match where he would carry out lovely sequences of one-touch passing with his teammates in the attacking third. He was constantly looking to receive the ball back after getting rid of it. While it wasn’t the most glowing, it was certainly another [small] step in the right direction for James.
Golf Clap: Kingsley Coman. To be fair, Coman did start to fade in the second half a bit, perhaps just a bit of fatigue, but for the opening 50-60 minutes, he was one of Bayern’s most consistent attacking threats. His blistering run off Sven Ulreich’s long clearance in the 22nd minute provided Bayern’s opening goal after he’d done well to beat Celtic’s defenders to the ball and create a yard of space for himself to finish with his left foot, as he ran right through the gap between Celtic’s two center backs. There were a handful of instances where he tried to do a bit too much on his own, but his intent was always to create chances for either himself, or his teammates. Arjen Robben was the only Bayern player to have more successful dribbling sequences than Coman, too (Robben had 4, while Coman had 3), and neither shied away from the opportunity to take someone on.
Standing Ovation: David Alaba. Alaba was constantly up and down the left flank throughout the 90 minutes and was Bayern’s savior in the 30th minute when his stretching challenge denied Moussa Dembele an easy tap-in from Stuart Armstrong’s cross. The complexion of the match could’ve completely changed had Alaba not got in his last stitch challenge and it was certainly one of Bayern’s most significant defensive interventions in the match. Alaba also got forward quite often and was always providing an option for either Robben, Coman, or James to look for when he’d make his trademark overlapping runs. He provided the all important assist for Javi Martinez’s match winner in the 77th minute with a perfectly weighted cross that hung up just enough for Martinez to make something out of it.
Meister of the Match: Javi Martinez. Martinez was initially going to be be given the “tip of the cap“ or the “golf clap“ award, but his match-winning header in the 77th minute that left him bloodied and battered was the ultimate difference maker. Even before his goal, he’d done an exceptional job acting as the holding midfield anchor in front of Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng. He was positive on both sides of the ball for the majority of the match and Rafinha was the only Bayern player to have completed more passes then him. It should also come as no surpirse that Martinez won 100 percent of the aerial duels he engaged in (total of 4), including his goal.