In a match that featured many comings-and-going in terms of Bayern Munich’s lineup, Hansi Flick rolled a line-up that most observers knew would take some time to get going.
And it did.
The first half was not an aesthetic masterpiece, but the Bavarians gutted out a tough 2-0 victory. Sure, they dominated the game with 69% possession, but finding the back of the net proved extremely difficult against the pesky Russian side.
Bayern Munich did take 22 shots (putting seven on target), but offensive life was not all that easy on the day. Anyway, here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Lonely Hansi is the worst Hansi:
- Alphonso Davies was a problem for the Russian side all day. His tracking back defensively and dribbling were an issue for Lokomotiv Moscow to deal with, but his passing in tight quarters was not up to his normal standard (that is to be expected given how long he was out). Per Sofascore, Davies won 13 of his 15 duels (ground and aerial) and had 11 of 13 success dribbles. Overall, it was a very, very good return for the Canadian phenom.
- Manuel Neuer’s behind-the-back pass in the 27th minute was fantastic. Put him on the FC Bayern basketball squad!
- Bayern Munich’s first half movement in the offensive end was dreadful at times. Douglas Costa, Leroy Sane, and Thomas Muller did a fair amount of roaming in the offensive end, but the lack of cohesion is still present when Flick has to heavily rotate. This should hopefully get worked out over time.
- Thankfully, Leroy Sane is a more than capable offensive player because he seems to abhor his defensive responsibilities. Regardless of that, however, Sane was one of the few players looking to create offense in the first half. He was a constant threat to the Lokomotiv Moscow defense, but the final-third was often congested with a lot of stagnant bodies. Seeing him cut-in and rip off a quick left-footed shot, though, is enough to know why he’s a valuable asset that should pay dividends once he is in alignment with Flick’s plan for him.
- The first half felt like Bayern Munich was playing on a 7v7 field whenever they had the ball. Lokomotiv Moscow did a good job of clogging up the passing and shooting lanes and Bayern Munich’s lack of offensive movement made it even harder to penetrate through.
- Niklas Süle’s first header attempt was hit hard, but directly at Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Guilherme Marinato. His second attempt (from a Costa corner), though, was authoritatively put home to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 lead. Süle was really good overall. The Russian side did not offer much in terms of constant pressure or even significant threats, but it was the kind of performance that everyone wanted to see from the big man. He was sturdy defensively, looked to progress the ball upfield with his passing and dribbling, and got the opener. Bravo!
- If the long pass from Neuer to Sane in the 78th minute would have resulted in a goal, it would have been tremendous. It was a perfectly timed-run by Sane and an pin-point long distance pass from Neuer.
- Serge Gnabry brought energy into the game and his savvy look perfectly set up Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting for Bayern Munich’s second goal.
You can add Chelsea star Kai Havertz to the list of people who were severely affected by COVID-19 per his manager Frank Lampard.
“Corona hit Kai hard,” Lampard said. “His body showed severe symptoms and he struggled with them for some time. Many players are completely symptom-free, that was not the case with Kai. For him, the return therefore took longer than usual.”
Perhaps one of the worst parts of the coronavirus is the varying effects that it has on a case-by-case. Like Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Havertz fell into the category of athletes that really struggled with it.
As for how things are going otherwise, Lampard said that Havertz has shaken off a tough start to the season and rounded himself into form.
“Some of the best players had a tough time in the Premier League at the beginning,” Lampard said. “You have to get used to this league first. Kai has done well so far. He has the mentality and all the attributes to become an absolute top player in this league and in the world.”
The Sun referred to RB Leipzig star Angelino as a Manchester City “reject” and the talented 23-year-old Spaniard was not having it:
What reject mate,I decided to go. Have some respect with the headline.— Angelino (@angel_tasende69) December 9, 2020
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho has been in-and-out of Lucien Favre’s doghouse this season and many still feel as if the 20-year-old is on the verge of a mega-move to Manchester United. Should Sancho actually leave Dortmund, Sport Bild thinks BVB will look to secure Dutch youngster Donyell Malen.
Malen is a 21-year-old forward for PSV Eindhoven, who has impressed teammate Mario Götze.
“Donyell is extremely fast and very dangerous,” said Götze. “If he has a chance, it’s usually a goal too. He is still young, but has really good facilities.”
Sport Bild seems to think that if Borussia Dortmund received a nine-figure offer for Sancho it would be inclined to sell him. Anything less, however, won’t be considered.
I am not the biggest fan of Neymar. He’s a great talent, but maybe just a bit of a diva. Anyway, here is some of that aforementioned talent on display...a filthy nutmeg into a deft finish:
Nutmeg ✅— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 9, 2020
Exquisite finish ✅
Neymar gets PSG on the scoresheet pic.twitter.com/RlV7I3DAZo
Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen has quite the list of suitors and now we can add West Ham United to the list of potential destinations:
Tracked by a bunch of clubs around, including Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin, AC Milan, Napoli, and PSG, Danish international midfielder Christian Eriksen (28), parting ways with Inter Milan after a year in, has been targeted by West Ham as well, according to Eurosport. Former Tottenham and Ajax player is currently worth around 20 million euros.