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Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg; ESPN picks Manchester as Champions League favorite; Frank Lampard defends Kai Havertz at Chelsea; and MORE!

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Bayern Munich downed Wolfsburg 2-1. On to Bayer Leverkusen!

FC Bayern Muenchen v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Die Folgen: Bayern’s 2-1 win over the Wolves (Bavarian Football Works)

Bayern Munich downed Wolfsburg 2-1 in a bit of a wild one that saw the Bavarians have to battle back from an early deficit yet again. Robert Lewandowski was the man with the plan for foiling Wolfsburg as he recorded a brace. Here are some quick hitters the match:

  • Hansi Flick’s personnel and formation to start certainly were interesting choices, but ultimately they worked. For whatever reason, Bayern Munich has gotten into a habit of coming out of the gate slow and then forcing itself to rebound after some choppy play. Yesterday was no different. I get what Flick is doing in trying to get more playing time for certain players and as awkward as it might have seemed at times, the result was still three more points. #FlickiFlaka
  • Missing both Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka is extremely difficult for Bayern Munich to overcome. Corentin Tolisso is a fine player, but he can’t do what Kimmich and Goretzka can; particularly by himself in the midfield.
  • Serge Gnabry fed Leroy Sane a near-perfect ball in the 4th minute, but Sane flubbed his touch and ended up losing the ball. Former Borussia Dortmund prospect Max Philipp made Sane pay just moments later with a tremendous volley-effort for a goal in the 5th minute.
  • Philipp is a curious case. He showed his talent as a young player with BVB, but his skillset was not considered as strong as some of some other young Dortmund players. After being squeezed out, he headed to Dynamo Moscow and is now back in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. We saw a glimpse of what he can offer yesterday against Bayern Munich. If he is in form, Wolfsburg has quite an attacking trio with Philipp, Wout Weghorst, and Josip Brekalo.
  • Brekalo also easily could have made it 2-0 in the 12th minute as well, but airmailed his attempt.
  • Robert Lewandowski could have done better with a sleek pass from Thomas Muller in the 17th minute. Bayern seemed to briefly wake up right around then.
  • Overall, Muller was one of the bright spots on the day for Bayern Munich. I thought he was fantastic and creative and a true catalyst to the offense.
  • I think it is fair to say at this point that Gnabry and Sane are both struggling, while Kingsley Coman continues to show he is the best wing on the squad. Coman’s sleek cross that led to a Robert Lewandowski header just before the first half ended was exquisite. Overall, Coman, Muller and Lewandowski once again were carrying the offensive workload.
  • Lewandowski’s second goal was equally impressive, but more because of what led up to it. Muller’s non-stop fight for the ball force a turnover that ended up with Jerome Boateng, who deftly slid a pass to Lewandowski, who buried the chance.
  • Sane is clearly frustrated right now. I won’t say he’s in a funk, but things just aren’t clicking for him. That said, he did some good things as the game went on and was far more active and involved. I’d say this was his most active performance for tracking back so far this season.
  • Aside of an early breakdown, Boateng, Niklas Süle, David Alaba, and Lucas Hernandez were solid on the day. Hernandez and Süle were the standouts within the group, while Alaba continues to scuffle in finding his form. I don’t care what anyone says, his uncertain future is weighing him down.
  • Manuel Neuer’s 85th minute save on a shot from Wout Weghorst was a game-saver and one more bit of proof that Neuer is still the best around.
  • The sequence between Muller, Lewandowski, and Sane in the 89th minute was fantastic. Had the Polish Hitman’s back-heel pass attempt connected with Sane it would have been a candidate for goal of the season.
  • Now, I’m going to give you what you really came here for: The Allianz Arena turf was absolutely not up to par. Granted, Munich has been hit by a few days of rain, but there were players getting snipered and bailing left-and-right out there. The grounds crew at Bayern Munich absolutely needs to get it together and work through this issue. The Bavarians simply cannot be the curators of a sloppy pitch! We all know that at this time of year, there is a nothing worse than a wet grass...surface. Get it together people!

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

Bayern rated No.2 in likelihood to win UCL (@ESPNFC)

Per ESPN’s prediction/analytics site FiveThirtyEight, Manchester City is considered the favorite to win the Champions League at 26% with Bayern Munich coming in second place with 19%:

Lampard defends Havertz (Sport Bild)

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is not happy with the criticism falling on former Bayer Leverkusen ace and Germany international Kai Havertz.

With just one goal and two assists in ten Premier League games, Kai Havertz is starting to draw a bit of fire from Chelsea fans. Overall, Havertz has four goals and four assists in 16 games across all competitions this season.

Still, Lampard knows some fans are growing impatient.

“I would say wait and see and give a young player time, whether it’s a week, a month, six months or a year, and then talk to me again,” said Lampard. “Because I know what kind of player Kai Havertz will be. I have no problem with Kai. Nowadays there is criticism of every player from every club who loses a game. From a Chelsea point of view, we should certainly be patient with Kai Havertz because he is a top talent who is new to this league.”

Barca wants Kamara, too (Mundo Deportivo)

Earlier in the week, we posted about Bayern Munich’s interest in Olympique Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, but it won’t be easy to land the talented 21-year-old. FC Barcelona is among the teams interested in the youngster as well:

The very serious interest of Barça in Boubacar Kamara (21) has been confirmed, and the recommended hiring of the French center will not be easy unless Olympique de Marseille accepts a player exchange. Kamara is valued at 32 million but with, among others, Barça, Bayern and Milan following in his footsteps, in Marseille it is estimated that some team will offer around 60.

€60 million? That seems really high and certainly more than Bayern Munich would be willing to pay (at least that is the way it seems as of now).

Kostic unsure of future with Frankfurt (kicker)

Eintracht Frankfurt star Filip Kostic is not quite sure if he has a future with Eintracht Frankfurt or not:

Filip Kostic is experiencing the “best time of my career” in Frankfurt. Still, the Serbian cannot promise to play for Eintracht after the winter break. “I can’t say that because I don’t know what the club is planning either,” said Kostic in an interview with kicker. At the moment he can say that he “wants to stay”, says Kostic, whose contract runs until June 2023. “But I still don’t know what will happen.”

The 28-year-old winger/outside midfielder would make a fine addition to mostly any team and would be a huge loss to Die Adler if he moves on.

Spurs eyeing Weghorst? (Transfer Market Web)

Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst did not get much service yesterday, but that is not stopping Tottenham Hotspur from kicking the tires on the 28-year-old:

According to Transfermarkt.de, odds are getting lower for Tottenham to accomplish signing 28-year old Dutch striker Wout Weghorst from Wolfsburg. Playing for German club since 2018/19, former AZ Alkmaar hitman is worth around 18 million euros right now.

And now a guest Schmankerl item from our own RLD:

Jordan Huitema leaving Davies in her dust

Scoring for PSG yesterday Jordan Huitema became Canada’s all-time leading scorer in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. It was her sixth goal in that competition, well ahead of her boyfriend’s tally of zero. If Alphonso Davies doesn’t pick it up a notch she is going to leave him far behind.

-RLD

Paris Saint-Germain EA Guingamp - Division 1 Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images