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Four observations from Bayern Munich’s win over AEK Athens

AEK tried harder than last time, but it wasn’t enough.

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 07: Jerome Boateng of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the Group E match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Bayern Muenchen and AEK Athens at Allianz Arena on November 7, 2018 in Munich, Germany. Photo by A. Hassenstein/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Defense was amazing!

Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng made a superb defensive duo this evening! They didn’t let AEK to take a single shot on target and managed to end their attacking efforts with ease. In the end AEK, had merely 3 attempts, all of them off target. Moreover, Hummels and Boateng had exceptional communication. Boateng usually pressed a bit further forward on the attack and distributed some amazing long passes, while Hummels played more defensively, winning 7 out of 10 duels. We also must not forget the influence of Javi Martinez on the back line. He was simply astonishing today, winning 16 out of 19 duels and making a great defensive and attacking contribution! He was one of the brightest performers. The defense has conceded just a single goal in four Champions league games, which is a record now and Bayern should be proud of it.

Joshua Kimmich proved his value to Bayern

Kimmich proved (again) that he is simply irreplaceable for Bayern. He showed that he is far more useful when he plays at right-back than in midfield. He managed an assist and constantly gave amazing crosses, which we are used to by now. He made 5 key passes (the most) and definitely redeemed himself after a lousy performance against Freiburg. Although he and Serge Gnabry seemed to be on a different wavelength for much of the match, Kimmich and Goretzka showed real chemistry, especially on what would have been a spectacular goal ten minutes into the second half — a hard-hit volley by Goretzka off one of Kimmich’s spectacular crosses. After Freiburg, it was encouraging to see Kimmich leap back into his usual role with such aplomb.

Flashes of Leon

We have yet to see the full potential of Leon Goretzka since he transferred over from Schalke 04, but we did see some glimpses today of the relentless attacking force that he can be. It is odd in a lot of ways because Goretzka almost looks too calm at times, but today there were stretches were you could see exactly why Bayern signed him. He didn’t amass any goals, nor get credited with any assists, but if his play starts to show more of these flashes of brilliance, but maybe things are headed in the right direction.

- CSmith1919

Should we be concerned about Serge Gnabry?

Another match, another frustrating performance: Serge Gnabry still seems to be running up against a wall at Bayern, all his energy notwithstanding. Gnabry played on Bayern’s right wing today for 83 minutes, yet it was Thomas Müller drifting out wide who provided the greater threat. Gnabry had slightly better success pushing up the middle, but he seemed unsure of where to play and continues to be plagued by questionable decision-making. After winning the ball off a bad pass in the first half, Gnabry dribbled straight into a defender, killing a promising counter-attack before it even started. He fired a shot over the crossbar in the second half and otherwise remained largely invisible. AEK obviously set up to stifle any and all attacks, but Bayern fans expected more from a 23-year-old winger with experience at Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim.

John Dillon

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