Despite fielding a heavily rotated starting XI, Bayern Munich were able to dispose of 1. FC Düren to win the first round of DFB-Pokal. The Bavarians, who have been aiming to become the first club to win the league cup in three consecutive years, showed signs of struggle in the initial moments of the game. The Bundesliga record champions, nevertheless got back in the game, credit to great individual additions to the squad and of course, coach Hansi Flick’s tactical setup. Here are the awardees from the match:
Jersey Swap: Entire FC Düren team
Whereas the majority of teams from Bundesliga often choose to sit back, Düren put in an exemplary display of bravery and obedience to the coach’s plan. Düren, a team 142 places below the Bavarians in German league pyramid, came well-prepared and played their hearts out. The men from Oberliga didn’t make it easy for the quintuple winners as they formed a compact defense and frequently disrupted opposition’s play with their hard-working display of pressing.
For Düren coach and his team, this game was the “one to tell the grandkids and just enjoy” and they certainly showed it with their combined efforts on the pitch.
Der Kaiser: Javi Martínez
A game where he split time between his primary and secondary position, Martínez put in a solid performance for a deputy. The former Athletic Bilbao player initially formed a midfield pivot with his new Spanish compatriot Marc Roca. At the half-time break, he was shifted back to form the center-back pairing with Jerome Boateng.
With 3 tackles as well as interceptions, the Machinez displayed his anticipation skills as he read Düren’s plays and stopped them in their tracks. His distribution and defensive-work proved instrumental and having already won the UEFA supercup for Bayern, the Spaniard is proving to be a great backup for Flick.
Der Fußballgott: Marc Roca
Debutant Roca initially struggled adjusting to the fact-paced and physical nature of the game. However, the Spaniard was a constant presence in the buildup as he pulled the strings for Die Roten midfield with his short passing.
With a pass accuracy of 90% and 94 touches in the match, Roca was present wherever the ball was being played on the field. The former-Espanyol man was equally impressive on the defensive side of things, making 2 interceptions and averaging a duel success rate of 73% (from a total of 11). Perhaps, a few gym sessions with Bayern’s resident hulk Leon Goretzka could help him improve on his physical shortcomings and lack of balance. Nevertheless, the youngster has made a promising start to life in Munich.
Der Bomber: Jamal Musiala
Yet again, the Bayern academy prodigy proved why he is considered one of the brightest kids in the world as he navigated the ball through numerous charging players with his magnificent control of the ball. Registering five successful dribbles, the former Chelsea academy player was one of the creative sparks on the field and a constant thorn in Düren’s defense.
2 - Jamal Musiala (17 years, 232 days) and Armindo Sieb (17 years, 241 days) are 2 of the 3 youngest players ever to appear for @FCBayernEN in DFB-Pokal. Only David Alaba has been younger (17 years, 231 days). Rookies.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) October 15, 2020
The decision to pick Musiala ahead of Thomas Muller and Douglas Costa might be seen as controversial, but the English player never looked out of place in a team full of veterans. Together with Alphonso Davies, the duo formed a dynamic partnership in attack and at times, their positional-play and one-touch passing proved too much for the opponents. Another astonishing part of his performance was his pressing work. With a game-high 13 duels and 3 interceptions, Musiala never shied away from his off-the-ball duties and worked tirelessly till the very last minute.
Meister of the match: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Eric Maxim Choupu-Moting wins our MOTM and CMOTM (Choupo-Moting of the match) award, tonight. The former PSG-man put in a fine display filling in for Die Roten’s (soon-to-be-former?) super-striker Robert Lewandowski in his debut. The UEFA Champions League finalist had a hand in all three goals and almost managed to score from a delightful chip at the 63-minute mark.
What was equally impressive about his goal contributions was his holdup play and relentless work ethic. The Hamburg native spearheaded Flick’s counter-pressing and frequently dropped in midfield to pick a pass. Similar to Lewandowski, he created space for his fellow teammates by dragging along a marker in the process and laid the ball-off to the nearest attacker. Bayern’s third goal served as a testament to Choupo’s superb ball-control and competent finishing.
Massive credit to Bayern’s scouting department (a.k.a. Mr. John Dillon) for discovering another gem of a player.