The game went the way that many of us expected, and Bayern Munich ran all over Schalke to the tune of a 5-0 score. While it felt like Schalke was hanging on as certain breaks went their way throughout the first half, Thomas Müller’s stoppage-time goal gave Bayern the 2-0 lead and they never looked back. Now, bear with me, it’s the first time that I’ve written some full observations in a while, so let’s make sure that I bring you something good.
Alphonso Davies is solidifying his place in this team
When Bayern signed Davies, there was genuine (and justified) concern among many that the Canadian wouldn’t be able to find his footing at such a massive club. Was he good enough offensively to play in the attacking midfield? Was he good enough defensively to play at left-back? Would he forever languish as a tweener that wasn’t good enough to play regularly at either position?
Well, I’m here to tell you right now, that when Hansi Flick has a full roster at his disposal, Davies cannot find his way back to the bench.
Since being forced into left-back (as David Alaba was forced over to center-back) due to injuries, Davies has stepped into the role and, quite frankly, made it his own. His ability to get up and down the left flank with his breakneck pace completely changes the way that Bayern play and forces the opposition to cede space on the right to help cover against Davies. At one point in the match, Davies drew two midfielders and two defenders at the same time, pulling Schalke’s shape all out of sort. This allowed Müller and Benjamin Pavard to have the ball at their feet for slightly longer while they made decisions on the opposite flank, as Schalke rushed back to cover space.
Davies’ decision-making in the final third must continue to improve, but he is showing signs that he’s one of this team’s most dynamic offensive threats, even from left-back. With better finishing by his teammates, Davies maybe walks away with a pair of assists to his name.
It’s exciting to see a kid with so much raw talent mature into a great player.
Thiago looks confident again
When you’re writing observations, it’s good to be able to point to specific statistics as facts to back up your argument. Otherwise, you could say something that’s easily disproved with actual evidence of what happened on the field. With that said, Thiago looks confident again out there, right?
I was never a “Kovac must go!” kind of guy, but the decline of Thiago during the Croatian’s reign in Munich was staggering. Every time that you saw Thiago on the field it looked like he was there to put in an average shift (at best) in the midfield. It felt like the spark was gone. Maybe he was past it and needed a change of scenery to find it again.
However, against Schalke, he looked like the Thiago of old.
On at least two separate occasions, Thiago sent a Schalke player the wrong direction with the slightest head fake, opening ten-to-twenty yards of open space for the Spaniard to run into. Schalke’s midfield was completely overrun today, by and large thanks to Thiago’s ability to do what he wanted with the ball when he wanted to do it.
If the old Thiago is back for good, things are looking great for Bayern.
Robert Lewandowski could score 40 Bundesliga goals
There are few things more exciting in the sport than when Robert Lewandowski is around the ball in the opposition’s penalty area. After his goal against Schalke, the Polish striker has now scored 21 goals in 19 Bundesliga games this season, matching a feat only reached by the greatest goalscorer of all time, Gerd Müller.
Lewandowski is on track to obliterate his previous high-mark of 30 goals, which he has reached twice during his time at Bayern. Thirty always felt like the impossible number: only Lewandowski himself (twice) and his erstwhile teammate and rival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have attained it since the late 1970s. Still, this season feels different from Lewandowski.
Sure, he’s still prone to miss the occasional “easy” goal (ha!) and has had his fair share of goals taken away by VAR, but things feel like they’re clicking for Lewandowski like never before. In the first half of the season, there were times where Bayern needed Lewandowski to score every time, because that was the only way the club was going to get a goal. Now, the pressure has eased a bit, but Lewandowski is getting more opportunities to find the back of the net.
So, the question must be seriously asked for the first time in nearly 50 years: Will Robert Lewandowski hit the 40 goal tally in the Bundesliga?