It was a one-sided affair
Don’t be fooled by the scoreline, RB Leipzig were lucky to get away with a result (at home no less) against Bayern Munich. The Bavarians limited the Lawnballers to almost no real chances on goal, and Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen were reduced to sending ineffectual shots straight at Sven Ulreich.
Just take a look at this xG map (courtesy of Understat):
That doesn’t even count Leon Goretzka’s goal, which was ruled offside for some reason. Honestly, the refereeing was a a travesty. Leipzig got away with kicking every single Bayern player, and Joshua Kimmich was hit in the face twice with no repercussions. Meanwhile, Goretzka and Coman were booked for doing almost nothing.
Bayern played well and deserved to win, that’s all there is to it.
Bayern’s midfield stepped up their game
Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka absolutely stomped on Leipzig’s midfield, despite thier aggressive press — it was probably the best midfield performance we’ve seen from these two in a long time. With Javi out injured, Thiago really stepped up defensively, which is recorded in the stats: he managed 9 tackles with a 100% success rate. Goretzka was no slouch either, with 2 tackles and 4 interceptions.
Because of these two, Leipzig’s midfield struggled to advance the ball at all through the middle, so they were forced out wide and their forwards ended up having to drop deep to even get the ball.
Given that Bayern have a cup final against Leipzig in two weeks, hopefully these two can keep their form going. As for Thiago, he was subbed off with an injury, but is confirmed to be okay.
Crossing remains an issue for the wide players
Bayern put up a good performance overall — but the crossing from the flanks was just abysmal. Aside from Kimmich, none of the team’s wide players could send a decent ball into the box, where Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski were waiting.
David Alaba, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman all got opportunities where they beat their man and had the chance to send in a cross. They almost never did. Kovac even switched Gnabry and Coman around for this game so that they could cross with their preferred foot — but it didn’t help.
Given that Bayern have so many players who are good in the air, it’s a complete waste to be this bad at crossing. Under Pep Guardiola, Bayern’s ability to regularly send high-quality deliveries into the box was one of the main things that allowed us to break down parked buses — most notably Juventus in the Champions League. Crossing is such an easy thing to do, there’s just no excuse to be this bad at it. Hopefully, Kovac drills all his wingers on this right through the week, because Bayern cannot afford another abject display like this again.