Initial thoughts and observations
- WOW, Serge Gnabry! He missed one chance early on and then found his inner beast mode to dominate Tottenham with pinpoint shooting. This guy was basically cut by West Brom (who?) and let go by Arsenal... Yeah, you think he’s happy to score in the UK? I think he’s happy to score in the UK. Epic performance tonight, and he has now raised his club cred to the already high level of his national cred for Germany.
- That midfield... Before Bayern went into overdrive and played Tottenham out of their shiny new park, the Bavarian’s looked pretty poor in midfield. Corentin Tolisso had a very poor game, and he was largely responsible for the Spurs’ first goal. You could say he made up for it with two assists, but once Tottenham began to totter, it was a very different game.
- Thiago looked much better today than he has in his last few performances. Being benched for this critical game might have sent him a positive message.
- Kimmich is awesome. But I’d rather he be awesome at right-back. David Alaba’s unfortunate injury may be a blessing in disguise, if it forces Kimmich to stay where he is best.
90+2’ — Tolisso nearly joins the fun as Bayern play a free kick short and pass to him. His long-range shot dances off the top netting. Is this man walking off the pitch wiht a game ball? You better believe it!
88’ — GOAL BAYERN! Oh you thought Gnabry was done? Wrong. Bayern sets up yet another situation: this time Tolisso catches the ball after a probable foul on a Bayern player. Tolisso finds Gnabry unmarked between two defenders. Even though they close down on him, Gnabs shuffles and shoots: FOUR GOALS for this man!
87’ — GOAL BAYERN! Oh wait, fans, you shouldn’t have left your seats so soon: your center-back Alderweireld just made a baffling, lazy pass to one of Bayern’s players! That ball came forward to Robert Lewandwoski’s feet. BOOM! Lewy puts it easily past the goalie.
84’ — GOAL BAYERN! Hat-trick for Serge Gnabry! Thiago drops a bomb of a long ball at Gnabry’s feet, and he does not miss.
81’ — Lamela comes on for Winks.
79’ — Strange: Son somehow made Kimmich fall down with his mind, then he passes the ball back to no one, out of bounds.
72’ — Worrisome: Jerome Boateng has to be helped off the field by Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt and an assistant. Enter center-back Javi Martinez.
71’ — Substitutions: Ivan Perisic comes on for Coman. Lucas Moura replaces Dele Ali
68’ — Incredible: Coman, who was cited for a penalty on the edge of the box when he kicked Rose, is clearly fouled in Tottenham’s box, brought down by a tackle without the ball. The call goes to VAR: no penalty. Seriously?
66’ — Sissoko finds Eriksen, who takes a high shot. Neuer gets a hand on it, but it looked destined for the crossbar anyway.
65’ — Lewandowski makes a brilliant run, passing to himself around his defender and then attempting to set up Gnabry. Unfortunately his shot from inside the scramble goes wide.
64’ — Substitution Tottenham: Ndombele makes way for Eriksen.
63’ — Tottenham continues to press, but Bayern has so far stood firm. Sissoko concludes the sequence with a volley blasted over the bar.
60’ — Goal Tottenham: Neuer guessed right, but he could not stop Kane’s shot, placed perfectly out of his reach.
59’ — Coman fouls Rose, kicking his foot, right on the edge of the penalty area. VAR reviews the scene and... penalty for Tottenham. Neuer prepares himself.
57’ — Thiago wipes out Aurier and (surprise) he just can’t believe it. Aurier and him exchange words...
55’ — GOAL BAYERN! Thank you, sir, may I have another! Tottenham’s winks makes a critical blunder, allowing Tolisso to strip him of the ball. Coco finds Gnabry making a run in the box and there it is: a brace in three minutes!
52’ — GOAL BAYERN! Gnabry have yourself a day! Gnabry starts a simple one-two with Pavard and dribbles clear into Tottenham’s penalty area. He beats Vertonghen and BAM! He fires a perfect shot low into the far corner.
Bayern is on one right now pic.twitter.com/xXt6AlWsbz— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) October 1, 2019
52’ — Coman goes down without contact after eluding Ali and Sissoko while keeping the ball in bounds. It looks as if he was hit in the privates... ouch.
Meanwhile, Thomas Müller and Javi Martinez are warming up on the sideline.
50’ — Ali collects an excellent long ball forward, but Neuer easily parries his rushed shot as Süle closes him down.
46’ — Ouch! Harry Kane receives a yellow card for elbowing Tolisso in the face.
45’ — Substitution Bayern. Thiago Alcantara replaces Alaba. Thiago moves into the midfield, Kimmich returns to right-back, and Pavard takes over at left-back.
kickoff of the 2nd half!
Halftime observations and impressions:
- Joshua Kimmich has been the only highlight of Bayern’s midfield. Corentin Tolisso just does not look like he is ready for this level of challenge. His error that resulted in Tottenham’s goal is only the tip of the iceberg.
- Manuel Neuer has been AWESOME. With the exception of a badly timed sweeper-keeper challenge on Kane — which Alaba saved — he has played brilliantly to compensate for a lackluster Süle and Boateng in front of him.
