As expected the Bayern Munich’s veterans and youngsters had some trouble linking up at the start, but it got better
The early effort from Die Roten was a bit choppy, but over the course of the game those initial mistakes evolved into lessons learned. It was refreshing to see how the young players like Paul Will shook off some early mishaps to piece together a solid game. With lineups featuring Oliver Batista-Meier, Marcel Zylla, Chris Richards, Jonathan Meier, Meritan Shabani, Josip Stanisic, and Joshua Zirkzee over the course of the match, Bayern looked more and more comfortable despite the extreme youth on display. If anything, this was a big step for the young players to show their talent and ability to adapt.
Adrien Rabiot bossed the midfield for most of the game, but his set piece defense was uninspired to say the least
For most of the game, Rabiot put on an effective display to sell himself FC Barcelona, which is allegedly interested in the 23-year old. Rabiot’s pace, athleticism, ball control, and confidence made him the best player on the field for most of the game.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he lost Javi Martinez on a corner which Arjen Robben masterfully curled on to the head of the hard-charging Martinez to tie game at 1-1. It’s not like Barca would be scared away from one, lame set-piece defense, but Rabiot was making himself a decent highlight reel up until that point.
Renato Sanches played it safe and helped himself with a fantastic free kick for a goal
It is no secret that Sanches has struggled with consistency and avoiding the impulse to force himself into games when on the pitch. Today, however, the 20-year old asserted himself nicely by remaining calm, making safe/smart decisions, and capitalizing when he had the opportunity. The Portuguese midfielder will never break through this team’s glut of midfielders by pressing himself into making mistakes like he has been prone to do in the past. This was a terrific way for him to show he has the ability to play within a defined role and contribute within the concept of what the team is trying to accomplish. Again, it’s only preseason, but at this time last year, Sanches was an utter disaster.
Bayern played with urgency and resiliency
Trailing 1-0 at halftime was not the end of the world. In fact, losing the game 1-0 really would not have meant anything. However, playing with a sense of urgency and being resilient under duress are qualities that any championship-level team needs - and that were not always there for Bayern in the recent past.
It’s not a guarantee that those attributes will consistently be there, but with a mixed bag of a lineup and players substituting in and out at will, it would have been easy to make excuses and just seek to get out of Austria healthy. Instead, the squad rallied after halftime, applied massive pressure to PSG, and kept the pace up even after taking the lead.
Debuts Galore! ⚪— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) July 21, 2018
@SergeGnabry, #Meier, #Zirkzee, #Richards, #Zylla, #Johansson, #Stanisic, #Will, and #BatistaMeier all made their #FCBayern debuts!
Who were you most impressed with? #MiaSanMia #FCBPSG #ICC2018 #AudiFCBTour pic.twitter.com/GTn3rIUqhQ
This appeared to be something that may have been spawned by Niko Kovač’s early interactions with the squad as indicated by David Alaba to Sport 1 after the game:
He works very well with us, the units are very intense and he talks a lot with us, working with him is really positive, we want to continue on this path.
It was nice to see game action once again
Training videos, transfer rumors, and tactical analysis are all good ways to fill time between games, but it was excellent to see live, game action even if the broadcast had multiple hiccups here in the USA (from ESPN channel jumping to multiple transmission issues). Watching the squad ply their trade is the one true way to see just what Kovač has been implementing during training and so far, so good.
Now it’s on to Philadelphia (YES!) where Bayern will face off with some Old Lady from Italy.