Bayern Munich downed a very good Bayer Leverkusen squad 2-1 to close out the Hinrunde as the Bavarians will end the first of the season at the top of the table. It was a fascinating contest for both squads, so let’s take a look at some quick hitters on the match:
- Hansi Flick’s decision to play a 4-2–3-1 with David Alaba and Corentin Tolisso as the double-pivot was curious — and proved to be very, very shaky. The duo often left a hug gap on the field with neither midfielder dropping back or checking in to help progress the ball up the field and often did not get back into defensive position quickly enough to provide proper support. When both players were on the ball, they were both inefficient. Overall, it was just not enough from either player. How far behind everyone is Marc Roca that he can’t compete with Tolisso and Alaba, who are both struggling?
- Kingsley Coman’s injury status is uncertain at the moment, but he had struggled a bit with some of his decisions in the final third before exiting. Leroy Sané came in and did not exactly light it up.
- Patrik Schick’s goal was an utter golazo. What a hit! That was incredible and just amazing to see.
- I think the rampant defensive rotations and a makeshift midfield was custom-built to create absolute chaos in the defensive end. Flick has no choice with this, though. His regular midfield starters are both injured (or in Kimmich’s case battling back from an injury), while the manager also needs to constantly rotate his defenders to keep them fresh.
- Robert Lewandowski should have buried that opportunity in the 21st minute, but he flubbed the shot unfortunately. Spoiler alert: He would eventually make up for that.
- Serge Gnabry was listless and often was hurting his team. Gnabry drifted too far centrally too often once again and created extra congestion in the center of the pitch. This is becoming a major issue with both Gnabry and Sané. Gnabry’s poor positioning also left Bayer Leverkusen a wide-open flank to use as a getaway.
- Jamal Musiala and Joshua Kimmich changed the game upon entering for Sané and Tolisso. Musiala just brought more efficiency to the pitch and Kimmich — with his bionic meniscus — was seemingly everywhere. Kimmich dropped deep to help support the back-line and was a constant outlet that neither Alaba nor Tolisso consistently provided. Kimmich’s game-winning assist was the icing on the Hinrunde cake as well.
- Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, and Niklas Süle were fantastic for the game. Lewandowski’s first goal was a game-saver for Bayern Munich as they were reeling at times in the first half. His second goal, however, was the end result of some excellent team play. David Alaba forced Jonathan Tah into a turnover, which Joshua Kimmich scooped up before sliding a perfect pass to a barely-onside Lewandowski for the game winner....WHAT....A...GOAL!
That’s why he’s David Alaba’s choice for “Employee of the Month”!
Employee of the month.— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) December 19, 2020
Nice job, Bob.
- Süle’s effort at right-back should not be overlooked. He stifled Moussa Diaby all game long and was just rock solid on the day. Overall, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, and David Alaba were all stellar on the day, even if they all experienced some hiccups at times.
- Süle’s golf buddy Müller was equally as impressive in creating offense — and havoc — throughout the game. The Raumdeuter’s assist on Lewandowski’s first goal was absolutely sublime. Müller also had to use his leadership skills after the game when a visibly distant Sané needed some support. Müller chatted with (consoled?) a clearly frustrated and distraught Sané.
- Müller was also all over the pitch. Wherever support was needed, he chipped in. At points he was so deep that it looks as if he was joining the back-line, but that is what make him so great. He reads and reacts to the game in real-time and makes adjustments that just make his team better in every way.
- It should be noted that Bayer Leverkusen showed a tremendous amount of class in presenting Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer with gift for their recent FIFA’s “Best” awards.
Whatever you think about Bayer Leverkusen, they have been extremely great to work with for us here at BFW. Die Werkself gave BFW the opportunity ask Peter Bosz a couple of question on Friday and we received the responses back just prior to game time. Here is how that went down (remember, these were asked on Friday):
BFW: Florian Wirtz is one of the brightest young prospects in the Bundesliga and at 17-years-old is just at the beginning of what looks to be a long and successful career. How important is this game for a young player like Wirtz to be able to rise to the occasion and have a good game against the reigning treble-winners in a match like this for the lead in the table?
Peter Bosz: It’s really important. Players only get better from big games. If you play these games and you learn from mistakes. And he [Wirtz] will probably make some tomorrow. Then he will become a better player. Top players need top games to develop themselves.
BFW: Leon Bailey is on track to have the best year of his career. In your time in charge, how has Bailey changed on the field, and what reasons would you give for his improved form?
Peter Bosz: First with that you have to define when is a player playing good. For me it’s not when he just makes one goal; for me it’s important when they are performing at a high level ALL the time. And, I have to give the credit to Leon, this season he has performed every game. Not just part of the game, but every [full] game at a high level. And if you want to become a big player, you have to do this. He’s doing it.
Big thanks to Bayer Leverkusen for working with us on that. They are truly a great ambassador for the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with SpVgg Unterhaching and one of the highlights of the game was this free kick conversion from Fiete Arp, who has proven to be pretty lethal from that area this season:
Somewhere, Freddy Adu just threw his glass against the wall.
Alphonso Davies is the first player from North America to make the FIFPro Men’s World XI pic.twitter.com/66zBq8c4BQ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 18, 2020
According to Corriere dello Sport, Manchester United management are still pondering over a winter move on Danish international midfielder Christian Eriksen (28). Parting ways with Inter Milan soon, former Tottenham playmaker is still tracked by a bunch more clubs, notably Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin, and PSG.
At this point, I still say Hertha Berlin is an ideal landing spot for Eriksen. Playing time at just about every other potential destination could be iffy. Hertha Berlin could surely use a legitimate playmaker, but it remains to be seen if Eriksen would want to make the jump to the Bundesliga — for a club not generally considered to be true contender for European play (at least as of now).