Bayern Munich used a first-half goal from Leon Goretzka to clinch a 1-0 victory over AC Milan in the team’s final International Champions Cup fixture. There were some very strong periods of play and also some not-so-good moments. In the end, however, Bayern held strong for the “W” without Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, or Javi Martinez, who all missed the game due to minor muscular injuries. If we factor in all of that, here are a few observations on the match:
Bayern showed great aggression on offense even if the end product wasn’t in top form
Bayern Munich was creative on the ball, displayed great vision, offered creative runs, relentlessly tried to cross the ball, and kept AC Milan on its heels for most of the game. Was it the most precise effort? Nope. Was Bayern at its best quality in the offensive end? Um, no. All of that pressure, however, systematically wore down AC Milan and made it susceptible for Joshua Kimmich to deftly find Leon Goretzka just before halftime to place the game-winning goal into the net. The fact that so many different players were able to create issues for AC Milan was promising. Whether it was Thomas Muller, Kinglsey Coman, Fiete Arp, Renato Sanches, Thiago Alcantara, Goretzka, or any of the other players, Bayern had a cast of contributors who took turns causing AC Milan fits.
Pavard is making all of my fears go away
At this time last year, Benjamin Pavard was an extremely intriguing talent for VfB Stuttgart after starring with France during the 2018 World Cup. When Bayern was linked to him last summer, I was genuinely excited at the prospect of a young, athletic, and versatile defender to arrive in Munich. Last season with Stuttgart, however, did not go as planned. Mistake-prone, inconsistent, and sometimes careless, Pavard was just not the same player we had seen. If we have learned one thing on this tour, though, it might just be that Pavard looks like a very solid fit and should be a tremendous addition to the back-line — or wherever Niko Kovac decides to use him.
The goalkeepers put in some work
Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich got quite the workout in the past three games. Ulreich’s dynamic second-half save after a horrific decision and turnover by Niklas Sule turned out to be a game-saving effort. In the first half, Neuer was challenged a few times, but never wavered. Overall, it was a very impressive tour for the boys between the sticks.
The Bayern midfield was in control
Even before Thiago entered — and subsequently dominated — the game in the second half, Bayern’s young corps of central midfielders asserted themselves nicely. As noted, Goretzka had the game’s lone goal and was extremely difficult for AC Milan to handle within the box, while he also was composed on the ball in the middle of the field. Corentin Tolisso and Renato Sanches were also extremely solid on the night as well.
Davies is a work in progress at left-back
Alphonso Davies turned in a workmanlike effort against AC Milan. Seeing action at left-back and on the wing, Davies is learning on the job in a lot of ways. The young Canadian still has get more comfortable working in a deeper role, but even when he made mistakes or found himself drifting out of position at left-back, Davies used his excellent speed to recover and prevent any major damage from being inflicted. Davies was not poor by any means, but rather needs refinement before he is ready to play a starting role at left-back. No doubt, being able to practice with — and learn from — David Alaba will expedite the process for Davies, who will only enhance his value to the club by being proficient at both the wings and outside-back.