Full time: A stop-start encounter in Leipzig comes to a close with a late Ribery goal and two red cards. Here are some initial observations to tide you over until the post-match pieces.
- Leipzig might try and pretend like they’re a decent team but in truth, they are dirty pieces of trash. The cynical challenge on Thiago was just horrendous, and Illsanker should get a long ban for it.
- Peter Gulasci had an incredible night, he was the sole reason Bayern didn’t open the scoring earlier. RB Leipzig’s much-vaunted defense, meanwhile, didn’t contain the Bavarians like people expected them to.
- Kingsley Coman was uncharacteristically poor, and his substitution for Renato Sanches actually had a positive impact on the game. It’s clear that the Frenchman isn’t back to 100% as of yet. Niko Kovac made the right call by substituting him early.
- Bayern finally showed some better game management. Manuel Neuer chose to do the goalkeeper thing of letting the ball roll as long as possible until picking it up. Sule and Thiago tried to guide the ball out for goal kicks instead of clearing and needlessly giving away possession. Possession itself was more secure after we scored, despite Leipzig’s press. If the team had shown this kind of maturity against Ajax, we would’ve won that game too.
- The three points gained in this fixture were invaluable, but if it means losing Thiago and Gnabry — I’m not sure Bayern will be happy about that.
92’ — Ilsanker sees a straight red card for a horrendous and cynical tackle on Thiago. Thiago is very lucky he saw him coming and could get his foot off the ground before he’s taken out.
Renato Sanches sees yellow in turn for duly shoving Ilsanker to the ground. He sardonically shakes the referee’s hand before leaving the pitch — but wait, he’s back and watching from the sideline!
91’ — Sanches nearly does it again: he makes a blazing fast run past his man into the box and dribbles right up to Gulacsi. Gulacsi blocks it .
90’ — Javi Martinez now replaces Müller, as Kovac seeks to shut down the game.
Three minutes of stoppage time remain.
89’ — Augustin replaces Poulsen for Leipzig’s final substitution.
87’ — Rangnick is all in: now Laimer makes way for Matheus Cunha.
84’ — Leipzig respond with a scary chance of their own. Poulsen wins an aerial challenge on a corner kick, but heads the ball wide of the goal.
83’ — GOOOOOOOOL for Bayern! Müller delivers a fantastic inside pass to Renato Sanches, who battles Leipzig’s defense to keep the ball. He finally shoots, but Gulacsi blocks the shot. It rolls out to Ribery, though, who’s unmarked on the other side of the penalty area. Ribery shifts it onto his right foot and fires it into the net. The crowd at the Allianz roars!
81’ — Ilsanker replaces Bruma for Leipzig.
78’ — What a save by Gulacsi! Müller finds Lewandowski with an excellent cross. Lewandowski heads it back inside for Kimmich. Kimmich is open with a header, but Gulacsi makes an incredible save, shoving the ball clear out of danger.
Sanches receives a yellow card for a late tackle on Werner.
77’ — Alaba wins a free kick out wide. Kimmich sends it in, but it bounces off Gulacsi’s hands. It falls to Süle, but he blasts it over the goal.
76’ — Bayern looks frustrated. They win the ball, Müller and Lewandowski attempt runs, but no pass is made, and the moment passes.
73’ — Finally something to talk about: Alaba drives forward out wide and sends a low cross in to Müller. Müller gets a foot on the ball, but it rolls just outside the far post. The first clear chance for Bayern in a long time.
72’ — Bayern still can’t create anything going forward. The ball is constantly brought back to the defense, as the team searches for a path through to the goal.
66’ — Neuer comes off his line to catch the ball, but Poulsen shoves Mats Hummels into his path. Hummels goes to the ground with an apparent head injury, but play continues. Once the play is dead, Hummels leaps up and protests with the referee.
65’ — Laimer collects a yellow card for a foul on Ribery. Sanches fires a shot wide of goal.
61’ — Renato Sanches replaces Coman, giving Bayern another outlet in the midfield.
But first a scare for Bayern: Bruma breaks away behind Joshua Kimmich while Werner moves into position. Somehow Kimmich manages to get back in time to break up the play. No foul on the play: Bruma went down all on his own, bringing Kimmich to the ground in the process.
58’ — Another messy attack ends in disappointment. Lewandowski attempts to control the ball while splitting Leipzig’s defense, but he can’t keep his balance, and Ribery is unable to collect it.
56’ — Kimmich fires the ball to Müller as he makes a run. He’s brought down, but the ball drops outside to Coman. Coman slots in a pass to Lewandowski, but he hits it too hard for the Pole to finish.
55’ — It looks like Renato Sanches may soon make an appearance. Can he release some of the pressure on Bayern’s midfield?
53’ — Demme finds Werner in the box, but Süle muscles the ball right out of bounds. Werner shares a few choice words with his Germany teammate — probably only half in jest.
51’ — Süle will want that one back. He stunningly passes the ball directly to Bruma, who immediately launches an attack resulting in a corner.
47’ — Leipzig wastes no time in attacking. Bruma delivers the ball to Werner near the edge of the penalty box. Werner collects himself and fires a tremendous shot off the volley. It fortunately flies well over the goal rather than at it.
Kickoff of the second half — and the ball rolls again.
