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Match awards from Bayern Munich’s narrow 2-1 win over RSC Anderlecht

Well that wasn’t too convincing at all and we picked up a few injuries in the process.

RSC Anderlecht v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Jersey Swap: Sofiane Hanni. It was real captain’s performance from the Algerian international, whose goal in the 63rd minute leveled things at 1-1. His performance complimented Anderlecht’s overall game plan, which looked to be to put pressure on Bayern’s back line when they were in possession, and otherwise sit deep and wait to launch counterattacks. Tenacious pressing from both he and Lukasz Teodorczyk did cause a handful of nervy moments for Bayern at the back, which really did it’s job to keep the home crowd in raucous voice to try and unsettle the German champions. He was menacing in the spaces in between Bayern’s midfield and back line and his tenaciousness rubbed off onto the rest of his teammates.

Tip of the Cap: Corentin Tolisso. On the whole, Tolisso’s performance was kind of all over the place, but he made contributions where they mattered, scoring and assisting either of Bayern’s 2 goals. He showed great vision to pick out the run of Robert Lewandowski in the 51st minute after he’d done well in the air to flick on to James Rodriguez and subsequently make an overlapping run into space before pulling it back to an open Lewandowski on the opposite side of the box. Tolisso could’ve been selfish and gone for goal himself, but he made the wiser option in picking out Lewandowski, who finished calmly. In the 77th minute, Tolisso provided the all important match winner with his header off a finely weighted cross from Joshua Kimmich. For the handful of questionable errors Tolisso made (some sloppy back passes and needless giveaways), his goal and assist arguably rectified his overall performance.

Golf Clap: Javi Martinez. Coming on for the injured Arjen Robben in the 48th, Martinez provided some necessary stability in Bayern;s midfield that was definitely lacking in the first half - Anderlecht were bypassing Bayern’s midfield when they would spring their counter attacks. In routine Martinez fashion, he was 100% in his aerial duels, made a total of 30 accurate passes, and looked threatening in the air off set pieces, which Bayern won quite a few of in the second half near Anderlecht’s penalty area. With the stability he provided, Sebastian Rudy, Arturo Vidal, and Tolisso were given more license to roam a bit more freely and get involved in Bayern’s attack to provide support.

Standing Ovation: James Rodriguez. Once James was brought on for the injured Thiago Alcantara, Bayern’s attack looked to have a bit more creativity. Often times getting isolated on either flank, Thiago looked relatively uncomfortable out wide, and James looked much more effective when he was out there. Lewandowski also looked less isolated when James came on, as the Colombian was always looking to pick him out and create passing exchanges to open up some spaces to run in to. Wasted opportunities from set pieces are incredibly frustrating, too, and I think I speak for a good number of Bayern fans when I say that I think he should take more free kicks and corner kicks as his delivery was solid from dead balls in the second half.

Meister of the Match: Sven Ulreich. Ulreich gets the nod for the Meister simply because he was the sole reason Bayern didn’t go down by two or three goals in the first half. On at least three occasions in the opening half hour, Ulreich was forced to make exceptional saves to deny Anderlecht. He made himself large to deny Lukasz Teodorczyk from close range and stuck to his task to save Sofiane Hanni’s subsequent volley in what was one of the most nervy sequences of play from Bayern’s perspective in the 8th minute, other than Hanni’s goal, of course. Less than 10 minutes later, Ulreich did incredibly well at his near post to get down and keep out Dennis Appiah’s venomous volley that was certainly on it’s way in. Six minutes before halftime, Ulreich bailed out Tolisso for the calamitous back pass he played right into the path of Teodorczyk, who saw his low shot saved once again by an outstretched Ulrecih. Quite frankly, had it not been for Ulreich, Bayern could’ve found themselves with a mountain to climb in the second half.

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