Jersey Swap: Santiago Ascacibar
This might be a little bit controversial, as Anastasios Donis put in a really good performance, but in my opinion Santiago Ascacibar actually caused Bayern Munich the most problems in the game. His muscle on the ball and doubling up on the flanks was important to break the Robben-Kimmich partnership that threatened to overrun the right flank, and he did launch a good counter once. It wasn’t a great performance by Stuttgart overall, so that’s pretty much the extent of his jersey-swap performance.
Tip of the Cap: Leon Goretzka
This was hard. I was torn between giving the TotC to Jerome Boateng or Goretzka, but eventually I settled on the latter because of his opening goal and the assist for Lewandowski. Goretzka’s performance wasn’t sublime by any means — he ventured far too far forward at times, leaving a huge gap between the defense and midfield which Thiago had to fill. A more disciplined performance will be expected from him next time, but for now, a goal and an assist on your league debut at a new club isn’t too bad.
Golf Clap: Robert Lewandowski
Goal and assist. What can I say? A striker’s job is to score, and Lewandowski did it in exemplary fashion. The goal was slotted in beautifully from a layoff by Goretzka, and the backheel assist to Thomas Muller was just a treat. Beyond this, Lewy was usual self — strong holdup play, harassing defenders, and good runs into the box. Really, this was a textbook Lewandowski performance.
Standing Ovation: Thiago Alcantara
I can barely begin to describe how good Thiago was in this game, so let me give you some stats instead:
1 Key pass
96% Pass accuracy
Thiago was simply sublime in every aspect of the game. He linked the attack and defense while Goretzka was off doing his own thing, and he stopped Stuttgart’s counterattacks in their tracks. To be honest, Thiago was so dominant that you’d be forced to wonder why Stuttgart even bothered to play midfielders. As far as the Spaniard was concerned, they might as well have been traffic cones.
Thiago’s presence kept the team in control and defensively solid, so he easily deserves this award.
Meister of the Match: Thomas Muller
Now, I considered giving Muller the SO and Thiago the Meister, but then I remembered Goretzka’s goal. How often do you see your attacking midfielder dispossess your striker inside the opponent’s box and then nutmeg him for an assist? Simply put, that opening goal never happens without Thomas Muller’s unique way of seeing the game. A non-Raumdeuter doesn’t make that pass. A player who doesn’t know exactly where his teammates are at all times doesn't make that pass. A player without incredible split-second decision making doesn’t make that pass. Thomas Muller did.
That unorthodox goal changed the course of the game, and it’s why Thomas Muller gets this award today. He’s our special man, the guy who makes our attack one level better than it’s supposed to be. This is a well-deserved Meister for the Raumdeuter.