Initial thoughts and observations
- This game was not scintillating soccer, but it still was satisfying. Red Star was outclassed, but stood firm, defended exceptionally well and carved out some chances of their own. Marko Marin may have had the best chance of the game for Red Star — but his shot went just wide.
- Bayern played the long game today, gradually wearing Red Star down with wave after wave of attack. Eventually, things clicked. A perfect cross found a perfect finish by Coman. Lewandowski manufactured his own luck and came out a toe ahead. And Thiago and Müller caught the guests dozing late in the game.
- Phil Coutinho played well, but probably hoped to accomplish more in his eighty-some minutes today. He made some spectacular passes, fired some very close shots, but just fell short. Who’s to say how he might perform against a less defensive team?
- Bayern’s defense held firm without conceding any outrageous errors. Benji Pavard (pronounce “Pavarrrrrh”) cleared away the most imminent threat when called upon.
Final time: Bayern defeat Red Star 3:0! Red Star sat back and defended as well as they could, but Bayern’s overall quality prevailed. Red Star deserves special credit, however, for the overall fairness of the game. This was not one of those games where the goal seemed to be to beat Bayern’s forwards into submission.
90’ — GOAL Bayern! Vulic gets a yellow card for fouling Javi just outside the penalty area. Thiago and Müller catch Red Star totally off guard as Müller breaks away from the wall to score.
86’ — Milunovic nearly commits and own-goal off a ball sent across by Thiago from the near post.
83’ — Substitution for Bayern: Thomas Müller replaces Coutinho.
80’ — GOAL Bayern! There it is! Javi gives Lewandowski a great ball just outside the penalty arc. He initially lays it off to Gnabry, who’s own attempt is intercepted. But Lewy sturms on forward, taps the ball away from Milunovic from behind, and it somehow rolls into the net. Not his prettiest goal by far, but he worked for it.
78’ — Javi takes out one player and Süle tackles another, awarding Red Star a free kick. In the chaotic follow-up, Marin curls a very dangerous shot toward the far corner. Luckily for Bayern, it goes just as wide as Coutinho’s own attempts.
74’ — Bayern has won yet another corner, their eleventh.
70’ — Substitution for Red Star: striker Pavkov makes way for Boakye.
66’ — Substitution for Bayern: Javi Martinez replaces Tolisso and Serge Gnabry replaces Perisic. Borjan is being treated meanwhile after a collision with Perisic.
65’ — Bad luck strikes twice: Perisic chips the keeper to be denied by the bar, while Lewandowski gets the angle wrong on the rebound and bounces it off the ground and over the goal.
63’ — Thiago is kicked squarely on the foot in the process of clearing a shot by Pavkov. He seems to be okay. Javi Martinez and Serge Gnaby are about to come on for Bayern.
62’ — Substitution for Red Star: Jovanovic makes way for Vujic.
61’ — Danger struck: Marin delivered a fantastic pass up to Jander, giving him the space to make a one-on-one shot against Neuer, but Jander launches the ball skyward.
59’ — Lewandowski and Coman look in vain for a way to get a shot off while evading three to four defenders in Red Star’s box. Red Star has opened up slightly as we approach the hour mark, but they remain well organized on defense. It’s remarkable, in fact, how little they have fouled Bayern in the process.
55’ — Another save by Borjan: after giving Lewandowski a weak cross, Kimmich gets a second chance. The ball is brought down to Perisic’s feet; he turns and shoots, but Borjan is ready.
54’ — Tolisso hits the post! Coman set him up beautifully for the shot. Borjan flailed at it, but the ball was just wide.
51’ — Ouch: Milos Degenek receives a yellow card for fouling Lewandowski from behind — probably unintentionally, because Lewy now has a free kick on goal. Alas, he shoots high.
50’ — Confused? That was perhaps because Red Star briefly had the ball. They have enjoyed just 19% possession in the opening 50 minutes. But now back to our regularly scheduled ball-circulation.
47’ — Bayern look rather relaxed and confident. Evan center-back Niklas Süle merrily runs all the way to Red Star’s penalty area. Coutinho takes yet another shot from range, but again misses the target.
Kickoff to the second half! We’re back. Touch the pitch, point skyward, cross yourself, and say any other relevant prayers as the ball rolls again.
