Renato Sanches put in a solid performance and he can build on it
Having been sidelined by a back injury for the past few weeks, Renato Sanches finally returned to the Bayern Munich midfield against Chicago Fire and ... (gasp) he put in a good performance! Lining up alongside Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka, Sanches showed a good account of himself by nothing up the most touches, most passes, and most duels won in the time he spent on the pitch.
The young Portuguese midfielder’s distribution was his strongest asset, as he spread the play with pinpoint passes and long balls to the wide areas. He was also good at winning the ball back when Fire had the possession, and didn’t lose it at all (okay, he lost it once from a bad pass, but that was it). If he can keep up this form and build on it, then coach Niko Kovac can start giving him minutes in games that matter.
Renato Sanches’ time at Bayern Munich isn’t over yet.
James Rodriguez was sublime on the wing
The first half of Basti’s testimonial gave us an interesting glimpse at a new tactical possibility prompted by the serious injury to Kingsley Coman: James Rodriguez played out wide on Bayern’s left wing opposite Serge Gnabry on the right. James was outstanding, both in receiving and delivering dangerous passes into and around Chicago’s penalty area. James nearly had an early assist when he received the ball from Goretzka one on one with Chicago’s keeper. He might have taken the shot himself but opted to pass back inside to Wagner. The chance was unfortunately cleared. James himself had another chance off a pass from Wagner, but couldn’t quite connect with the ball. But the duo finally broke through in style in the 38th minute, finding Wagner with a long forward cross that the big man emphatically headed into the net. Chicago’s defense obviously left much to be desired, but James’s offensive creativity on the left wing is a positive sign as Niko Kovac weighs his options.
Leon Goretzka makes the most of his start
We have seen little of one of Bayern’s most significant new signings, Leon Goretzka. At last given a chance in the starting lineup, Goretzka clearly showed that he possesses far more quality than just any ordinary second-choice player. The transition from a starting role in Schalke’s midfield to a place on the bench at Bayern is obviously difficult, but Goretzka took a step forward to proving himself on the pitch in a Bayern jersey. Goretzka was the chief midfield motor, working effectively particularly with James. It’s a shame that his appearance was cut short by injury.
Servus Basti! Danke
As a little footnote, what an absolutely stunning goal by Bastian Schweinsteiger!
After all the obvious efforts to get Basti a goal fell flat, David Alaba conjured up a little unscripted magic and delivered a peach of a forward cross right into Basti’s path as he split his teammates’ defense, scoring dramatically off the volley and leaving the keeper no chance whatsoever. Sometimes soccer is pure magic. This was one of those moments.
Danke für Alles, Basti!