Jersey Swap: Ante Rebić. No surprises here. Rebić was the goal-scorer for Frankfurt’s first two goals, and officially received the man of the match award by the DFB. The Croatian was so dangerous on the counter attack throughout the 90+ minutes and was at the tip of the spear of Frankfurt’s high press. When Bayern tried to play their way out of the back, Rebić was a true thorn in their side, forcing them into difficult situations and winning possession in dangerous areas. His first goal just about typified his overall performance; high pressure, win the ball in dangerous areas, and use his speed to make darting runs when Bayern’s defenders were in retreat. Hats off to the Croatian, who’s deserving of the honor.
Tip of the cap: James Rodriguez. To be fair, James was sort of in and out of this match, especially in the first half, but he did have some decent impact on Bayern’s attack. He was at fault for losing the ball in the build-up to Frankfurt’s first goal, but there wasn’t much he could do with how quickly Rebić closed him down. On the attacking front, James looked influential in spurts, trying to the find the killer ball to try and play his teammates into dangerous areas. On the stats sheet (via WhoScored), he did have the most key passes (6) out of anyone else on the pitch; the next best was a three-way tie between Franck Ribery, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jetro Willems, and Danny da Costa (2). Characteristically, his delivery on set pieces was pin point and a few of them led to headers on frame for Bayern; perhaps a suggestion that Lewandowski should’ve let James take one of the several free kicks that he took just outside of Frankfurt’s box.
Golf Clap: Niklas Sule. The center back will certainly have felt hard done by after this one. For the most part, he was solid tonight, but was out-paced by Rebić for both a Frankfurt’s first two goals. His distribution out of the back was pinpoint for the majority of the match, having completed a total of 63 passes, boasting a pass success rate of 95%, the highest of any other player in the match aside from Sandro Wagner, who was only on for a few minutes towards the end. It was also Sule’s forward run and ensuing through ball to Joshua Kimmich that led to Robert Lewandowski’s goal in the 53rd minute, which ironically came just 8 minutes after Sule had attempted a half-volley from just outside Frankfurt’s box.
Standing Ovation: Joshua Kimmich. Another solid performance from the kid, who’s been one of Bayern’s most consistent players all season. His bursting run forward and cross to Robert Lewandowski got Bayern back into the match after a relatively underwhelming first half when they failed to make the most of their chances in front of goal. Kimmich put his cross on s silver platter for Lewandowski and Bayern started to show some life after grabbing the equalizer. The timing of his run was excellent, and he was constantly trying to make himself an option for his teammates; we saw him drift into positions all over every third of the pitch to try and receive possession. He also came close in the 25th minute to grabbing a goal of his own with a fine header off of a cross from Thomas Muller - case in point, Kimmich covered all sorts of ground and left it all out on the pitch.
Meister of the Match: Robert Lewandowski. If there were ever a match where he was deserving of more than just one goal, today was it. The striker never stopped working and hardly put a foot wrong other than failing to convert any of his free-kicks just outside of Frankfurt’s penalty area. In games like this where defenses are so compact, it can be incredibly difficult to find spaces and make an impact, but Lewandowski stuck to his task well, especially for someone who’s attitude and work rate has been questioned at times this season. It could’ve been a dream start for the Polish international had his free kick in the 8th minute gone in, but he was fractionally denied by the crossbar. Still, though, despite Bayern going 1-0 down just three minutes later, Lewandowski was constantly working and nearly found the back of the net in the 25th minute on the tail end of a fast break, but his left-footed effort just dragged wide. Take nothing away from his equalizer in the 53rd minute, either; yes, there was a lucky deflection, but he timed his run into the box to perfection to give Kimmich plenty of room for the cut-back cross. His goal inspired some of the best periods in the match for Bayern, too; as Frankfurt’s second goal from a long ball over the top came against the run of play.