Halftime observations and impressions
- Serge Gnabry, we hardly knew ya. Only half an hour into what looked like another very good performance — with a near assist to Lewandowski — Bayern’s present and future right wing fell to a muscle injury (groin?) yet again. Get well, Serge.
- Where is Bayern’s offense? Have you seen them? Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller have seen very, very little of the ball. Leipzig’s pressing game has all but cut them off from the rest of the team. Rangnick’s strategy: cut off the head and kill the body?
- Poulsen vs Hummels: as predictable, Leipzig has been pushing Mats Hummels especially hard, trying to provoke an error from the slow-paced center-back. Hummels’s lack of confidence is almost palpable. Fortunately, his battery-mate Süle has looked sharp.
- Thiago has been strong in the midfield, but he has had to do a lot of work by himself.
45’ — Thiago flies to the ground in a challenge with Werner. The referee signals to play on and in the chaos Bayern launches a counter-attack. Coman receives the ball with a bit of space up front, but Upamecano blocks his way forward.
43’ — Timo Werner goes down on contact with Ribery. The play continues, though. Werner gets up after a moment.
Leipzig is pressing Bayern ruthlessly, targeting Hummels in particualr.
40’ — Ribery creates a promising chance: he collects the ball and beats Klostermann on the dribble, driving inside, but Upamecano clears the danger before a Bayern player can capitalize on the cross.
36’ — Leipzig with yet another major chance. This time Klostermann eludes Hummels, but Süle is on hand to parry the danger. Kampl delivers a corner kick that reaches Upamecano. He heads it powerfully, but it rebounds off the crossbar.
35’ — Halstenberg whips the ball in from the left corner to the near post. Neuer snatches it up.
31’ — Leipzig takes advantage of Bayern’s confusion. Bruma takes a casual shot on goal. Bayern’s defense struggles to clear the danger.
28’ — Substitution for Bayern: Franck Ribery replaces Gnabry. Coman will presumably switch now to the right flank.
27’ — Disaster strikes: a split second after effortlessly nutmegging a defender on a promising run, Serge Gnabry pulls up injured. It is a non-contact injury.
25’ — Virtually out of nowhere, Gnabry seizes the ball and passes forward to Lewandowski. One on one against Gulacsi, Lewandowski shoots, but the keeper somehow manages to get his fingertips on the ball, deflecting it into the post.
23’ — Bayern squanders an opportunity, as Alaba passes the ball ahead of Müller, who would have been in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
22’ — Leipzig comes back with more pressure: this time, Bruma takes a strong shot from outside the box. Neuer parries.
21’ — Werner attempts to break away on the left flank, but he is caught and tackled by Süle. Werner protests in vain, but the tackle is good.
19’ — Bayern has made a little noise on the wings, especially through Coman, but Lewandowski and Müller have not been involved. Bayern has been extremely careful defensively, in turn.
16’ — Diego Demme sees the yellow card for a tackle on Thiago.
14’ — A promising sequence for Bayern. Goretzka passes to Kimmich outside, who frees Müller in the penalty box. The defense closes him down, but Bayern win another corner.
11’ — Kampl delivers a cross from the left to Poulsen, but the play is called dead for a foul on Kimmich, whom Poulsen shoves to the ground just before the ball reaches him.
10’ — Leipzig are pressing hard and intercepting passes. Timo Werner attempts to make a run inside, but is tackled by Thiago. A moment later, Leipzig win their first corner.
8’ — Thiago chips the ball well forward for Coman, but Klostermann manages to reach it one step ahead of the speedy Frenchman.
5’ — Bruma makes a run through the center-left of the pitch and finds Laimer. Laimer shoots from distance. Neuer makes an easy save.
3’ — Laimer fouls Coman near the sideline. Kimmich kicks the ball into the box, but Bayern cannot do anything with it.
Kickoff — And we’re off. Serge Gnabry surges forward and wins a corner.
One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out! It’s the same lineup that beat Hannover.
Unsere XI für das letzte Heimspiel 2⃣0⃣1⃣8⃣. #FCBRBL #packmas #FCBayern #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/UBpxeY8luA— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) December 19, 2018
The Bundesliga is back! It’s time for Bayern Munich to face one of their biggest challenges of the league season — a visit from RB Leipzig! Niko Kovac’s men will likely have one eye on the result in Dusseldorf, where Borussia Dortmund dropped points for the first time in a long while. The quest to reel in BVB can have its first victory today!
Of course, Leipzig will do everything in their power to keep that from happening. The East German club have the best defense in the Bundesliga, having conceded only 14 goals in 15 matchdays. However, they will be miss Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forsberg — former is serving a suspension while the latter has a groin injury.
To have the best chance of scoring, Niko Kovac is expected to start both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, up top, with at least one of Kinglsey Coman and Serge Gnabry flanking them. With Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez both injured, he doesn’t have much of a choice in that regard. The midfield is almost guaranteed to contain Thiago Alcantara, with an outside chance of Javi Martinez getting the nod over Leon Goretzka (though, it isn’t likely).
As for the defense ... Kovac said in his presser that Leipzig play a similar style to Liverpool. We have no idea who out of Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, or Jerome Boateng will start. Fullbacks? Expect David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich. This game is do-or-die for Bayern. If we can’t take advantage of Dortmund’s slip-ups, then there’s no hope of catching up.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 8:30 pm local time, 2:30 pm EST
TV/streaming: Fubo.tv, Find Your Country
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