- Coutinho has not made much of an impact on the game, at least not as much as he should. The ball just hasn’t reached him very often, and he seems somewhat out of sync. Oddly enough, Pavard has the lion’s share of possess for Bayern. Something has to change.
45’ — GOAL BAYERN! Lewandowski gets his goal! He starts a crazy sequence in Tottenham’s penalty area with a pass inside. Tolisso goes down pleading for a foul, it isn’t given, he taps the ball away, as Gnabry is caught in the tussle, and Coman likewise is in the scrum. The ball then comes back to Lewandowski’s foot just outside the box in the penalty arc. He turns and shoots — goal in the right corner of the net!
This touch from Lewandowski to start his goal sequence pic.twitter.com/932RO21byI— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) October 1, 2019
Lewandowski is ridiculous pic.twitter.com/Xc9KSTQ4mp— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) October 1, 2019
44’ — Lewandowski somehow shoots the ball through Tottenham’s wall, but it flies just outside the lower left corner.
42’ — Coutinho goes down in a challenge with Ndombele, who sees the yellow card. Free kick Bayern.
41’ — Gnabry tests Lloris, but the keeper parries it back out. Then Niklas Süle improbably links up with Coman in a one-two, but he just cannot get his final pass to connect.
39’ — Alaba wins a corner for Bayern, but nothing comes of it. Bayern just cannot find break through Tottenham’s defense.
37’ — Ali goes down after an aerial challenge with Pavard on the edge of the box — no call. Then Tolisso is fouled by Kane. The home crowd is not amused.
32’ — Lewandowski breaks away into space, but has three defenders pursuing him. He eventually passes to Coman out right, but Coman can’t get past the defense.
Did I mention Kimmich’s goal is awesome? Here, see some badassery here:
29’ — Neuer flashes his brass balls (not literally, ahem) as he calmly fakes out Son right outside the net.
28’ — Spurs win a free kick in a dangerous spot. Kane squares up to take it — over the bar!
26’ — Another massive save by Neuer: Aurier sets up a totally unmarked Ndombele in Bayern’s box. He shoots, but Neuer deflects the ball out of bounds.
24’ — Yellow card for Gnabry, who gets tangled with Winks.
21’ — Coutinho tests Lloris. Bayern need to see more from the midfielder.
16’ — Another scare for Bayern not long after: Ali finds Kane making a run. Neuer rushes out to sweep, but Kane eludes his tackle and shoots. The ball is headed for the goal — but Alaba rushes into its path and clears the danger. Big save by the Austrian.
15’ — GOAL BAYERN! After Coman and Lewandowski are frustrated in Tottenham’s penalty area, the fiery midfielder takes matters into his own hand. Coolly collecting the ball outside the box, Kimmich takes Ndombele out of his way and fires a rocket into the far corner! New game.
12’ — Goal Tottenham! Tolisso makes a horrendous turnover just outside Bayern’s penalty area as Ali pressures him. Son collects the loose ball and fires past Neuer, who can only get a finger on the ball. Not enough to stop the goal.
11’ — So close to sublime: Alaba lobs a pass forward to Lewandowski, who controls it and turns for a volley, but the shot doesn’t come off cleanly.
10’ — Neuer stops shot yet again, preventing him from taking a tight shot at the near post.
9’ — A very scary moment for David Alaba! Aurier comes flying in as Alaba makes a tackle, but he lands on Alaba with his cleats. He tries to pull his feet up, but still comes crashing down on the left-back with his body. Fortunately for Alaba, he is not hurt.
6’ — Scare for Bayern now: Ndombele passes forward to catch Son just onside. Finding himself one on one with Son as Süle races back, Neuer makes himself big to blog the shot.
4’ — A free kick goes Bayern’s way after Harry Kane wrestles Gnabry to the ground.
2’ — Gnabry breaks toward goal after receiving a nice pass from Kingsley Coman. Dogged by two defenders, he still takes a strong shot, but Lloris parries it.
1’ — Tottenham makes the first attack. Dele Ali gives Süle a nudge as he lets ball go out of bounds.
Kickoff! The ball is rolling.
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Kimmich stays in midfield, but David Alaba comes back into the squad for the injured Lucas Hernandez.
Here it is — the big game you’ve been waiting for! Bayern Munich travel to London to take on last year’s Champions League runners up, Tottenham Hotspur, in a game that could decide the final standings in the group. With Spurs struggling a little to start the season, coach Niko Kovac will be expected to take all three points from this fixture, but Bayern’s troubles at left back could throw a wrench into the works.
With David Alaba having only just returned from injury and Lucas Hernandez struggling with knee issues, Kovac is short of options to play on the left side of defense. The obvious answer would be Alphonso Davies, who has played left back a few times for this season and played there in the Audi Cup against Spurs. However, given his relative inexperience, Kovac may opt for a safer but unorthodox strategy of playing Benjamin Pavard on the left and moving Joshua Kimmich back to right back.
Despite the questions hanging over the defense, Bayern Munich still have the tools to get the job done. Robert Lewandowski has been on fire this season (more so than he is usually) and supported by an attacking trio of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, and Philippe Coutinho, he’ll be looking to find the net and upstage his counterpart Harry Kane on the world stage. After all, these are the games that the Champions League was meant for.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
Time: 8 pm local time, 3 pm EST
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