Although it is important to keep in mind the quality of the opposition, Bayern Munich are on a three game winning streak and things seem to be looking up in the Bavarian capital. Just about every player on the pitch could have been given a nod as Bayern dominated possession, holding the ball for over 75% of the match. With that being said, here’s who stood out for the record champions.
Jersey Swap: Uhhhhh...Fabian Bredlow
Yeah, Bredlow, we’ll go with that. Nurnberg made the short trip to Munich with zero attacking intent, and no real plan defensively. This gave Bredlow an impossible task, but he performed valiantly with 6 saves. Not a great day to be a Nurnberg fan.
Tip of the Cap: Franck Ribery
Despite Arjen Robben’s recent admission that this would be his last season in the Bavarian capital, Franck Ribery may not be letting go of the dream just yet. In a vintage display, the 35-year-old Frenchman contributed a goal coming off a deflected Serge Gnabry shot, in addition to a dribble and two crosses. What stood out most about his performance was his energy and desire, Ribery worked relentlessly to find himself in dangerous positions, as well as link up with David Alaba to give the Nurnberg defense fits. As his time in Munich draws to a close, Ribery is going out with a bang.
Golf Clap: Robert Lewandowski
A Lewy brace and a Bayern win; two peas in a pod. Despite two goals on four shots, 3 key passes, and a man of the match performance (per Whoscored), Bayern’s Polish hit man continued his run of average performances. Maybe it is just due to the high standard we have come to expect from the striker, but his performances as of late have just seemed off. He skied a golden opportunity today following beautiful, quick passing from Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry, while his first touch betrayed him more times than one. His goals came as he played the role of poacher and on a set piece, which is disappointing considering the high quality of service he received on the night in open play. Hopefully a two goal performance helps to get him back to his best. With the Bavarian attack finally clicking, the lethal forward will need to get back to his clinical ways.
Standing Ovation: Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller
The stat sheet may not back up the performance in terms of goals and assists for this German duo, but that does not discount the vital role each played in this victory. While Gnabry contributed one key pass, a shot that turned into a goal for Franck Ribery, and six dribbles, Muller put in an equally solid shift with four key passes and two dribbles. With Gnabry on the right and Muller deployed centrally these two interchanged fluidly and their passing seemed to be synced up all afternoon, resulting in some of Bayern’s most dangerous chances. A one-two between the two German internationals set Lewandowski up for a chip shot just inside the box, while an intelligent through ball from Muller found Gnabry in the box for a shot that was only just deflected away for Ribery’s goal. Each played a vital role in creating space for Lewandowski and co., keeping the Nurenberg defense on skates all match. These two have become the heartbeat of Niko Kovac’s attack, which may spell bad news for James Rodriguez as the rotation policy becomes less consistent.
Meister of the Match: Joshua Kimmich
As much as I plan on dying on the “Joshua Kimmich is a right back” hill, he is making it increasingly difficult to find supporters for the cause. Kimmich was again a maestro in the midfield, dictating tempo, finding teammates with accuracy and stopping what proved to be an inept Nurnberg attack. With an assist, 95% pass accuracy, 8 long balls, 3 successful crosses, and two tackles, the German international pulled the strings of the Bayern attack all night. His intelligent positioning allowed Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng to get forward and operate with a freedom that resulted in 11 successful long balls and 3 key passes between the two of them. The prodigious midfielder was also unlucky not to score as he arrived with late runs in the box, finding himself on the end of a Lewandowski pass, which Bredlow only just got his finger tips on.
With all that being said, his dominance as a 6 has come against Benfica, Bremen, and Nurnberg, and Bayern are criminally thin at full back, so it is safe to pump the brakes before deciding he is the anchor of the midfield for years to come. But hey, his quality is undeniable and he could continue to cement the role as his own. Where do you think the versatile German fits best?