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Match Awards from Bayern’s first loss under Niko Kovac

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In a match where no one really played well, giving out the match awards was, predictably, challenging.

Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara reacts in frustrartion after a decision went against them during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on September 28, 2018.
“Derbystar!”
Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Jersey Swap: Valentino Lazaro

Lazaro was tasked with covering Franck Ribery tonight and he did it very well. His physical yet patient approach allowed him to frustrate Ribery all game long and played a big part in the successful defense of Berlin. On offense, Lazaro provided the assist for Berlin’s second goal with a cut back pass to find Ondrej Duda near the 6 yard box for a well placed finish. At just 20, he’s certainly someone to watch.

Tip of the Cap: David Alaba

Alaba was active up and down the left wing today and had a number of good deliveries into the box, the most notable being a driven cross in the first half which was sent over the bar by Arjen Robben. He also contributed with three shots, one which nearly snuck in at the far post from outside the box. His overlapping runs put pressure on the defense and were Bayern’s main offensive outlet. The game plan coming in seemed to be to get the ball to the touchline through Ribery and Alaba and to then find open players in the box who could put the ball in the back of the net. Misplaced crosses, poor finishing, and good defending prevented it from coming off.

Golf Clap: Joshua Kimmich

While nobody was outstanding today, Kimmich put in a solid performance all things considered. He was solid in possession with a 95% pass completion, had good deliveries on his set pieces, and had it not been for Franck Ribery, would have had a chance at one of the goals of the seasons so far. A ball over the top of the defense was flicked back over the head of a Berlin defender and taken on the volley. Had it not deflected out of bounds off of Ribery it would have forced Berlin goalie Thomas Kraft into a very difficult save.

Standing Ovation: Franck Ribery

While Valentino Lozaro did an outstanding job against him, Ribery did get a few over on the 20 year old throughout the match. Though his end product and deliveries into the box left to be desired, he was one of the few Bayern players who actually put pressure on the Berlin defense throughout the match. He completed a game high 5 dribbles, and he combined with Alaba’s overlapping runs provided Bayern with a number of situations that brought danger to the Berlin defense.

Meister of the Match: Thiago Alcantara

Thiago struggled a bit in the first half but found his groove in the second half. He distributed the ball and recycled possession well, won five tackles and four aerial duels. He was one of the most active players on the pitch all game long and the main reason Bayern were able to win control of the midfield in the second half after a first half that saw both sides look hectic and out of control in the center of the park.