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Three observations from Bayern Munich’s 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen

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A slow start by Bayern was rectified by two rapid goals just before halftime, breaking Leverkusen’s resolve.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Buffretzka is Bestretzka

What did Leon Goretzka DO during lockdown? What did they FEED him? He’s a monster. Since the restart, the guy has been an absolute tank in midfield for Bayern Munich.

Starting alongside Joshua Kimmich today, Goretzka terrorized Bayer Leverkusen all throughout the game. The 25-year-old German pressed and ran like a maniac, and it was his slicing pass that opened up Kingsley Coman for the Bavarians’ equalizer. Then there was his goal, which was a thundering counterattack started by his own pass. Goretzka’s display gets a 10/10 — a true MotM performance.

The game also shows his development as a footballer. Goretzka’s not just focused on his physicality anymore, he’s elevated his game to the point where he’s doing everything that should be expected of a midfielder, kind of like a prototype of Bastian Schweinsteiger. The way he’s improved leads me to only one conclusion — Leon stores his football knowledge in his biceps.

Swoleretzka’s renaissance gives Hansi Flick another selection headache to deal with, as it means he’ll have to put Thiago Alcantara on the bench. Who will he choose to go forward with? It’s a tough question, made tougher by the Spaniard’s contract situation. Let’s hope he finds the right answer.

A different winger setup

After Leverkusen scored the opener, Bayern Munich shifted the standard formation around. Coman went across to link up with Alphonso Davies on the left, while Serge Gnabry took the Frenchman’s position on the right. It was an interesting tactical switch by Hansi Flick that clearly yielded results — both wingers ended up with goals — but why did he do it?

Perhaps it was just a matter of giving Davies a more like-for-like partner on the left. With Coman’s pace, the pair could double-team Amiri and cause havoc on Bayer’s right. According to Whoscored, over 40% of Bayern’s attacks came from the left hand side of the pitch, with only 28% and 32% coming from the middle and right respectively. Overloading this side of the pitch was apparently the goal of the switch, and it worked brilliantly to open up Leverkusen — Bayern’s opener came from a Coman run down the left hand side.

However, if it is this effective, you have to wonder why Bayern don’t use this setup more often. Perhaps the reason is that overloading one wing won’t work against more compact teams, and this was just a one-off by Hansi to gain the upper-hand against Bosz. In any case, it’s an interesting tactical scenario to ponder. Bayern Munich can look very different depending on which winger plays on which flank. It’s a form of tactical flexibility that may give the club an edge in bigger games.

It’s a crime that Thomas Müller isn’t on the national team anymore

Thomas Müller was sublime once again. With assists for Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski, he brings his total for the season up to twenty. Twenty assists — that’s how many Thomas Müller has managed in the Bundesliga this season. He’s well on course to break Kevin De Bruyne’s assist record, and he’s doing it in a year in which the coach didn’t let him start two months in a row.

Instead of rehearsing Niko Kovac’s transgressions for the millionth time in a row, let’s instead focus our metaphorical laser-beams at Germany coach Joachim Low. This guy seriously intends to go into the Euros next year without the best attacking midfielder in the world. Are people at the DFB watching these games? How can they not be questioning Jogi’s judgement yet?

It’s a shame he’ll miss the game against Mönchengladbach. Hopefully whoever takes his place can keep Bayern’s momentum going.

Miscellaneous observations:

  • Hansi uses Bayern’s €80m euro record transfer for time wasting. Big Flick Energy right there.
  • The ref was questionable. How Muller and Lewandowski were carded is a mystery.
  • Not getting to see Kai Havertz in this game was a huge disappointment. He might have made a huge difference in Bayer’s attack.
  • Ivan Perisic isn’t amazing.
  • Manuel Neuer probably didn’t appreciate conceding a last-minute goal against a 17-year-old. Bayern’s defending in general was all over the place.