Full time: Bayern Munich manage to pull off the same scoreline as matchday 1, in a game that they made far more difficult than it needed to be. Here are some initial reactions from the game, just to tide you over till our post-game pieces:
- Thiago had an off day. It’s not often that you see Thiago Alcantara miss passes or get dispossessed, but that’s exactly what happened today. In the second half, when Hoffenheim dialed up their pressing, the Spaniard wasn’t able to keep up and struggled at times under the pressure. Let’s hope that this was just a one-off issue.
- The third goal showed everything Bayern miss when you don’t have James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller on the pitch together. Muller pointed and made the run, which James spotted. The resulting ball into the box was dutifully delivered by the raumdeuter into the feet of Lewandowski, effectively killing the game.
- Manuel Neuer’s save was game changing. Instead of becoming 2-2, it stayed at 2-1, and Bayern scored soon after to end Hoffenheim’s comeback.
- Bayern’s second half performance was far from convincing, which is a worry considering how the first half was so dominant. Niko Kovac has been criticized for being unable to adapt to tactical changes made by his opponents — this game might prove that those arguments hold water.
- Niko Kovac’s team is showing signs of developing into a strong counterattacking unit — the second Goretzka goal is proof of this. However, numerous missed passes and botched counters prove that the team still has a long way to go.
- Bayern Munich should kill off games when they are dominant. The second half scares wouldn’t have happened if the easy chances in the first half had been converted.
93’ — Szalai has a header that just goes over Neuer.
90’ — Final three minutes. Boateng enters the pitch for Javi Martinez.
89’ — Bayern’s third goal came after a period of calmness within the game. Both teams looked at deadlock before Muller’s strike.
88’ — Rummennige and Hoeneß looks relieved.
86’ — TOOOOOOOOOR! Lewandowski finishes after a fantastic Muller cross. James fantastically set up Muller. A dream goal!! Out of the blue but this will most likely give Bayern the three points! MIA SAN MIA!
85’ — Bayern are playing a dangerous game. Difficult to think that Bayern was so dominant in the first half.
83’ — GREAT SAVE FROM NEUER! Neuer acted superbly after a header from Hoffenheim. Flag was always up, but Neuer wasn’t to know.
Is Manuel Neuer finally back to his top form?— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 18, 2019
idk you tell us... pic.twitter.com/PMbHjovYNr
80’ — Time running out for Hoffenheim, nothing is decided though. Last 10 minutes has passed by in the blink of an eye. Seems like Bayern are playing the game out.
78’ — James is going on instead of Thiago. Decent game from the Spanish Maestro, but like the rest of Bayern, has been quite invincible in the second half.
74’ — Bayern has dropped back while Hoffenheim is starting to push up. Vital final minutes coming up for Bayern.
72’ — Belfodil breaks through but the finish goes wide. Bayern are not playing well since Hoffenheim’s goal.
71’ — Hoffenheim looking dangerous. Half-chance from a corner, Bayern need to be on their toes.
70’ — The game has slowed down since Hoffenheim’s reduced the deficit.
67’ — Kimmich gets a yellow card from a high-kick. Not as dangerous as Mullers one, but a clear yellow nonetheless.
63’ — Bayern has somewhat invited Hoffenheim back into the game. The goal was created from a counter-attack and was unexpected, yet, Bayern has not been as impressive this half.
60’ — Javi Martinez has a semi-dangerous low shot outside the 18-yard-box.
58’ — GOAL FOR HOFFENHEIM! Shock for Bayern, a counter from Bayern’s corner. Bittencourt does a lovely cross to Nico Schulz who finishes it perfectly. Game on!
57’ — Alaba has another free-kick, this one is more dangerous as it forces Baumann to do yet another save. Corner for Bayern.
55’ — Grillitsch coming on for Vogt and Geiger coming on for Demirbay.
54’ — Joelinton has a half-chance, poor shot that was never going to bother Manu.
52’ — First big chance for Hoffenheim! Shot from Joelinton which Neuer saves, rebound by Demirbay just went over. Big chance!
49’— Another dangerous corner for Bayern. Javi Martinez is close to put Bayern ahead with 3 goals.
49’ — Coman has a shot outside that is well saved from Baumann. The Hoffenheim keeper is having a good game. Corner for Bayern.
48’ — Bittencourt has a shot outside the 18-yard-box. No problem for Manu.
