The gang proves Jogi Löw wrong
Each of the three Bayern Munich players dropped by Jogi Löw put in an amazing performance against Wolfsburg, and credit to Niko Kovac for allowing them to do it. Thomas Müller was the standout, with one goal and one assist to his name. The raumdeuter had his second amazing game in a row, and it resulted in another blowout performance by Bayern. His impact on the team’s offense cannot be overstated — it’s a pity that he’s suspended for the Liverpool game.
Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, meanwhile, were solid at the back and made zero mistakes. The 2014 World Cup-winning center-back duo completely stifled Wolfsburg with a combination of great positioning and crisp passing.
Really, all these players are world class, and that’s what they’re all capable of in a proper system. Unfortunately, Germany will miss out on these performances in the future, because Joachim Löw does not intend to build such a system. What a shame.
Franck Ribery shone like a star he is
When Franck Ribery came on in the 55th minute, Bayern were 3-0 up on a hapless Wolfsburg and it seemed he would do nothing more than close out the game. How wrong we were.
Franck Ribery eviscerated the Wolves without mercy — it was glorious to watch. With Wolfsburg already reeling, the Frenchman piled on the pain, notching up three assists in a nine-minute period from minute 76 to minute 85. The man was like a demon on the pitch. At times, it was like watching the 2013 Ribery out there.
Hopefully, King Franck can use this game as a launching point to bigger and better things this season. He’s 35, and Hoeness already confirmed that it will be his last year at Bayern — so let’s hope he makes it count.
Niko Kovac’s system choked the life out of the opposition
Time to heap some praise on the coach. Niko Kovac has Bayern Munich looking like an absolute MACHINE. The team is so versatile in attack — possession-based buildup, ruthless counter-attacking, set-piece goals, this Kovac Bayern can do it all. The defense also looks solid, more so than it has at any point in the last five years.
Wolfsburg finished the game with 4 shots, 1 on target (which was a rather tame effort directed straight at Manuel Neuer), and just 39% possession. The center-backs and Javi Martinez were completely in sync with each other, and all the players worked together as a unit to defend and press.
The Wolves had just 0.16 xG (via understat.com). The only way they were going to score was if one of our defenders kicked the ball into the back of the net on purpose. Wolfsburg’s passing channels were closed down, their flanks were ineffective, and their striker was marked out of the game. When a team sets up like that, there’s basically nothing you can do as an opposition manager.
Hopefully, Bayern Munich can repeat a performance like this against Liverpool in midweek. Some key players are suspended, so it’s a long shot, but if the team plays like did against the Wolves then there’s no team that can stop them.
- James Rodriguez was as sharp as he’s ever been in a Bayern jersey. The Colombian’s passes were lethal for the entire game, and he had a huge hand in the goal Lewandowski scored to make it 2-0. Overall, he finished the game with 3 key passes (more than the entire Wolfsburg team) and a goal, and Kovac wisely took him off to save him for Liverpool.
- Renato Sanches has come such a long way. He was so focused on the buildup to the 4th goal (Muller’s) that even when Wolfsburg cut off his passing channels, he found another way. This is what we need from Renato going forward. Hopefully, he can keep it up despite all the time he’s spending on the bench.
- Serge Gnabry also had a wonderful game. The young German tightened up his decision-making just a little, and it did wonders for his output — 1 goal and 1 assist say it all. His vision and awareness to find Robert Lewandowski for the assist were exemplary, and that is exactly what is expected of a Bayern Munich winger.