Attacking creativity, but wasting too many chances
Bayern Munich was dominating Red Star Belgrade throughout the match and allowed the opponents few chances. The attack was good tonight as Ivan Perišić, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski formed the deadly trio, but there is a feeling that more could have been accomplished. Bayern was generally unlucky, but also Red Star’s keeper Milan Borjan was very good tonight.
With 33 shots in total, two that hit the woodwork, and a few 1 vs. 1 chances missed (I’m looking at you Lewandowski!), you could say that Red Star got away with only conceding three goals. But to be fair they defended well. On a more positive note, things seem to be getting into their place as the season progresses. There is certain easiness with creativity and a nice flow to Bayern’s attack.
Teams who play like Red Star Belgrade are usually really dangerous; especially for Bayern. Bayern tends to control the game and has the ball at its feet, while Red Star parked the bus and used counter-attacks. But tonight, Bayern’s attack was quite stable and defied all of the attacks. Benjamin Pavard made a noticeable clearance in the box in front of Pavkov, and that was basically the only real chance in the box that Red Star had.
This defense is proving to be very versatile. Pavard is really stable as a right-back and as a center-back, while Lucas Hernandez is also proving his price-tag with great performances. All in all, we saw a well-organized defense tonight and hopefully, this trend will continue.
Substitutions done right
Finally, Niko Kovač made substitutions that made sense. Niko is oftentimes criticized for his substitutions and — honestly — sometimes they don’t make much sense. But tonight, Niko got them right. There was a double substitution in 65th minute as Serge Gnabry came in for Ivan Perišić and Javi Martinez came on for Corentin Tolisso.
These worked out well for Kovac. Perišić had a decent game tonight as he assisted and hit the woodwork, but generally lacked a quality final product. Gnabry’s presence was felt, and the attack got quicker and more fluid.
The last substitution was Thomas Muller for Philippe Coutinho. Muller is still vital for Bayern. After almost 10 minutes in, he scored a nice goal and also could have made an assist to his name if Lewa was more precise. It would be interesting to see Muller and Coutinho playing together.