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Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich vs. VfB Stuttgart; Erling Haaland to stay with Borussia Dortmund?; Why Mario Mandžukić turned down Aston Villa; and MORE!

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Bayern Munich held off VfB Stuttgart for a 3-1 win, but it wasn’t easy.

VfB Stuttgart v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Die Folgen: Bayern’s 3-1 win over Stuttgart (Bavarian Football Works)

Bayern Munich looked tired in its 3-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart yesterday, but was still able to battle through its collective fatigue and muscle out a win behind strong efforts from Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, and Leon Goretzka. Here are some quick hitters on the match:

  • The heavy schedule has definitely caught up to Bayern Munich. Let’s be clear, the boys are not sharp. Frankly, there were a lot of mistakes and unforced errors, but we probably should be expecting it at this point because of the extreme workload that they’ve had. While it is fair to criticize to their lack of precision on offense and awareness on defense, Bayern Munich should also be given credit for battling through heavy legs, weary minds, and a pesky opponent to pull out a win.
  • As a “shorts all year” guy, I loved seeing Niklas Süle rocking the shorts while everyone else in the stands was bundled up. When he eventually entered the game, Süle made a huge impact on the backline and stabilized the defense. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Süle was the best of the defensive unit on the day.
VfB Stuttgart - Bayern Munich
Waldemar Anton was a little free and loose with elbows yesterday. It’s a good thing that there were no turnbuckles to climb.
Photo by Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Kingsley Coman has been Bayern Munich’s best winger her this season. With a goal and an assist yesterday, Coman was a constant threat. More, it seems that bringing in a player to presumptively take his place, has heightened Coman’s focus and allowed him to elevate his game. He’s been better and more consistent than both Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane all season.
  • Robert Lewandowski’s goal at the end of the first half was a thing of beauty. He was not going to be denied after taking multiple elbow shots to the face and failing to convert a header off of a cross from Coman early in the contest. That strike was part will, part power, and part vengeance.
  • Speaking of elbows, VfB Stuttgart defender Waldemar Anton was dishing out more elbows than a prime Randy “Macho Man” Savage.
  • Bayern Munich’s back-line was a circus. Positionally, Benjamin Pavard, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, and Lucas Hernandez were a complete mess. Without Süle, the back-line lacks any type of organization. Hopefully, Hansi Flick’s message to the big man has been received and Süle can get back on the pitch consistently.
  • Pavard was sucked inside defensively all game left easy pathway down Stuttgart’s offensive left-flank. This is becoming a major problem and we should expect more from the Frenchman. He is a far better player than he is showing right now.
  • Hernandez wasn’t great, but hustling back after his collision with the advertising board showed his heart and fight. This tweet was too good not to share as well:
  • Tanguy Nianzou made his debut, which was good to see. He did, however, look nervous and had some “baby giraffe” in him as his legs seemed out of sync with the rest of his body at times. The poor kid did not even have a chance to warm-up in coming in for a banged-up Jerome Boateng, though. Anyway, it’s good that he got his debut out of the way.
  • Corentin Tolisso is struggling. The Frenchman just never looked comfortable and could not get into the flow of the game before leaving with an apparent injury. He also got caught watching the game defensively several times, which put even more onus on the defenders. Right now, playing Tolisso only exemplifies what the team is missing without Joshua Kimmich. I’m rooting for the 26-year-old, but the signs are pointing more and more to him needing a change of scenery where he can play consistently in hopes of getting his once-promising career back on track.
  • This was also not Thomas Müller’s finest game. He had trouble getting involved and finding the flow of the game as well. Hopefully this was a one-off as everything was off for him on the day. Movement, touch, an epic first-half whiff, and his overall engagement was just not good. The heavy schedule seems to be affecting him and a rest might be needed for the Raumdeuter. Still, he had the right mindset after the contest:
  • With the back-line struggling so much, Leon Goretzka was key to the defense and made several big plays in tracking back. Goretzka’s great second half made a huge impact defensively for Bayern Munich.
  • Douglas Costa’s game has not evolved at all from his last tenure with Bayern Munich. He got the insurance goal after flipping to the right flank, but was poor otherwise. I was lambasting him for the entirety of his appearance in the BFW Slack channel...which always ensures that player will score...and it worked once again. Sure, he’s a fourth winger, but he is frustrating as hell to watch sometimes.
  • Finally, what was up with that grass yesterday? So many players were slipping and sliding that it resembled more of an ice rink at times. Stuttgart had better closely examine that lousy pitch and get its grass in gear before Bavarian Grass Works goes full Karen and asks to speak to the turf manager:

If you missed our Match Awards or Observations, give them a look:

Zorc sees Haaland with BVB for the long run (Sport Bild)

For all of the talk about release clauses and potential suitors, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc thinks Erling Haaland isn’t going anywhere, any time soon.

“He exudes a positive dynamic,” Zorc said to Sport Bild. “It’s good for all of us. And I don’t believe in slowing down a positive development. I’ll see him with us for a long time.”

Dortmund dropped a 2-1 decision to FC Köln yesterday and the Norwegian was held scoreless. After reading Zorc’s quotes yesterday morning, Haaland was probably distracted and devastated at the prospect of spending any more time there than he already has to (I kid, I kid).

Why Mandžukić turned down Villa (Ninety Minutes Online)

Former Bayern Munich star Mario Mandžukić is still a free agent, but it is not for a lack of suitors. Mandžukić, in fact, could have joined Aston Villa per Fabrizio Romano, but the 34-year-old declined:

It is likely that Villa Park was just not an attractive destination for the veteran. Despite having had a promising start to the current Premier League season, Dean Smith’s side only narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League last season. Many predicted that they would face yet another relegation battle this season.

In the end, the failure to land Mandžukić has not been a major blow for Villa. They did manage to sign Ollie Watkins from Brentford. The 24-year-old has proven to be a huge hit in the Premier League. He has so far scored six goals from eight league games for Villa.

“He had a bid from (the) Premier League,” said Romano. “It was three or four weeks ago, from Aston Villa. They were trying to sign him as a free agent and Mario Mandzukic said ‘no’. He wants an important project. He will have a lot of offers but, with Aston Villa, he said ‘no’.”

Juve and Dybala unable to sync up (Transfer Market Web)

Juventus and Paulo Dybala just can’t get aligned as of yet on how to make things work between them:

Unsatisfied with Andrea Pirlo’s management, Argentinian international forward Paulo Dybala (27), playing for Juventus since 2015/16, might end up breaking renewal talks once and for all. In such case, Bianconeri might even arrange a winter sale of his, with many A-listers around (Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, both Manchester giants) keen on him. La Joya is demanding an at least 13.5 million euros annual salary.

Sorry, not sorry (@TriedWrong)

Sorry to piss in anyone’s Wheaties, but I am not a gender reveal guy. Judging by how this prospective mom and big sister handled it, maybe this couple should have called it quits after the first one:

The poor dad. He knew at this point that he was hosed and this was all somehow going to circle back to being his fault. Meh, he probably deserves it:

This dude has a long life ahead of him.