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Olympiacos 2:3 Bayern Munich: initial observations and thoughts on a tough match and nail-biting finish!

That’s it for tonight folks. Soon match observations and match awards will be published, so stay tuned!

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Fussball CHL 15/16 Gruppenphase: Olympiakos Piraeus - FC Bayern Muenchen Photo by Pressefoto Ulmer\ullstein bild via Getty Images

Initial observations and reactions

  • Bayern can consider themselves lucky tonight. All three goals came from individual talent and not from team effort. Both Lewandowski’s goals came from a deflection and Tolisso produced magical goal. So Bayern has to work on its offensive interplay.
  • What to say about Bayern’s defense? Yikes. Granted, it would have perhaps been unrealistic to expect a masterclass after their most important defender, Niklas Süle, was lost to an ACL injury, but Bayern should be better than this. Lucas Hernandez was beaten on an aerial challenge, which allowed Olympiacos to score their first goal. Thiago deflecting their second goal past Neuer with his arm is just baffling.
  • This Bayern team looked completely unnerved for much of the match. It’s understandable. The injuries have been hard and fast lately, and this team lacks stability. It will be a difficult task to find some momentum and cohesion. That’s what Niko Kovac has to accomplish now.
  • And what about Thomas Müller? He played poorly on the rigth wing, which is not surprising, but he came into the came much more effectively when Kovac switched things up in his favor: a 4-4-2 with Coutinho on the left and Gnabry on the right allowed Müller to play in the center with Lewandowski. Both he and Coutinho roamed freely in the middle, and that drifting was instrumental in the buildup to Tolisso’s goal.

Full-time! Bayern won 3:2 in a tough match in Pireus.

94’ — Corner for Olympiakos. Their last attack.

92’ — Coutinho was extremely selfish twice! He tried to score from the center as Bayern had majority of players in Olympiakos’s box.

91’ — There will be four minutes of added time!

90’ — Boateng hands the ball to Olympiakos, but luckily, nothing came from the lost ball.

88’ — Shot from Olympiakos, but Neuer managed to save it somehow...

86’ — Substitution: Ivan Perišić in for Thomas Muller.

84’ — Bayern wasted two chances. Gnabry tried to dribble and lost the ball.

80’ — Goal for Olympiakos! Shot from distance took a deflection from Thiago and went behind Neuer’s back,

79’ — Nice try from Muller with a volley, but the shot went just above the crossbar.

76’ — GOAL! Tolisso scores amazing goal from distance!

74’ — Yellow card for Semedo after ruining counter attack!

72’ — Yellow card for Manuel Neuer after he ran out of the box and complained to the assistant referee.

70’ — Thomas Muller collided with the keeper and landed on his face! Luckily, both of them came out alive from the duel.

69’ — Substitution for Olympiakos. Maximilliano Lovera comes in for Andreas Bouchalakis.

66’ — Lewandowski’s goal surely disrupted Olympiakos’s tactics, but they are still trying to score a goal and now Bayern waits for their chances.

62’ — GOAL! Lewandowski scores again after a mess in the box!

59’ — Hernandez injured! Jerome Boateng came in for the injured Frenchman.

57’ — Olympiakos are still playing aggressively and made a few more chances.

55’ — Lucas Hernandez stayed on the ground after a collision with Olympiakos player. He is currently being treated on the sidelines.

53’ — Another corner for Olympiakos, but Neuer caught the ball. Bayern tried to make a counter attack, but lost the ball.

52’ — Bayern look stunned by Olympiakos’s pressure and can’t seem to string more than five passes together

50’ — Yellow card for Thiago Alcantara for a reckless challenge.

49’ — Olympiakos looking dangerous at the moment. Already had three decent chances in just four minutes!

47’ — Olympiakos had a dangerous chance inside Bayern’s box after a free kick, but luckily the shot was of target.

Second half begins! Niko Kovač made a half time change and switched Javi Martinez with Corentin Tolisso. Let’s see what the second half will look like!

Halftime observations

  • Of course Bayern would concede on Olympiacos’ only goal on target. Tismikas delivered a nice cross inside to El Arabi. Neuer may have blocked the ball, but not before it traveled a centimeter or so across the line.
  • Can’t stop Robert Lewandowski! The Pole is in incredible form. He wasted no time in converting a rebound off of a shot by Thomas Müller.
  • Kovac changed formations about 35 minutes into the first half, shifting from a 4-2-3-1 with Müller on the right wing and Gnabry on the left, to a 4-4-2, with Coutinho on the left, Gnabry on the right, and Müller inside to shadow Lewandowski. He is trying to get Müller more into this game.
  • The 4-4-2 may also help Bayern defend in a somewhat more disciplined fashion. Bayern can’t afford, apparently, to risk Olympiacos winning the ball in space on the counter.

