Full Time: Bayern Munich hang onto their 1-0 lead against Hertha Berlin, but it may have come at the cost of Kingsley Coman. Here are some initial observations from the match:
- James Rodriguez was much better with Thiago on the pitch. His passing imporved immensely, and he found himself in space more often.
- It’s a little bit worrying how important Thiago is to this team, given how injury prone he is.
- Alphonso Davies should have been the one subbed on instead of Coman. This was a big gaffe by Kovac.
- Robert Lewandowski spent yet another game completely isolated. Hertha Berlin did well to neutralize him, and Kovac’s setup didn’t help matters.
- Jerome Boateng was a complete rock, and his passing was excellent. Definite MotM contender alongside Thiago.
- Bayern lost control of the possession in the dying minutes of the game, despite Berlin playing with 10 men. That’s a worrying sign, given that we were holding out for the win. All in all, it was a very poor performance.
90+4’— Hertha cross but Neuer comes out to claim it.
90+2’— Lewandowski’s pleas for a Hertha handball go unheard. Play goes the other way and Berlin is able to get a shot off. Neuer saves comfortably.
90+1’— James gets shown a yellow card for time wasting .
89’— Hertha get a cross into the box, but Davie Selke can’t redirect it on target.
88’— Frustration is beginning to set in for Hertha. Alaba gets fouled very late after his pass.
86’— Alaba’s free kick is saved right to Müller, but he can’t slot the rebound home.
84’— Lewandowski gets up from the ground, but Rekic immediately throws him back down to the ground. The ref immediately shows the red card.
82’— Lewandowski tries to get on the end of a Kimmich throw but is called for a foul.
75’— Thiago takes advantage of a defender’s slip and lets a shot fly from outside the box. It goes sailing over the bar.
73’— Lewandowski keeps the play alive with his dribbling, but Gnabry can’t get enough power behind his header off a cross.
71’— James tries to find Gnabry on the break, but he’s offside.
66’— Müller comes on to replace the injured Coman.
65’— Coman and Alaba link up, but Alaba’s shot goes over the bar. After the play, Coman is staying down and receiving medical attention for what seems like his left leg.
61’— Goal! After what seems like the 20th Bayern corner, Javi Martinez wins the header and puts Bayern ahead.
59’— Yet another Bayern corner drawn from an Alaba cross. Yet another corner cleared by Hertha.
58’— Substitution for Bayern. Coman comes on for Ribery.
56’— After a careless turnover, Davie Selke beats Neuer but Kimmich is able to clear off the goaline.
54’— Hertha is able to get a cross off, and Süle is able to clear despite a deflection.
50’— Gnabry uses a lovely piece of skill to draw another Bayern corner.
48’— Kimmich drives in a low cross looking for Lewandowski, but it’s just cleared by Hertha.
47’— James gets a lofted cross in for Kimmich, but it’s cleared out for a corner.
45’ — Bayern are back on the pitch and ready for this second half.
Halftime: Bayern are trying, but nothing’s working. Here are some observations from the half:
- James Rodriguez has been very poor, he’s had maybe two good passes in this half. Bayern’s lack of creativity can be traced back to him.
- Bayern’s midfield has been a disaster. Is this what happens when Thiago is benched?
- Serge Gnabry has been very underwhelming on the right, as has Franck Ribery on the opposite side. Alphonso Davies should get a shot in this game.
- Jerome Boateng meanwhile has been a rock. His stop on Kalou was game-changing.
44’— A one-two with Lewandowski allows Alaba to win a corner. The cross is claimed by the Hertha keeper.
39’— Hertha register a shot, but it’s way over the bar.
37’— Lewandowski turns brilliantly and his pass to find Ribery in the box is just barely intercepted.
36’— When trying to win a header, Lewandowski takes a blow to the back of the head. He looks to be alright, though.
33’— Ribery finds himself at the near post of Hertha’s goal, but is unable to finish. The flag’s up anyway.
30’— With a chance to counter quickly, Alaba finds Ribery streaking but he is offside.
28’— Solomon Kalou gets past Bayern’s defense but his cross is cleared away by Boateng.
26’—Hertha put together a good attack, but it ends with a handball to give Bayern a break.
25’— Lewandowski turns away from a defender, but is unable to complete the attack without being tackled.
22’— Ribery drives to the endline and draws a corner. Javi Martinez wins the header but it’s too high.
21’— Kimmich finds Gnabry who gets shot off but right at the keeper.
16’— James splits two defenders with a gorgeous pass to find Ribery, but his cross is beyond Lewandowski.
14’— Robert Lewandowski plays a beautiful ball to switch the play, and with advantage played Joshua Kimmich lets a shot fly just wide of the post.
11’— Davie Selke finds his way past the Bayern defense and puts it past Neuer, but is offside as the flag comes up.
6’— David Alaba drives forward to draw a corner. The cross is cleared for another Bayern corner on the other side.
2’— After Joshua Kimmich is forced back defensively, he commits a foul. Free kick Hertha.
1’— Kickoff! We’re underway!
One hour until kickoff: Lineups are out!
Die Aufstellung gegen die Hertha! #FCBBSC #packmas pic.twitter.com/Pe3zyYmkbs— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) February 23, 2019
Now that the excitement of midweek Champions League action has passed, Bayern Munich can return to the weekly grind of the Bundesliga. “Grind” is certainly the best descriptor for the upcoming game, as Hertha Berlin are sure to come to Munich and par the bus. Most of Bayern’s starting XI will be tired from their midweek exertions. How will Niko Kovac tackle this?
Corentin Tolisso and Arjen Robben remain sidelined with injury, while Mats Hummels has a cold. That means that Jerome Boateng is set to return to the starting lineup, in a backline consisting of David Alaba, Niklas Sule, and Joshua Kimmich.
In attack, Kingsley Coman or Serge Gnabry deserve some rest, and one will likely be benched for Franck Ribery. However, there’s an outside chance that Kovac might rest both and opt to start Alphonso Davies for the first time.
Thomas Muller is expected to make a return to the starting lineup in the place of James Rodriguez. The Colombian has played a ton of minutes recently, and could really use the rest. It’ll be tough for the team to have to deal with fatigue against a difficult opponent like Berlin, but with top spot up for grabs, there’s a job that must be done.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST
TV/streaming: Fubo.tv, Find Your Country
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