Full time — The team and head coach Niko Kovac clearly have a bigger problem on their hands than poor finishing. Bayern may have managed a mere 4 shots on target, but they were thoroughly outplayed by Ajax’s dynamic youngsters in the midfield and in the final third. If the greatest goalkeeper in the world did not call Munich his home, this game would have been a loss.
93’ — Neuer saves: Ajax’s Lasse Schöne fires a brilliant free kick at the top left corner of Bayern’s goal from well beyond the penalty arc. Neuer leaps to his left and deflects the ball onto the post with his fingertips. He collects himself in time to stop a follow-up shot as well, saving the game for Bayern.
But Mats Hummels has gone down in pain, ostensibly with a head injury from an aerial challenge. He is clearly groggy.
Niklas Süle replaces Hummels for the final two minutes.
90’ — Four minutes of stoppage time have been added.
88’ — Serge Gnabry is booked for a dubious foul on De Ligt.
87’ — Kimmich delivers a cross into the box for Thomas Müller, but Müller heads it away out of bounds.
85’ — Kaspar Dolberg replaces Neres for Ajax.
82’ — Mazraoui brings Javi Martinez down as he makes an implausible run deep up the left flank. James Rodriguez takes the free kick from the left corner of the penalty area, but Ajax clear it.
78’ — James receives a yellow card for punting the soccer ball in protest at a foul call.
77’ — James and Gnabry combine in a beautiful one-two, blowing past Ajax’s defense to create what should be a fine opportunity for James to beat Onana. But James connects with the ball rather feebly and Onana manages to get his fingertips on it, diverting it off target.
74’ — Serge Gnabry replaces Franck Ribery on Bayern’s left flank. For Ajax, Dani de Wit replaces Van de Beek.
72’ — Ajax again flirt twice with a chance to score. First Ziyech dazzles with determined dribbling in the penalty area, only to have his shot volleyed away by Neuer. Then Tadic makes a fantastic pass to Van De Beek who is unmarked, but he cannot shoot the ball on target and wastes what might have been an easy goal.
67’ — A rare sight this game: Kimmich manages to make an inside run into the box. He’s unable to shoot, but Thiago takes a strong shot from distance that flies just outside the right post.
62’ — Arjen Robben’s night is over. James Rodriguez has replaced him for Bayern’s first substitution.
59’ — A good thing that Hummels was back: no sooner does he step back on the pitch but he makes a last-man tackle on Tadic, who would have had a clean shot on goal otherwise.
58’ — Hummels goes down in Ajax’s penalty area while B/R are showing a replay. Once they reveal the scene, it’s clear that Onana strikes Hummels in the head, missing the ball completely. Since Hummels was offside, no penalty was given.
55’ — Bayern win a free kick just outside Ajax’s penalty area on a handball by Blind. Alaba and Lewandowski step up. Lewandowski shoots the ball straight into the wall.
Ajax give Bayern another scare in the follow-up, firing a Hail Mary of a shot at Bayern’s goal while Neuer is far off his line. Neuer dashes back to retrieve it from going out of bounds, but it could easily have been a different story if it had been on target.
52’ — Bayern’s defense is a shambles — not a single player is in position as Ajax win the ball and shoot at will.
51’ — Daley Blind sees the yellow card.
49’ — Another massive scare for Bayern! Tadic draws Boateng one on one and beats him, cutting inside to the right. He lays the ball in for Tagliafico, but Neuer blocks the shot and subsequently claims it.
47’ — Bayern are nearly burned on the counter. Ajax launch a fast break with a long ball to Neres. He passes inside to Tadic, who is open with only Neuer in front of him. Fortunately for Bayern, though, he cannot connect cleanly with the ball and it’s an easy save.
halftime — Despite an ideal start and an early lead, the match has not gone the way the Bavarians undoubtedly planned. Ajax have been running riot through Bayern’s midfield, repeatedly combining to bring attacks deep into the penalty area. Bayern’s offense has run primarily up the flanks, especially through Franck Ribery, but Ajax has largely prevented any promising passes from reaching Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller inside the box.
44’ — Ziyech takes a stab a 2-1, firing a shot on target to Neuer’s right. Neuer leaps and deflects the ball out of bounds.
