Bayern Munich was able to stave off a very game RB Salzburg side for a 3-1 victory. It was not always pretty, but the Bavarians’ overall quality eventually shined through. Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Marc Roca had ups and downs. He did some things well, but the biggest weakness of his game play that I saw was with the weight of passes in close quarters. He seemed hit too many passes too hard from close range, especially early in the game. And yea, that’s a nit-picky critique from an otherwise decent showing. In the end, though, he was sloppy in picking up two yellow cards, which earned him a red card and an ejection, leaving Bayern Munich shorthanded against a dangerous opponent. I think Marcus Iredahl made a very salient point his Match Awards post when assessing Roca’s performance and status within the squad:
I don’t think Flick’s 4-2-3-1 and high-intensity tactical set-up suits Marc Roca very well. Roca is more of an underlying playmaker, who, I would believe, would thrive in a slower tempo squad that focuses more on retaining possession. Roca’s defensive and box-to-box limitations are probably the main reason why he has not gotten a significant amount of playing time. Bayern’s midfield was extremely open in the first half and I think it is partly due to that reason.
- Chris Richards settled into the left-back role as the game went on and did well. He came to Bayern Munich as a center-back, gained experience playing right-back, and was used as a left-back against the best team in Austria. All things considered, he adjusted to the role after some challenging moments early and got stronger as the game went on. Richards eventually shifted to right-back when Benjamin Pavard was subbed off in favor of Lucas Hernandez. Overall, it was strong and resilient effort for the Alabama native. It was great to see the 20-year-old in game action and against an aggressive, attacking opponent — while being asked to play a new role. This experience will absolutely benefit him moving forward. Richards did, however, pick up (or possibly reaggravate) a calf injury, which forced him from the contest.
- David Alaba was sloppy at times and his first-half mistakes could have been costly. He was another player, however, whose form eventually got better as the game went on. Alaba still kind of looks like this contract saga is weighing on him, but we know his talent is there. Hopefully he gets everything sorted and can put his full focus back on the pitch. Though we are talking about being paid millions here, it is still a stressful process for any player to deal with.
- Manuel Neuer showed once again why he is the best goalkeeper in the world. His first half showing kept Bayern Munich in the game, even if he did earn a yellow card for trying to be a bit too cheeky with the spare ball on the sideline when trying to delay Salzburg from taking a quick throw-in. His double-save effort in the 70th minute was absolutely clutch as well. You cannot name a better goalkeeper.
- Dominik Szoboszlai is a problem, but he absolutely should have buried that opportunity in the 34th minute after making a perfectly timed run. He has to make that shot — and he can’t airmail it like he did. He is going to make some team very happy in January.
- Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller played the primary roles in Bayern Munich’s first goal. After a left-footed attempt from Müller was pushed aside by RB Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stanković, Lewandowski was there to neatly clean up the rebound for a goal. That’s part of the reason why he is the best in the business. Lewandowski never takes a moment off near the net. Müller was eventually asked to sit deeper in the midfield and did well in that role, while Lewandowski was just great from start-to-finish.
Who else? Robert Lewandowski follows up and it's 1-0 Bayern. His 71st in the Champions League. pic.twitter.com/D5R8qXgnhk— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) November 25, 2020
- The 52nd minute own-goal was a team effort that started with Leon Goretzka winning a tough ball. Richard then made a run that drew the defender’s attention just enough away from Coman, so the Frenchman could rip off a shot toward goal. It took a sequence of things to make that happen, but that is Bayern Munich at its best. I feel like the goal should have been awarded to Coman, but the broadcast said it was changed to an own goal unfortunately.
- Bayern’s third goal was a beauty as Leroy Sané headed home a perfectly lofted cross from Coman, but it was Lewandowski’s subtle control and passing at the top of the box that set the play up. It was just a tremendous effort all-around for that goal.
- RB Salzburg plays hard, physical, and with an edge. They did not fear Bayern Munich at all. Credit to Jesse Marsch.
- Goretzka was solid in being the lead dog for the midfield. I was hoping to see him assert himself physically and take charge — which he did. It was not his best effort, but he was very good nonetheless.
Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala could be the next teenager to break into the squad for England.
England manager Gareth Southgate has identified Bayern Munich wonderkid Jamal Musiala as the next teenager to break into his squad. Sportsmail understands Southgate held talks with the 17-year-old, who currently plays for England Under 21s, at St George’s Park during the recent international break. The national team boss expressed how highly he rates the attacking midfielder during the informal chat — a clear indication the youngster is on the head coach’s radar heading into 2021.
It remains to be seen whether Musiala has a chance to make a late run for the Euros squad, but the product of Chelsea’s academy is on track to be part of England’s post European Championship plans. However, there are emerging fears from inside the Football Association that Musiala could be persuaded to change his international allegiance to Germany. Musiala was born in Stuttgart and lived in Germany until he was seven before moving to south London. The FA have a clear pathway into their senior squad for Musiala, but Southgate has said he is wary of fast-tracking young players into his squad merely to tie them to England.
If Musiala commits fully to England, part of me wonders if he’ll look to make the jump back to the Premier League within the next two-to-three years?
Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland is on quite a run:
Erling Haaland's last 7⃣ appearances for Borussia Dortmund:— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 25, 2020
Club Brugge ⚽️⚽️
Bayern Munich ⚽️
Hertha Berlin ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
Club Brugge ⚽️⚽️
⏱️ A goal every 50.8 minutes in that time
Reminder he is only 20... pic.twitter.com/GLRioXVmvQ
Tasmania Berlin holds the record for longest winless streak at 31 games and is starting to sweat a bit now that Schalke 04 has upped their streak to 24 winless league games. Tasmania Berlin president Almir Numic does not want Die Königsblauen to get any closer to that record for futility.
“I wouldn’t want Schalke to crack it (31 games winless),” said Numic. “That’s been our record for decades. It’s part of the Tasmania identity.”
Apparently Bayern Munich’s Chris Richards was awarded a game ball after making his USMNT debut.
Check the 7:31 mark of this video below and you’ll hear the following from the postgame locker room speech by United States coach Gregg Berhalter:
“And last but not least, it’s always difficult for center-backs to come in, especially when the score is 3-2, but [Richards] came in, you dealt with it, and not only did you deal with it, you pulled us away,” Berhalter said.
Also...there is “Mr. Fun Guy”????
About the only sad story from Bayern Munich’s treble-winning season is the fact that Mats Hummels was not a part of it. It really feels like Hummels should have been there for that run, but Niko Kovac ran him out of town before the whole course was set in motion.
Anyway...enough of that brief lamentation. Hummels is with Dortmund and is about to trigger an extension clause in his contract that would make his deal run through 2023 per Sport Bild:
Mats Hummels has been back at BVB since 2019 and is more important than ever. The central defender is a leading player, driver, and boss on the pitch. His contract with Borussia Dortmund runs until 2022 — as of now.
SPORT BILD reveals: The 2014 world champion has a previously secret clause in his working paper. If he plays at least 22 competitive games in the coming season, his contract will automatically be extended to 2023.
Good for Hummels. He’s always been a great player and a real pro’s pro. Happy to see him earn another year on his deal.