Bayern Munich traveled to Mönchengladbach after yet another tumultuous Hinrunde. It’s been a season that has seen three losses in the league, an almost catastrophic exit in the DFB-Pokal, and “déjà-vu” signs that the team does not entirely back their coach. Niko Kovac, who was criticized throughout his entire reign in Munich, decided to resign after Bayern’s 5-1 loss away to Eintracht Frankfurt. His replacement, Hansi Flick, started his Bayern career great. After four wins and a 16-0 in goal difference, Leverkusen ended the honeymoon by beating the Rekordmeister, rather undeservedly, at the Allianz Arena.
Mönchengladbach has so far been on cloud nine. Under Marco Rose, the team has played fantastic football while also getting the results. Sitting on top of the league, both Gladbach supporters and players must be pinching themselves, hoping that they will never wake up.
Bayern Munich away versus surprise package Borussia Mönchengladbach: the original “Klassiker.” It had all the premise to become a great game and it didn’t disappoint. Bayern arrived at the Borussia Park hoping to restore the normal order in the Bundesliga by getting themselves back into the title race. 24-year-old Algerian Amir Selmane Ramy Bensebaini did not want to wake up. Here are BFW’s match awards from the three-goal thriller at Borussia Park.
Jersey Swap: Yann Sommer, Ramy Bensebaini and Marcus Thuram
It is very common to give the Jersey swap to the opposition goalkeeper, yet it would have felt impulsive not to include Yann Sommer. Not only did his fingertip create the nicest save of the 2019/20 season, but the Swiss goalkeeper was the reason why Bayern was not winning by three or four goals within the first fifty minutes.
It also would feel strange not to give Ramy Bensebaini an award. The left-back kept his cool on two occasions, which gave Gladbach the three points. He struggled the first 45 minutes with Coman’s pace and dribbling ability but improved defensively in the second half. Offensively, his calmness made him the unlikely match-winner.
Lastly, Marcus Thuram has been the surprise package this season. Even when Gladbach had next to nothing going forward in the first half, it always felt as if Thuram was only a pass away from breaking through on goal. In the last 30 minutes of the game, his constant pressuring was key to Gladbach’s comeback. Always dangerous, the Thierry Henry-esque player was at last rewarded when Javi Martinez clumsily tackled him in the penalty area in the dying minutes of the game.
Tip of the cap: Ivan Perisic for his 180-degree angle finish
Ivan Perisic was decent today when he was abruptly put in the game in the 20th minute. Perisic was creative in the final third and should have scored earlier than he did. It wasn’t the first time Perisic scored outside the penalty area, yet this finish was incredible. Thomas Müller did well to find the Croatian winger, although the pass could have been better. Perisic was forced to take down the ball with his back towards goal and had the audacity to make a 180-degree turn and strike. It was a finish that Gerd Müller would have been proud of.
Golf clap: Jerome Boateng
Considering that it looked like Boateng’s days in Munich were numbered for two summers in a row now, the Berlin-native’s performances have been solid this season. Today, he was forced off after he hurt himself making a sliding tackle, but he had a solid game. He often stopped ‘Gladbach’s attempts to strike quickly on the counter in the first half, and he paired well with the faster David Alaba.
One wonders whether Boateng would have made the tackle that Javi Martinez did at the end of the game.
Standing ovation: Thomas Müller
Starting the game at the right-wing role, Muller was put in more familiar territory when Corentin Tolisso was forced off injured. Müller played a good game in the first 60 minutes, but his legs looked tired in the last 30. Nevertheless, Muller was unlucky not to get on the score sheet today. Denied multiple times by Yann Sommer, Muller played well behind Robert Lewandowski and was a constant threat to ‘Gladbach’s back-four. His constant running, ability to take chances, and vision of the game were an important part of Bayern’s excellent first half.
Meister of the match: Alphonso Davies
Surely the best thing to come out of Bayern’s center-back injury crisis is what the 19-year-old Alphonso Davies brings to the left-back position. His defensive attributes have improved dramatically since his first minutes in the foreign position, and his physicality is extremely impressive for someone who turned 19 a little more than a month ago.
A diamond in the rough, Davies still needs to improve his game, but it is extremely pleasant to see him handle an unfamiliar position against the league leaders with calm, maturity, and skill.