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Four observations on Bayern’s 3:1 win over Tottenham

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Bayern Munich are through the group stage and off to the next round. Here are some observations!

Bayern Muenchen v Tottenham Hotspur: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Lukasz Laskowski/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Manuel Neuer at his peak (again)

This is one thing that people have been talking about for some time now, and I think it is true. For the better part of this season, Neuer has done his job extraordinarily. He’s been a strong presence throughout the season. Nothing different was seen from him tonight. He was often playing as sweeper-keeper and was particularly comfortable doing so. At one point, he was almost over the halfway line into the opponent’s half. After he passed the ball, it even lead to a good chance. All in all, it was good to see him doing things that he is good at, and to do them with ease.

Defense still showing signs of fragility

Defense tonight was solid, which we can thank Hansi Flick. But, at times, Bayern Munich’s defense left too much space for Tottenham’s attackers. The biggest problem was the speed of some of Tottenham’s players, who gave Bayern’s center-backs (Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez) some problems. Luckily for them, they had Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies to support them. Both outside-backs were outstanding today, especially Davies. Yes, Bayern’s defense could do better, but considering that two starters — Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez (and lately David Alaba) aren’t in the starting line-up, I think head coach Hansi Flick managed to do a great job with what was given.

Bayern Munich can survive without Robert Lewandowski

It is a pity that Lewandowski didn’t get a chance to play tonight, but it also had a few advantages. Most importantly, now we know that we aren’t 100% relying on Lewandowski. Bayern’s attack was very good tonight. They created lots of chances, and Tottenham is lucky they conceded only three goals. Efficiency is also a problem with the Bavarians recently, but hopefully the negative trend will turn around. Nevertheless, the boys did an amazing job and created many chances — 24 shots, and 11 of them were on target. We also have to include two times that Bayern hit the post.

A strong midfield for a strong performance

At times, Bayern’s midfield was out of phase and it could be immediately felt. At those moments, Tottenham’s players would create dangerous attacks and chances with ease. But as soon as Bayern’s midfield started playing properly, Tottenham’s attacks and possession died out. So a good thing is that Bayern has the capacity to dominate Tottenham’s high press, but the midfield also has to be fully concentrated. For me, that was obvious for Thiago. When he was focused and tried to play simple, it really showed on Bayern’s performance. All in all, a good outing — just small tweaks are needed.