Niko Kovac potentially shows his hand for the Supercup vs Dortmund
Kovac started the fixture against Tottenham with what was essentially a ‘B’ team, bar Niklas Sule and Manuel Neuer. It made sense given that the DFL-Supercup is only three days away and was to be expected after the likely first eleven all played significant minutes in the Audi Cup semi final the day before.
However, the ‘big guns’ made appearances late on with Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, Renato Sanches, Thiago, Kingsley Coman, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba all entering the pitch in the second half. Unfortunately, Coman ended up injured — putting his Supercup place into question. It remains to be seen what the Croatian manager will do in the wing department with both of Bayern’s starting wingers potentially injured, although the most likely scenario would be the addition of Muller or Davies on the wing(s) come August 3.
Alphonso Davies, Fiete Arp and fellow youth players held their own at the start of the game
Tottenham’s team of seasoned professionals looked a menacing proposition for Bayern’s youngsters, yet as the match continued, the youthful Bayern side gained confidence and precision. They put in a great performance against a team with much higher quality than themselves — with Kehl, Will, Nollenberger and Johanseen all putting in a shift. However, it was Singh, Davies and Arp that deserve special attention:
Singh was a constant spot of energy throughout the game, completing countless dribbles, cutting onto his left foot, playing clever passes, and showing his positional versatility by playing LW and RW at separate times. It’s a fair assumption that he will be able to contribute to the first team in the coming campaign.
While Arp was unable to get involved in the play in the first forty-five, he showed his quality in the second half. In this half he made some good runs into the channels, got fouled a couple times, and scored a very well taken goal. Arp’s display was the epitome of the notion that a good striker only needs one chance to score a goal.
Nevertheless, it’s Alphonso Davies who should receive the highest praise. The young Canadian was exemplary from the first minute until the game’s conclusion. Although starting at left-back, he was able to maintain a big presence in Bayern’s attacking play, making multiple good dribbles, constantly overlapping while still retaining some positional organisation. Once moved onto the wing, the former Vancouver Whitecaps player kept up his superb performance before scoring an exceptionally taken goal with his (weaker) right foot. In addition, he set up Arp’s goal with a marvelous first time pass. If Davies can keep up performances like this, he will be seriously challenging Coman for a starting place (and that’s very high praise indeed).
Bayern’s senior players saved the match
While the Bayern youth players gave an admirable performance, it was only when Thiago, Sanches and Alaba came on that Bayern started creating real chances. The goalkeepers also put in good performances, with Manuel Neuer making an outstanding save earlier on. Not to be outdone, Sven Ulriech produced not one but two great stops — cementing his place as one of the best backup keepers in the game.
Once Lewandowski and Muller came on, the game truly changed. The pair added a fresh impetus to Bayern’s attack. The Pole displaying great hold-up play and the (former) German international continuing his raumdauteuring ways. Muller also showed a great connection with right-back Benjamin Pavard, which is something Bayern fans will surely see more of this season. The two right-sided players made constant passes, one-twos, and runs off of each other.
Bonus observation: Kovac is still making odd decisions
The substitution of Kingsley Coman is very puzzling. The INJURY PRONE Frenchman had just played consequential minutes the day prior against Fenerbahçe. With the Supercup on the horizon, the choice to risk a Coman injury was foolish and proved costly.
Another weird decision was to play Muller at RW. Kovac could easily have brought the Bavarian boy into midfield and shifted Singh to the right... Are we in for another season of Kova antics...