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Bayern Munich 1-0 Werder Bremen: Initial reactions and observations

A freak goal from Nik Sule downed Bremen (somehow).

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Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Full-Time: That’s it. The match ends with a 1-0 Bayern win, no thanks to Jiří Pavlenka. Here are some initial observations to keep you until we got some post-game articles:

  • Serge Gnabry was playing like a man possessed. If not for Pavlenka, he could’ve have taken care of Bremen by himself.
  • Speaking of which, Pavlenka single-handedly prevented the game from becoming a massacre. His saves and interventions were crucial in preventing half a dozen goals.
  • Niko Kovac continues to make strange substitutions. Subbing Thomas Muller for Franck Ribery was a very strange decision and could’ve cost Bayern the game if not for Niklas Sule.
  • Bayern’s left side was easily subdued on the night. David Alaba and Kingsley Coman did not have good outings.
  • Bayern’s finishing was shocking, it was like they didn’t want to score at times. This game should’ve been a one-sided affair (and it kinda was), but the Bavarians should’ve killed Bremen off long before the red even happened.
  • The game does not bode well for the midweek Pokal semifinal. Kovac and his men will have to improve by A LOT if they don’t want an embarrassing exit from the tournament.

92’: Goretzka finds himself one-on-one with Pavlenka. He chips him, but it’s just too high.

90’: The fourth ref has indicated there will be three minutes of added time.

87’: Third and final change for Bayern. Renato Sanches is coming on for Gnabry.

85’: Goretzka had a shooting opportunity, but he was unselfish and wasted a pass. Lewandowski wins it back but his left-footed shot is too high.

81’: Bremen is bringing on Claudio Pizarro. Will he be able to even the script against his old team?

79’: Lewandowski tries his hand at a long shot, but his shot is just too high. It hits the bar.

75’: Goal! Niklas Süle takes a shot from distance. It takes a deflection, and Pavlenka couldn’t do anything about it.

72’: Kimmich’s corner goes in and a goal line clearance is made by a Bremen defender.

71’: Franck Ribery comes on to replace Thomas Muller.

70’: Jerome Boateng finds himself on the left and puts a cross in. It finds Muller but his header is disappointingly wide.

69’: Alaba comes onto his right foot and shoots. Pavlenka forces it wide and denies Muller a rebound.

68’: Alaba once again finds himself in space and lets a shot fly. This one was closer than his last effort, but still not on target.

63’: Bayern get a cross in, but Pavlenka barely reaches it. Lewandowski was waiting for the easy goal.

62’: Bremen is stacking all remaining 10 men behind the ball, clogging the middle. Expect increased barrages of attack down the flanks, looking for crosses.

59’: Leon Goretzka comes on to replace Javi Martinez.

59’: Lewandowski can’t get his free kick over the wall. He follows up on the deflection, but it’s wide.

58’: Red Card! Velkjovic gets his second yellow and is sent off!

57’: Great combination play puts Lewandowski in a great position, but Pavlenka makes yet another amazing save.

54’: Gnabry sprints forward and smashes a shot to the near post. Once again, Pavlenka makes an incredible save.

51’: The ball bounces around the box and finally finds Gnabry, whose shot is saved.

49’: Kimmich finds Lewandowski, but his shot is saved by Pavlenka.

45’: The second half is underway! Here we go!

Halftime Observations and Analysis

  • Serge Gnabry should have definitely had a goal, that save by Pavlenka was incredible.
  • Thiago has been off today, his passes haven’t been as crisp and he’s been guilty of giving the ball away cheaply — something that needs to improve in the second half.
  • Joshua Kimmich was limping at the end of the first half — hope he’s okay.
  • Bayern need to be better with the crosses. Coman and Gnabry’s efforts just haven’t found their targets. The commentator said only 2 out of 9 Bayern crosses found their target, which is a shocking statistic.
  • Robert Lewandowski has been very quiet — Bremen’s press has completely disrupted Bayern’s rhythm thus far. Niko Kovac will need to think of a solution over the HT break.

44’: Gnabry goes the length of the field and lets a shot fly. It’s powerful, but way off.

43’: Kimmich pulls up a little lame after a hard challenge. That’s something to keep an eye on.

41’: After staring it up and down for an eternity, Alaba takes a free kick but he just hits the wall.

39’: A Bayern corner turns into a Bremen counter. The switch is well diagnosed by Kimmich to take any danger out of it.

35’: After a great run, Coman flat-out runs into a Bremen defender. No foul there.

31’: Serge Gnabry goes full steam to the endline and gets a cross in. It flashes across goal, but is cleared for a corner.

29’: Bremen play a ball through Bayern’s backline, but Ulreich is equal to the task as he claims it.

28’: Just as Robert Lewandowski is trying to turn he gets taken out from behind. Yellow card, first of the day.

26’: Thiago lofts a beautiful ball over the back line to Gnabry. His shot is just narrowly saved.

23’: A cross from Coman finds Muller, who heads it back across goal but the keeper claims it.

22’: Thomas Muller finds himself in space outside the box and takes a shot. It’s right at the Bremen keeper.

17’: Bayern is looking uncharacteristically sloppy with too many misplaced passes.

15’: Thomas Muller wins a free kick for Bayern in a dangerous position.

11’: Bayern start a counter, but Thiago puts his pass too far ahead of Coman’s run.

8’: A Thiago corner finds Javi Martinez, but his header can’t find the target.

6’: Bremen get the first shot of the game of a cross, but it’s deflected.

5’: Before Bremen can break on the counter, Boateng fouls at midfield.

3’: Bayern have struggled to maintain any possession, but a foul bails them out.

KICKOFF: The ref’s blown his whistle, it’s time to get started!

One hour until kickoff: Lineups are out! Guess who predicted this one?

Bayern Munich have a tough ask over the next few days — facing Werder Bremen twice in two must-win games. This Bremen team aren’t the typical low-tier team that we’ve become accustomed to over the years, they’re just one point from a Europa League spot. Niko Kovac and his men will have to fight hard to get a win here.

Arjen Robben, Mats Hummels, and James Rodriguez are all confirmed to be out for the game, as well as team captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. That leaves the coach with very few options in terms of a starting XI — he’s likely to oft for a front four led by Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry on the flank.

Javi Martinez will most likely pair Thiago Alcantara in midfield in an attempt to keep Bremen’s attack at bay, while Jerome Boateng will have to slot into the center back position left vacant by the injury to Hummels. Aside from that (and Sven Ulreich coming in to replace Neuer), the defense should be unchanged from last week’s game.

It’s Bayern time.

Match Info

Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST

TV/streaming:, Find Your Country

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