#1: The new boys hold the midfield
Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso are off to a splendid start to their Bayern Munich careers. After strong performances in preseason and in the German Supercup against Dortmund, the duo played their first competitive game for the record champions - this time without the raw power and aggression of Arturo Vidal to aide them.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti will have been pleased by the excellent performances from his two new midfielders, who were placed in a dual pivot together for the first time. Sebastian Rudy, who arrived on a free transfer from Hoffenheim in the summer, pulled the strings in the midfield. His playing style was most reminiscent of the recently retired Xabi Alonso. The German international orchestrated the team’s play from a deep-lying position, with pinpoint accurate passes to unleash attacks and graceful long balls to spread the team’s play.
Tolisso meanwhile added aggression in the midfield, a role which would normally be associated with Arturo Vidal. He ran all over the pitch - making tackles and interceptions and driving the ball up the pitch. He tenacious play paid off when he provided an assist to Robert Lewandowski for the latter’s second goal - a play which rounded out a strong outing for the Bundesliga record signing.
#2: Joshua Kimmich and Kinglsey Coman struggle on the right
Now this is a bit of a relative term, but Bayern’s right flank - manned by up-and-coming youngsters Josh Kimmich and Kingsley Coman - struggled to make an impact on the game. With the pace and trickery they possess, the duo would’ve been expected to terrorize Chemnitz. Yet, for large parts of the game, Bayern’s right flank remained subdued.
Kingsley Coman was double-teamed almost the entire game by the opposition, and he received very little support from his fullback. Kimmich meanwhile didn’t have many chances to overlap with his attacking partner, as the young Frenchman was continually forced into midfield by Chemnitz’s defense. Although Kimmich created the chance that led to Tolisso’s assist, the Bayern fullback found himself isolated and frustrated for long periods against a third division side. Coman, meanwhile managed to notch up a goal with a sublime finish, so it was not all bad for him.
#3: Carlo Ancelotti still makes baffling substitutions
Another game, another set of questionable subs. One could forgive Carlo Ancelotti for his decision to sub Lewandowski as early as possible - the Polish striker had sustained a cut on his knee in a clash during the first half. Yet, the Italian’s risk-averse nature was once again on display as he brought on David Alaba (for Rafinha) and Arturo Vidal (for Sebastian Rudy) to see out the game. This was despite the Bavarians having a comfortable 3-0 lead and talented youngsters like Marco Friedl and Renato Sanches on the bench. The case of Friedl is especially perplexing, as Alaba had only returned to individual training a few days ago and was a doubt to make the bench in the first place.
Moving forward, Ancelotti will need to demonstrate that he is able to take an occasional risk and play the youngsters. Bayern Munich have a long season ahead of them, and a repeat of April 2017 could be the end of the Italian.