46’ — Hoffenheim needs to change their game-plan to have a chance of points today.
45’ — Second half is underway! MIA SAN MIA!
HALFTIME! Bayern has dominated the first competitive 45 minutes in Sinsheim. Has looked in control for the whole half. Goretzka has had two well executed finishes. Here are some quick observations at half time.
- Both wingers have been fantastic for Bayern. Coman looks lively and inspiring and Muller is dangerous every-time he has the ball.
- Bayern has played a fantastic first 45 minutes. Hoffenheim has only had a handful of half-chances and is yet to create one clear-cut chance.
- Hoffenheim’s defensive plan has failed. Lewandowski is playing deep in the pitch, yet, is always dangerous when on the ball and has played more like a ‘shadow-striker’ instead of his usually target-man role.
45’ — TOOOOOOOOR!!! Alaba crosses to Goretzka who scores his second of the game! Bayern looks comfortable.
45’ — Hummels denies Hoffenheim from a dangerous low cross. Bayern is starting to invite Hoffenheim into the game.
44’ — Bayern does look in complete control, yet hasn’t had a clear-cut chance since the goal.
43’ — Kramaric has a half-chance. The game has slowed down a bit since the goal.
37’ — 13-1 in total shots for Bayern. Auf geht’s Die Roten!!
36’ — Simple finish from Goretzka! Total domination from Bayern the first 35 minutes. 2019 has started fantastically.
35’ — GOAAAAAAAAL!!! Coman crosses to Lewandowski who heads it, nice save from Baumann but Goretzka is there for the follow-up!! Deserved!
Leon Goretzka scores the first Bundesliga goal of 2019! pic.twitter.com/qBEhiVmHnp— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 18, 2019
34’ — Coman has had an outstanding first 30 minutes.
33’ — Nothing from Hoffenheim so far.
32’ — Great cross from Kimmich that Coman is very close to get a touch on, ends up a Hoffenheim free-kick instead.
28’ — Goretzka has a chance, goes through on goal but Baumann does a nice save!
27’ — DANGEROUS CORNER! - Hummels shots and it is blocked, unintentionally, by Lewandowski. Another big chance for Bayern.
26’ — Alaba bangs a freekick, get’s deflected and Bayern gets a corner.
23’ — Lewandowski dropping deep in the pitch, shows how defensive Hoffenheim’s first 20 minutes have been.
20’ — Corner for Bayern. Goretzka strikes outside the 18 yard-box. Not too dangerous.
18’ — Muller has another dangerous chance. Cross from Alaba that is scrambled in Hoffenheim’s goal area, Muller strikes while laying down. Bayern are playing very well.
16’ — 70-30 in possession for Bayern.
15’ — Very positive start from Bayern! High tempo with constant pressure.
11’ — Goretzka has a half-chance. Second time Coman breaks through on his wing.
10’ — Lewandowski has a volley that just goes out. Very close, first real chance of the game.
9’ — Mostly Bayern so far, dominating possession with Lewandowski dropping back far. Muller gets furious when Bayern does not get a corner.
3’ — Kramaric gets a header on goal. No problem for Neuer.
2’ — Shot from Lewandowski after a Muller pass. Shot goes over.
Kickoff! The ball is rolling in Bayern’s first competitive game of 2019 in Sinsheim! Auf gehts Bayern!
One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out!
With the month long break over, Bayern Munich can finally return to action against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. Julian Nagelsmann has said that his side intend to attack the Bavarians — hopefully in a less violent way than last time, but let’s be real — so can Niko Kovac get this year off to a winning start?
In team news, it’s been confirmed that Arjen Robben (thigh), Franck Ribery (hamstring), and Corentin Tolisso (ACL) will be out for this game. That means that Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are almost guaranteed to start on the flanks. Robert Lewandowski will lead the line, with either Thomas Muller or James Rodriguez playing behind him as the #10.
As for the midfield and the defense, we don’t expect any surprises — except one. Before the game, it’s been reported that Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels have been used together in recent training sessions, which might mean that we’ll a Boammels pairing to start the year.
It’s a sign of the times when we can feel genuinely nervous about putting Niklas Sule on the bench in favor of two World Cup winners. In any case, that should still be enough to win this game, provided there are no silly mistakes. We’ll post the lineup when it appears. One thing we know already: Alphonso Davies is on the squad!
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim, Germany
Time: 8:30 pm local time, 2:30 pm EST
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