Bayern Munich and Niko Kovac continue to enjoy a very successful 2019. Tactically, Bayern was superb. A great first-half performance was followed up by a fantastic defensive effort and clinical offensive performance in the second half.
Bayern is now on level points with Borussia Dortmund. What seemed very unlikely after their loss to Bayern Leverkusen loss at Bay Arena, now seems very plausible: Bayern has every chance in the world to win the league.
After the fantastic performance at Borussia Park, all the Bayern players on the pitch deserve a nod, but who stood out most today? Here are our match awards:
Jersey swap: Yann Sommer
If it wasn’t for Switzerland’s number one, this game could have ended up even worse for the home side than it did. Yes, he let in five goals but none of them should be put on his shoulders. He denied Robert Lewandowski from scoring another two goals and made great saves throughout the whole game. Today’s five goals should be put on the shaky Gladbach defense, who should be happy Sommer stopped Bayern from scoring more than five goals.
Tip of the cap: Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski missed two sitters, yet scored two goals. He is the only Bayern player who can change games by himself. Therefore, the standard of performance expected from Lewandowski is higher than any other Bayern player. Today, Lewandowski did not disappoint, yet, against better teams and against Liverpool especially, one would wish he were more clinical in front of goal.
Golf clap: Serge Gnabry
The whole offense deserves a nod, but Gnabry deserves a golf clap mainly because he is the least established football player out of the offensive players in today’s starting eleven.
It was a good game from a player who has started only 14 games in the league this season. Gnabry looked more clinical today in his decision-making, a quality that he needs to continue to work on. He made a great pass to Thomas Muller for Bayern’s second goal and a cool finish of his own increases Gnabry’s tally for the season to six goals and two assists. Gnabry still has to continue to grow as a footballer player in order to become cemented in Bayern’s starting eleven, yet this game showed he has the talent to become a regular Bayern starter.
Standing Ovation: Thomas Muller
Oh Thomas, you will be missed against Liverpool. The diligent and creative Bavarian was fantastic today. His offensive runs allowed his teammates, especially Lewandowski, to find space, again reflecting just how intelligent of a footballer Muller is. Muller was rewarded with a fine goal of his own this game, as well. Muller’s link-up play with Lewandowski will be extremely missed against Liverpool, as there is no-one in the Bayern team that connects with the Polish striker as well as him.
Meister of the Match: Javi Martinez
Yet another fantastic performance from a player that has gotten (undeservedly in my opinion) his fair deal of criticism from fans this season. Javi’s games against Liverpool, Hertha and today against Die Fohlen prove how important he is for the Bayern defense. He is a classical number “6”, who does his defensive job quietly yet effectively. Gladbach had nothing in the second half, and that was much due to Martinez’s ability to stop the creativeness of Thorgan Hazard. He was also rewarded today with scoring Bayern’s first goal, his second corner goal in two games. Never change Javi!
Honorable mentions to:
James Rodriguez: Who had a very good game.
Rafinha: After his clash with Kovac, Rafinha repaid Kovac’s decision to let him start the game with a very good performance.
Thiago Alcantara: The Maestro. There is no one with a better touch and an eye for play in the Bundesliga than the Spaniard.
Niko Kovac: Kovac and Bayern has found their stride and identity. Kovac’s 2019 has started brilliantly.