Jersey Swap: Admir Mehmedi.
The Swiss international was one of the few attacking players that was able to positively impact the game for Bayer Leverkusen. His 65th-minute goal was truly spectacular, as he hit a stinging shot from a tricky angle that Sven Ulreich had no chance at saving. Mehmedi also provided potent service on free kicks tonight, as his dead ball expertise nearly cut the lead to one in the 72nd minute. His well-hit cross found the head of Dominik Kohr in a threatening position, but Kohr headed the ball wide.
Tip of the Cap: Arturo Vidal.
While perhaps not at the top of his game today, Vidal was still able to make a significant impact on the game with his vision and passing. His assist on Corentin Tolisso’s goal was enough for him to warrant inclusion in these awards. After a scramble in the box, the Chilean hit a clever, perfectly-timed lobbed ball to the back post that caught Bernd Leno out of position for an easy header. Vidal also, incidentally, logged a game-high nine tackles.
Golf Clap: Corentin Tolisso.
Tolliso's €41.5 million transfer fee seems like money well spent at this point, as he put in yet another solid shift—this time in his Bundesliga debut. The 23-year-old constantly found himself in the right place at the right time and opened his scoring account with a resourceful header after a corner kick in the 18th minute. He nearly provided another goal after a great sequence of passing, but his tough-angle shot glanced off the post.
Perhaps more impressive than his debut goal was his play after Bayern conceded. The former Lyon midfielder was ever-present in the last half-hour of the game, stifling Leverkusen’s attack and taking pressure off Bayern’s defense. It’s still early in his career but he’s shown the ability to act as a much-needed fulcrum between the defense and the attacking corps. Bravo.
Standing Ovation: Sven Ulreich.
With first-choice keeper Manuel Neuer still sidelined after suffering a broken metatarsal against Real Madrid last season, Bayern was relying on Sven Ulreich to elevate his play and he showed that he was up to the task today. The 29-year-old was thrust into action on multiple occasions in the first half and did a fantastic job with his positioning, denying two threatening Leverkusen shots with quick-reaction kick-saves. He eventually conceded a goal midway through the second half, but it was hardly his fault, as Admir Mehmedi uncorked a perfectly-hit shot from a tough angle. Given the fact that he stopped three well-taken shots tonight, he gets our standing ovation.
Meister of the Match: Niklas Süle.
After being spotlighted in our last match awards, Niklas Süle has once again found his way onto our radar as the Meister of the Match with his performance today. The former Hoffenheim man set the tone physically early and did an admirable job keeping out Leverkusen’s attackers on a number of occasions. The tall center-back provided the team an early offensive spark as well, as he scored on a fantastic header from a free kick. Despite his momentum taking him in the opposite direction, Süle was able to show great body control and head the ball across the goalmouth and in.
Given Jerome Boateng’s recent struggles with injury, Süle’s performance is particularly encouraging as the 21-year-old should continue to hold down the fort until Boateng is fully fit once again - and potentially longer, if Mats Hummels is injured.