Today’s match against Hertha Berlin was not the prettiest we have seen from Bayern Munich, but at this point in the season a win is a win. A headed-goal from Javi Martinez was enough to pull Bayern level with Borussia Dortmund on points (for the time being). So who stood out in this Arbeitssieg today? Our match awards:
Jersey swap: Niklas Stark
Stark was a strong defensive presence throughout the match for Berlin. He often stepped in and stifled Bayern’s attacks before any harm could come to Hertha. Stark was solid in Hertha’s buildup, completed 85% of his passes (46/54), while making the most on the team. Stark also played a key role on keeping Bayern off the score sheet for so long, making four four tackles. He gave his team a chance to win by keeping the score at 1-0.
Tip of the cap: Joshua Kimmich
Today was not the best performance we have seen from the young right-back. Although Kimmich made mistakes, he was still a strong presence on the right-side for most of the game. As if reflecting that mixed performance, Kimmich’s highlight of the match came after he turned the ball over in the midfield. He was able to track back and clear the ball off the line to keep the match scoreless.
Golf Clap: James Rodriguez
Despite a frustrating and ineffective first half, James picked up an assist on the match’s only goal. His corners were dangerous for much of the night — 5 corners and 5 (!) key passes — but Berlin’s defense stayed strong for much of the game. Finally in the 62nd James connected with Javi Martinez’ head and the ball ended in the back of the net. James completed 86% of his overall passes, performing much better after Thiago Alcantara relieved Leon Goretzka. It is noteworthy, however, that James did not record a single shot.
Standing Ovation: David Alaba
Much like Kimmich, Alaba was all over the field today. He had some great interchanging play with Franck Ribery up and down the left side of the field. In the first half, he was able to get to the byline and attempt dangerous crosses into the box, but nothing seemed to go his way after he struck the ball. Alaba completed the more passes than anyone on either side with a respectable 88% success rate. There were also moments in which Alaba rushed back to intervene on defense. All in all, a great day’s work from Alaba.
Meister of the Match: Javi Martinez
Javi was once again a maestro in the midfield. He not only controlled the middle of the pitch for most of the game, but he also controlled the air, winning four aerials. His biggest aerial effort, of course, was his game-winning goal off of James’ corner in the 62nd minute. The goal ended a thirteen-month league drought for the Spaniard, and it was also Javi’s first goal in the Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena in exactly six years. The goal was just enough to propel Bayern to a win to keep pace with Dortmund in the race for the Bundesliga title.