Doing match awards can be very easy when a game is evenly played, but when a fixture is a blowout like the 5-0 beatdown that Bayern Munich just put on Fortuna Düsseldorf, there are often many players who deserve kudos.
Simply put, there were roughly 10 or 11 players who had moments of brilliance of today that would normally get recognized with an award. Alas, we only have four slots to play with. Because of that, extremely good efforts from players like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, and Leon Goretzka are left out in the cold today, despite each player being stellar. Heck, even Lucas Hernandez put in a pretty solid effort in the first-half before being subbed off with an adductor injury.
Anyway, here we go:
Jersey Swap: Florian Kastenmeier
Any time a goalkeeper gives up five goals, a Jersey Swap might be met with an eye roll, but Kastenmeier was victimized by an own-goal, hurt by some absolutely shoddy man-marking, and was constantly under duress — especially after Fortuna Düsseldorf was forced to try and actually play when falling behind 2-0. Once Uwe Rösler gave his team the order to open things up, Bayern Munich seized the moment.
Overall, Kastenmeier saw the Bavarians attempt 21 shots, with eight finding their way on target. It was Bayern Munich’s relentless pressure, however, that allowed Kastenmeier’s resolve to be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary day for the visitors.
Tip of the Cap: Alphonso Davies
This was truly the hardest selection as Goretzka and Muller each made a very strong case for inclusion, but after some shaky moments early on, Davies once again showed just how disruptive he can be.
Goretzka’s positioning, dedication to tracking back, and overall metamorphosis into a midfielder that can both stay home when needed and join the attack on-demand is pretty astounding, while Muller’s vision and creativity today were a big part of the squad’s offensive flow. Still, Davies earned the nod with a goal and even more flashes of brilliance.
It is worth mentioning, however, that Ian Paul Joy’s assessment of Davies from this week’s episode of Bavarian Podcast Works is pretty spot-on for the young Canadian at this stage of his career. Give it a listen a when you can.
As Joy said, Davies has been able to rely on his superior speed to help makeup for positional deficiencies, but he is also learning to prevent those lapses. Early in the game, Davies was caught out of position a few times, but he fixed those issues as the game went on and is showing that continuing growth and evolution that we all love to see from a young player.
Golf Clap: Joshua Kimmich
With 116 touches on the ball (per WhoScored.com) Kimmich was Bayern Munich’s most actively involved performer, but he was also one of the most effective and efficient players throughout the game.
Kimmich was an extremely stable presence and helped Bayern Munich stay patient as it sought out a solution to Fortuna Düsseldorf’s initial strategy to try and muck the game up. The dynamic interplay with Muller and Lewandowski on the third goal was fantastic and the exact reason why Kimmich has cemented himself as a dynamic presence in the midfield.
Standing Ovation: Robert Lewandowski
Entering the game, Fortuna Dusseldorf was the only Bundesliga side that Lewandowski had not scored against in his career, but he made up for that lost time with a brace. As he always seems to do, Lewandowski seized the opportunities he was given and put the game firmly out of reach by finishing a couple of tremendous plays. It was yet another brilliant performance in a season where Lewandowski has arguably been the best player — not just striker — on the planet.
Meister of the Match: Benjamin Pavard
Right now, the man is straight fire.
Pavard had another sensational effort as he was an absolute force for the Bavarians from the right-back position. While he was not tested much defensively, the Frenchman continued his scorching hot offensive play. Pavard sent in the shot attempt that resulted in an own goal for the opener, before he set up Thomas Muller for a terrific attempt which led to the corner where Pavard headed in Bayern Munich’s second goal.
Pavard even unleashed another solid volley attempt — which is quickly rivaling his adept headers as a trademark move for the 24-year-old. If there is one player who found a way to keep working and improve his own game during the quarantine, it is Pavard.