Jersey Swap(s): Bernardo Silva/Phil Foden. These two were quite arguably Manchester City’s best players on the pitch in what was a lineup predominantly comprised of fringe players while City’s World Cup stars still haven’t returned to training. Silva came on midway through the first half for an injured Riyad Mahrez and made an almost immediate impact, constantly giving Jonathan Meier and David Alaba something to worry about. Take nothing away from both of his goals, either; especially his first just before the stroke of halftime after an exceptional solo run, trotting right through Bayern’s back line. City and England fans should be excited for Phil Foden, too. The 18-year old looked so confident in possession and certainly wasn’t shy of taking players on 1v1. His pace and interchangeability made him a nuisance to Bayern’s back line and he was able to draw lots of attention, creating open spaces for his teammates to run into.
Bernardo Silva’s great finish... pic.twitter.com/M17jcGgBuy— We Love Man City FC (@WeLoveManCityFC) July 29, 2018
Tip of the Cap: Meritan Shabani/Chris Richards
The two youngsters, for the most part, stuck to their task quite well. After Shabani scored his goal inside of the first 15 minutes, he looked like he had the confidence to take players on instead of just playing a conservative lateral or backwards pass. He did start to fade towards the end of the match; most notably when he skied his effort from about 10 yards out after Ribery had played him a perfect back pass in the latter stages of the second half; but he was still in the right area. His decision making was sound, too, as he hardly gave away possession and was always looking to make the right pass and cover the right spaces. Richards was equally as impressive. For a youngster, the slightest error can leave you flustered and frazzled, but the 18-year old stuck to his task well and have us a glimpse of what the long-term future holds for Bayern Munich.
Golf Clap: Kingsley Coman
Coman looked dangerous almost every time he received possession out wide, especially in the first. His one downfall on the night would arguably be his final product. There were a handful of occasions where he would do exceptionally well to beat his defender(s) to the byline, but his cross wouldn’t go near any Bayern players in the box, or his shots would go well high or wide. By that some token, the argument could’ve been made that Sandro Wagner and company weren’t making the right runs when Coman would look to whip a cross in; perhaps aiming for Robert Lewandowski would’ve yielded different results. Nonetheless, the right signs are there, especially for a player who spent a long spell out injured last season. It’s encouraging to see that he can still use his pace and close control to breeze right past defenders like hey’re not even there as it was on display vs. City.
Standing Ovation: Franck Ribery
Despite what you may have heard, Ribery’s still got it. The Frenchmen had a solid outing vs. City, capped off by a sublime assist to his ‘Robbery’ partner in crime, Arjen Robben. The weight and the timing of his lobbed through ball to Robben for Bayern’s second goal in the 24th minute was nothing short of perfect and highlighted how Bayern wanted to play once they finally got into gear. Ribery wore the captain’s armband well and showed that he still has no problem whizzing past defenders and interchanging flanks with Robben (when they’re both on the pitch). For what it’s worth, too, he had a handful of good-looking crosses into City’s box that Wagner could’ve done better with; particularly when Bayern was pressing for a late equalizer (when it was 3-2). Refreshingly, Ribery had a solid International Champions Cup and hopefully he’s able to ride the momentum into the start of the new season.
Meister of the Match: Arjen Robben
The Dutchman was deserving of more than just one goal for how influential his performance was. To be fair, he started off a bit slow, but the same went for the majority of the squad. His pass to Rafinha inevitably set up Mertian Shabani’s opening goal in the 15th minute; he cut inside, drew two defenders to him, and left plenty of space for Rafinha to run on into and subsequently send in the cross. Less than ten minutes later he brilliantly chipped home Bayern’s second goal of the match after controlling Ribery’s lofted pass with the smoothest of touches on the outside of his left boot. After he scored his goal, he continued to apply pressure on City; taking players on, playing through balls in behind, and always looking for the cutback option when he would attack the byline. All in all, a great performance from the veteran.
Fantastic finish by Arjen Robben to make it 2-0.pic.twitter.com/tQhKw0YVg1— Bayern & Die Mannschaft (@eMiaSanMia) July 28, 2018