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Four observations from Bayern Munich’s dominant 5:1 win against SL Benfica

Finally a convincing win at the Allianz Arena as Bayern pass through the group stage of Champions League.

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 27: Franck Ribery of Bayern Muenchen gestures during the Group E match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Bayern Muenchen and SL Benfica at Allianz Arena on November 27, 2018 in Munich, Germany. Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Robbery still have magic in their feet

Veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both showed a jaw-dropping performance, although Robben had a far better night with two classic Robben-like goals. Ribery had a few chances and in the end managed to score a goal past Vlachodimos. But generally, Ribery was more involved in the defence than in the attack. Robben, in contrast, was constantly a threat, at least in the first half. Although both of them have proven to be inconsistent throughout the season, tonight they showed that Niko Kovač can still count on them, at least as solid subs.

Bayern still lack stability and confidence

Don’t get me wrong: tonight Bayern showed the best performance in weeks, but... Still the problem remains when the opposing team is on the attack, Bayern’s defence looks a bit shaky and unorganized. We can see that in the goal that Bayern conceded. Goretzka failed to follow the player he was supposed to mark. Boateng moved forward but couldn’t block Gedson’s pass. Kimmich meanwhile remained in a offensive position and was too far away to track back to the box in time. And suddenly there is a huge gap in the defence. And there were a few other situations in which the players reacted quite panicky.

Perhaps the biggest improvement, however, was the confidence that emanated from Manuel Neuer. His key tackle on Rafa Silva early in the first half, when Bayern had scored only one goal, was a huge moment.

Bayern need a proper defensive midfielder

Kimmich had a good night. Surely much better than the last time he played as CDM. But he still has a tendency to go a bit forward. That may be good for a right-back, but it is not so good when you are playing a CDM. Goretzka had to fill in the void left by Kimmich, but he is not a natural CDM. Furthermore, it is quite risky to play all three outside-backs — David Alaba, Kimmich, and Rafinha — at the same time. What if one of them gets injured?

If Niko Kovac cannot trust Javi Martinez in the role, the club cannot risk an injury crisis, nor sacrifice Kimmich’s offensive potential by putting him in a different role.

Bayern back on its feet (so it seems)

The last time that Bayern scored five goals was in the Supercup against Eintracht Frankfurt. That says it all! It has been a long time since we have seen such an amazing performance from Bayern. The attack was fired up, and the team in general sustained a high tempo throughout the game, which is promising. The crisis is definitely not over, but this game is a good foundation to build upon. The future of Kovač is yet to be unraveled and it will be interesting to see the outcome. Maybe Sunday’s locker room talk was quite effective.

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