Jersey swap: Naby Keita. The bogeyman of Rasenball, Naby Keita put in one heck of a shift. His pace and passing made Bayern Munich’s midfield look utterly helpless for much of the match, and he crowned his performance with goal of his own (catching the rebound from a would-be assist to Timo Werner) and an assist on Werner’s goal. It will truly be the Bundesliga’s loss when he departs for Liverpool this summer. Highlights are in short supply today, so here’s Werner’s:
But it is hard just to single Keita out: Werner was outstanding for his entire time on the pitch, after he replaced Marcel Sabitzer early in the first half. Also, Konrad Laimer, who is not a regular starter for Leipzig, put in a fantastic performance, thoroughly outdueling David Alaba on Bayern’s left flank. Laimer was instrumental in Leipzig’s first goal. Finally, Upamecano was a rock in Leipzig’s back line. Leipzig had an all around great game.
Tip o’ the cap: Thomas Müller. Müller did his best to get Bayern's offense going on the right, showing some chemistry with Joshua Kimmich, especially in the second half. Müller moreover was an instrumental part of the only goal Bayern scored today, threading a lovely pass through Leipzig's defense for James to pick up and send on to Wagner. Müller was also a beast in the air, winning a game-high 5 aerial duels. But despite his best efforts, he just could not jump-start Bayern’s offense by himself, and he struggled to break down Leipzig’s back line after they had recovered from the opening goal.
Golf clap: Sandro Wagner. Three goals in three games: Sandro Wagner proved yet again his value to Bayern as a backup for Robert Lewandowski. On a day when Bayern struggled to get anything going, Wagner's perfect header on his first shot of the game put the Bavarians ahead. Wagner unfortunately had virtually no service from the left wing, since Leipzig's defense snuffed the life out of most attacks before they could ever reach him. But Wagner also showed his willingness to drop back and fight for the ball. He is something of a Bavarian bulldog. Bayern may have lost, but the day was at least a personal success for him.
Standing ovation: James Rodríguez. James pushed himself to the utmost to create chances for a lethargic and sloppy Bayern team today, while also dashing back to help cleanup defensive blunders deeper in Bayern’s midfield behind him. On a day when Bayern’s passing fell dramatically short of the team’s usual standard, James proved a relatively reliable connection in the advanced midfield. And the one time Bayern’s offense functioned as it should—in the twelfth minute—it was James who was pulling the strings. James had just ten minutes to pair with a real winger, Franck Ribery, who replaced Juan Bernat after an hour. By then, though, the Colombian had
Meister of the match: Sven Ulreich. Sven saves: and how! Sven Ulreich saved Bayern from significant additional embarrassment by making several spectacular saves. Just five minutes into the game, Ulreich saved Joshua Kimmich from a major mistake, as Kimmich inadvertently allowed Bruma to dash away into Bayern's box for a one-on-one. #SvenTheWall stood firm. Ulreich was on hand to save the day again against Josef Poulsen (14’) and dramatically deflected a fantastic free kick away by Bruma (27’). Ulreich saved Bayern another goal just before the end of the first half when he charged Keita. There was not much he could do to stop the two goals that got past him, but he gave his team a chance to win, which is more than most of the others can say.