As the winter break approaches its nadir, we here at Bavarian Football Works continue our series on player ratings from the Hinrunde. This time, it’s the midfielders who are in the spotlight, and this rating isn’t kind to many of them.
In truth, Bayern Munich’s midfield has been a bit of a disaster this season. There’s been injuries (as always) but both Niko Kovac and Hansi Flick were guilty of far too much chopping and changing. While the defenders didn’t cover themselves in glory, many times it was the midfield who was at fault for the goals we conceded.
Without further ado, here are the midfield player ratings:
Joshua Kimmich: B-
Minutes played: 2,239
Goals scored: 2
It’s hard to grade Joshua Kimmich, because most of the time played like a human traffic cone, but sometimes he resembled Der Fussballgott reborn. Kimmich is great when paired with Leon Goretzka and kept on a tight leash by a structured system, which is something Niko Kovac failed to give him, so he was poor.
Once Hansi Flick took over, Josh immediately picked up — the high-octane pressing style of football suits him rather well. He also soldiered on through visible fatigue and was the only mid available to the end of the Hinrunde. For his availability, determination, and occasional moments of brilliance he brings, a B- is appropriate.
Thiago Alcantara: B-
Minutes played: 1,642
Goals scored: 0
Thiago’s form has seriously collapsed this season, and it’s one of the bigger reasons for Bayern’s midfield downturn. Niko Kovac may have been asking his Spanish maestro to do a little too much at times, but Thiago’s been guilty of some dangerous misplays this season — passing balls to the feet of opposition attackers, losing possession at inopportune times, lax defending — that sort of thing.
For someone who deserved an A+ last year, a B- grade is a poor showing from Thiago and he will have to improve it in the second half of the season.
Leon Goretzka: C+
Minutes played: 714
Goals scored: 2
Goretzka’s start to the season was derailed by injuries, but his return game against Bochum showed that the missed time had affected him badly. While he had a few good games in alongside Joshua Kimmich during Flick’s honeymoon period, bad habits started to creep in and he began pushing far too high up the pitch — disturbing Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski’s positioning while leaving Bayern vulnerable to counterattacks.
Goretzka needs more discipline, and that’s up to his coach to sort out.
Corentin Tolisso: C
Minutes played: 1,004
Goals scored: 3
Corentin Tolisso had an identical season to Goretzka, except slightly worse because he didn’t really show any kind of bounce during Hansi’s honeymoon period. 3 goals and 3 assists is a good return offensively, but the Frenchman must do more to justify his inclusion in the XI going forward.
Michael Cuisance: N/R
Minutes played: 30
Goals scored: 0
Michael Cuisance barely played this season and probably regrets his move away from Gladbach. No rating for him.
Note: Philippe Coutinho will be graded along with the attackers. Stay tuned for that post, scheduled for tomorrow.
Overall midfield rating: D+
The midfield was better than the defense, but it wasn’t great by any means. Javi Martinez’ move to center back really hurt the team’s ability to protect the defense, and most of the players being injured didn’t help matters. There is some hope — Bayern have great midfielders, and a coach capable of organizing them into an effective pressing unit. However, there simply needs to be more polish from everyone involved, if the Bavarians are to do better in the Ruckrunde.