Thoughts at halftime
- Bayern has suffocated Red Star for 45 minutes, with 18 shots to 2 (and 0 on target for the guests).
- Red Star’s blockade has been formidable, limiting Bayern’s chances and blocking several shots.
- The moment of the game has been Perisic’s outstanding cross inside for Coman, who used his speed to dash toward the goal to head the ball away. It was an instant of brilliance that has so far made the difference.
- Coutinho has looked tentative at times, and deadly at times. His through-ball to Lewandowski was stunning, and he nearly had a goal of his own twice, ruled offside once and shooting just wide from distance another time.
45+1 — Goodness, what a pass! Coutinho somehow passes through Red Star’s entire midfield and defense to put the ball at Lewandowski’s feet inside the box. He has three defenders to evade, but he still fires a shot that draws a save.
44’ — Coutinho curls a long-range shot just outside the far post.
40’ — A delightful backheel goal by Coutinho is regrettably ruled offside.
38’ — A little magic from O Magico: Coutinho pulls off an audacious roll from his right foot to his left and then backheels a no-look pass, drawing away two defenders. More of this, please!
34’ — GOAL BAYERN! More frustration, then release! A moment after both Coman and Perisic were denied deep in Red Stars box, Perisic delivers a perfect cross inside from the left to Coman, who delivers a flying header back into the left corner of the net beyond Borjan’s reach. 1:0 Bayern!
Kingsley Coman took flight ✈️ pic.twitter.com/r3AJzt60Op— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
31’ — Coman wins a free kick for Bayern from an advantageous spot on the left flank. Coutinho lobs the ball in, but nothing comes of it.
27’ — A shot by Red Star! They launch a counter up the left, as Jander beats Kimmich. He fires at the near post but hits only the side netting. Bayern soon strike back in turn. Lewandowski sets up Perisic inside the box, but he loses the ball after two successive spectacular and desperate tackles by Degenek and Jander.
23’ — Benji Pavard flashes his speed yet again, snuffing out a Red Star counter before it comes even close to Neuer’s goal.
21’ — It’s a game of centimeters: Coutinho fires a rocket of a shot from just outside the penalty area, but it flies just over the crossbar.
20’ — Hernandez fires in yet another cross from out left. He has pressed very high and delivered the ball into the box several times already. He has clearly received orders to be aggressive.
15’ — Coman turned the ball over, launching Red Star in a 3v3 against Bayern’s defense. It looked as if they would have a shot in the box for Pavkov, but Pavard made a last-man tackle to defuse the situation.
14’ — Coutinho takes a weak shot from well away from goal. Easily saved. He has not yet really found his way into the game.
13’ — Yikes, Neuer. His first touch on a pass is sloppy and his second blasts the ball out of bounds. Corner for Red Star.
10’ — Cheap giveaway by Thiago that Bayern fortunately corrals right away. Red Star is pinned down in its half and almost in its penalty area, forcing Bayern to look for cracks outside. Not much has come down the middle.
7’ — Bayern breathes a sigh of relief as Kimmich comes back on.
5’ — Kimmich goes down after rolling his ankle far up the right flank. Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt treats him on the sideline while Jerome Boateng warms up.
3’ — Bayern attack early up the left flank with Hernandez and Perisic. Perisic breaks away and passes inside to Lewandowski. He passes back to Tolisso near the penalty arc. Tolisso shoots — blocked in the box.
Kickoff: We’re underway! Bayern Munich needs a win to take an early lead in group B.
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic get their second starts of the season.
Ah yes, the Champions League is finally back. Today, against Red Star, Bayern Munich once again embark on their Sisyphean pursuit of European glory. Coach Niko Kovac is expected to win these games, and the fans at the Allianz Arena will be hoping to see a better performance than what they got against Liverpool at the end of last season.
In terms of injuries, the Bavarians will miss both Leon Goretzka (thigh) and David Alaba (muscle tear) for this game. Despite their absences, the team still have Corentin Tolisso and Lucas Hernandez who can fill in and do a good job.
All we want is a good game. Hopefully, Philippe Coutinho will get a start at attacking midfield to show us what he can do, and Joshua Kimmich will finally go back to right back where he belongs. With Tottenham Hotspur also battling it out in the group, there is no room for slip ups if the team want to come out on top.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 9 pm local time, 3 pm EST
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