Half-time! — A half-time break is upon us. We are looking forward for more goals from Bayern!

46’ — One minute of added time as Bayern are still trying to score before the half-time whistle.

45’ — Muller took a shot from distance, but it went wide.

42’ — Bayern’s attacking players are making pressure on Olympiakos’s defense and Lewa managed to steal the ball. Lovely to see.

39’ — Alaba crossed the ball and Coutinho somehow missed if from five meters!

37’ — Bayern have the momentum now and are giving their all to capitalize before the first half comes to an end.

34’ — GOAL! Lewandowski scores after a brilliant shot by Muller was saved by the keeper

33’ — Things aren’t looking that good for Bayern. Olympiakos are giving lots of pressure to Bayern’s back-line!

31’ — Bayern were lucky! After a cross, Hernandez tried to clear the ball and almost scored an own-goal.

30’ — Thiago with a brilliant pass to Kimmich who crossed it, but the defenders cleared it out.

28’ — Thiago won the ball and passed it to Gnabry who tried his luck from the distance, but unfortunately, the shot was blocked.

26’ — No change in Bayern’s playing style. Lots of possession for the Bavarians and are facing a well organized defense.

23’ — GOAL! Olympiakos score... Manuel Neuer almost saved it, but the ball was over the line. You can see it here:

22’ — Serge Gnabry was in a very good position, but unfortunately for him, Ruben Semedo took the ball.

18’ — Olympiakos attacking on the right flank, but the shot ended in the stands.

16’ — Bayern is looking better and better. A goal may come soon.

14’ — A well organized attack, but Coutinho shot directly at the keeper.

11’ — Dangerous cross from Podence, but Manuel Neuer was up to his task!

10’ — Both teams are looking good. Olympiakos definitely didn’t park the bus and are lurking for Bayern to make a mistake.

7’ — Javi Martinez was left on the ground after an aerial duel, but he is already on his feet.

4’ — Olympiakos found themselves in Bayern’s box, but Pavard cleared the ball well.

2’ — Olympiakos having the ball in their feet, but Bayern already found themselves in front of Olympiakos’s goal a couple of times.

Kickoff! — The ball is rolling in Piraeus!

Wait, what formation?

UEFA is having a hard time digesting Niko Kovac’s starting lineup. After initially putting Javi Martinez at center-back and David Alaba as a midfielder, they have reissued their presumptive lineup handout, this time with Javi and Alaba where they belong. Müller is expected out right and Gnabry out left.

Lineup: Müllertime!

Thomas Müller is back in the starting lineup, breaking a start-less run of six matches. Today he will line up together with Coutinho, presumably on the right wing with Serge Gnabry on the left. Thiago and Javi Martinez make up the midfield, with a back four of David Alaba, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, and Joshua Kimmich. Lewandowski, of course, starts up front, and Neuer in goal.

Bayern Munich wants to take the next step toward the knockout rounds of the Champions League with a third consecutive victory. They will take on Olympiacos FC in the intense atmosphere of the Karaiskakis Stadium, where they last met in 2015, when Thomas Müller scored a brace and Mario Götze added another in a 3-0 win.

How times have changed! Götze, of course, is long gone and the question of the hour is whether Müller might start this match or spend his seventh consecutive game on the bench. Niko Kovac has remained committed to giving Philippe Coutinho maximum playing time since his arrival, and it is possible he will give the Brazilian the start yet again despite pleas for Müller.

As for Olympiacos, they dropped their opener to Red Star but came away with a point from a clash with a demoralized Tottenham Hotspur. Even domestically, they are in serious trouble, not having won any of their past ten matches: two draws and eight losses. Key man Yassine Benzia is suspended, to make matters worse.

Robert Lewandowski will undoubtedly attempt to raise his goal tally still further. He has an incredible 16 goals in 12 games so far. While he’s a lock to start, Kovac may vary his supporting case. Müller, of course, might give Coutinho a much-needed break, while Ivan Perisic is a good candidate to start as well, more probably for Kingsley Coman than Serge Gnabry.

The big question for Bayern is how to shuffle the defense after the loss of Niklas Süle to an ACL and meniscus tear. Some combination of David Alaba, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, or Jerome Boateng should feature, and now would seem as good a time as any to put Joshua Kimmich at right-back to allow Javi Martinez more match time at CDM. We shall see.

It’s Bayern time.

Match Info

Location: Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece

Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST

TV/streaming:, Find Your Country

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