Jersey Swap: Jiří Pavlenka
Werder Bremen boss Florian Kohfeldt deserves quite a bit of credit for setting his team up to play an aggressive, fearless style of football. His team pressed Bayern Munich all over the pitch and bottled up a recently potent attack. With that being said, this aggressive style and a second half red card saw Bayern get their fair share of chances.
When the Bavarians ramped up the pressure, Jiri Pavlenka answered the call. The Czech goalkeeper was a wall throughout the match making six saves, many of which were from point blank range. He kept his team in the match late and also demonstrated a skill for distribution before Bremen were forced to lump the ball forward.
Honorable Mention: Serge Gnabry
The dynamic German attacker featured on the right and centrally this afternoon, putting in another solid performance. Although Gnabry was unable to find the back of the net, his ability to find space and take defenders on helped to spark a stagnant Bavarian attack.
Tip of the Cap: David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich
Both of Die Roten’s fullbacks put in incredibly active shifts getting forward and playing dangerous balls into the box. Alaba was frustrated going forward on a couple of occasions, but his efforts helped to finally free up space for Kingsley Coman, and later Franck Ribery. He contributed a key pass and a couple efforts on goal. Kimmich played in a total of six (!!) key passes, six accurate crosses and seven accurate long balls in addition to three tackles and an interception. It is easy to take these two players for granted, but they are vital to what Niko Kovac’s side wants to do on both ends of the pitch. On another day, each would have bagged an assist.
Golf Clap: Robert Lewandowski
Many Bayern fans will focus on the Polish hitman’s sub-par finishing, but he continues to be an integral piece of the attack. Over the last month of play, Lewandowski has grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck getting much more involved in the build-up and on the break. Three dribbles and a shot off the cross bar don’t even begin to represent his true impact. Let’s hope he boosts his efficiency here soon because he is getting into goal-scoring positions and creating space for his fellow attackers at an impressive rate.
Standing Ovation: Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara is the best midfielder in the world. He has the defensive awareness and tenacity of a midfield destroyer and the attacking qualities of an elite number 10. Two tackles and two clearances, in addition to five key passes, five accurate long balls, a dribble and a passing accuracy 95% tell you all you need to know about his performance. The Spaniard dictated tempo from deep finding attackers in dangerous positions and quelling Bremen counter-attacks. An assist on the match’s only goal capped off a dynamic performance by Bayern’s underrated Regista.
Meister of the Match: Niklas Sule
Niklas Sule to the rescue! His deflected effort secured all three point for the Bavarian giants, in what might prove to be one of the most important moments of the season. The German giant’s offensive contribution was not all that he brought to the game. The former Hoffenheim defender continues to hone his ability on the ball. His passing has quietly improved to the level fitting of a world class defender. A 96% pass accuracy and 12 accurate long balls shed light on the efficiency of his performance. His ability to split lines, coupled with his rock solid defending have made him an integral part of Bayern’s first choice XI.