42’ — Bayern receive yet another open header on a corner, but Javi cannot put it on target.
40’ — Javi Martinez receives the yellow card for a foul on Ziyech.
36’ — Ribery and Lewandowski combine on a pretty play — Lewandowski sending a backheel pass on for Ribery. Unfortunately, Ajax’s defense stayed between Ribery and the ball, preventing a shot.
33’ — Alaba is called for pulling down Ziyech. Bayern is struggling to control the midfield, and Ajax is also pressing hard on the flanks.
29’ — Ribery battles for the ball and delivers a cross in to Lewandowski at the goal line, but Onana manages to tap the ball away before the striker can shoot.
22’ — GOAL AJAX! The Dutch equalize on a fantastic one-two play by right-back Noussair Mazraoui: driving high up the right flank, Mazraoui plays the ball inside to Tadic above the penalty arc and makes a run into the box splitting David Alaba and Mats Hummels. Boateng challenges Tadic but cannot prevent him from lobbing the ball forward into Mazraoui’s path. Mazraoui finished with his left foot, beating Neuer.
21’ — Donny Van de Beek receives a yellow card.
20’ — Ziyech tests Manuel Neuer: making a solo run up the right, Ziyech cuts left past David Alaba and shoots past Hummels at the near post, provoking a diving save from Neuer and winning Ajax’s first corner.
19’ — Müller receives the ball forward, but neither close enough nor with enough time to do more than hit it weakly straight to Onana.
17’ — Ajax are focusing their buildup efforts on the left flank, trying to move the ball between Joshua Kimmich and Javi Martinez and on past Boateng. Tagliafico finally finds a crack and serves the ball to Tadic, but the forward skies the ball over the goal.
10’ — Robert Lewandowski shows off his skill in controlling a high pass into the box from Thomas Müller. He brings the ball down, but De Ligt wrestles him out of bounds before he can turn on it and serve a cross or shoot.
4’ — GOAL BAYERN! Mats Hummels opens the scoring for Bayern on a textbook header off a fine assist from Arjen Robben. Hummels had stayed up the pitch after the preceding corner kick and the gambit paid off.
Matthijs De Ligt is no doubt kicking himself for giving Hummels so much space to work with.
3’ — Robben announces his presence with a shot on target from range, prompting a diving save from Onana, who concedes the first corner kick for Bayern.
kickoff! And we’re underway. Ajax looks like they’re playing in a 4-4-2 fronted by Tadic and Ziyech.
One hour to kickoff: LINEUPS! Bayern Munich’s starting lineup is out, and Kovac has surprised us yet again.
Javi Martinez will play in the defensive midfield role he held under Jupp Heynckes, shielding Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels at center-back. Ahead of Javi, Thiago Alcantara will play as the 8 and Thomas Müller will do his thing behind Robert Lewandowski. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben start on the wings.
And for Ajax:
Rising star Frenkie De Jong will miss the match on account of injury, but we’ll enjoy a firsthand look at Matthijs De Ligt.
Hey guys, remember those glorious days when Bayern Munich used to win games? I do. Ah yes, mid-September, 2018. Things were so much simpler back then. We were so much younger, so much more carefree. If Ajax had visited us for a Champions League game back then, they would have been played off the park, as Benfica had the displeasure of finding out.
Sadly, the past is the past and according to the media, Bayern Munich are in a crisis and there’s no end in sight. Obviously, since the media reports it, it must be true. Therefore, what can Niko Kovac do to dispel this terrible voodoo that has been cast over the club over the past ... 6 and a half days?
Well, he has all his players at his disposal, excluding the trio of Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, and Rafinha. With the likes of James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, and Thiago Alcantara all fit and ready to start, one might say that Bayern are well equipped to deal with this Dutch menace at our doorstep.
However, that is not to say that Ajax can put up a fight. It’s undoubtedly true that the Bavarians haven’t been on their A-game recently, and the Amsterdam-based team have all the tools to dismantle a sloppy performance. With the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, David Neres, and more, defeating Ajax will be no small task.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 9 pm local time, 3 pm EST
TV/streaming: Find Your Country
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