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Season player ratings: Bayern Munich’s forwards

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Bayern Munich transformed into an offensive powerhouse in season 2019/20. In the final part of the series, we look at the individual campaigns of our attackers.

Olympique Lyonnais v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Photo by Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s attacking style was simply mesmerizing for football fans all over the world. The season 2019/20 saw Bayern’s offensive powerhouse score 155 goals in all competitions and shatter plenty of records on the way.

The treble winners were full of creative ideas in the final third as they disoriented opponents with their technical finesse and off-the-ball work. Apart from their attacking quality, depth also played a key role as the Bavarians’ had the option of bringing on players like Joshua Zirkzee, Philippe Coutinho, and Ivan Perišić to run at tired legs.

Without further ado, here are the individual ratings from coach Hansi Flick’s attacking force:


Wingers:

Ivan Perišić: A-

Minutes played: 1756
Goals: 8
Assists: 10

Arguably the second-best acquisition of this season, Perišić delivered reliable performances in his season-long loan at Bayern. The world-cup finalist was efficient in his style and his positional plays were a joy to watch. He also had a relatively better final ball than his competitors and completed as much as 0.61 crosses per 90 minutes (second-highest after Muller), as per FBref.

A diligent off-the-ball worker, the Croatian international was rigorous in his pressing and willingly tracked back to help in defense. His total 18.1 pressures per 90 were the second highest in the team.

It’s a shame Bayern will be losing a perfect utility player in Perišić. We, as Bayern fans, can only thank him for his important contributions. Danke Ivan!

Kingsley Coman: B+

Minutes played: 2336
Goals: 8
Assists: 7

Kingsley Coman has been subjected to a lot of criticism, mainly due to his subpar end-product. However, it’s often easy to forget how important “Mr. Lisbon” was in other facets of Bayern’s play.

Throughout the season, the Frenchman stretched the play with his work in wider part of the pitch, opening up space for his teammates in the central areas. His take-ons and ability to move the ball through tight situations were very valuable. The fleet-footed winger’s performance in the Champions League final showed exactly what he brings to the table as he tormented the Paris Saint-Germain defense with his dribbling prowess.

Moreover, Kingsley’s final pass has improved whenever he has regained full fitness. Wingers like him do not come cheap. With Leroy Sane’s arrival, Coman will have plenty of rest and recovery time to improve his in-game efficiency.

Serge Gnabry: A

Minutes: 3346
Goals: 23
Assists: 14

Serge Gnabry’s numbers have been a bit streaky, but Bayern posed a superior goal-scoring threat whenever the Germany international was on the pitch.

An interesting aspect of Gnabry’s style is how he plays with a certain degree of autonomy. His decision-making can be head scratching as he often looks for a shot; a reason his 0.35 goals per shot-on-target ratio saw him drop to 7th in the table. But that is the nature of the chef’s game and he has thrived playing with this kind of freedom.

After playing a part in 22 goals last season, Gnabry made massive improvements as he had a hand in 37 goals this season. He frequently terrorized opponents with his combination of burst-speed, in-behind runs and shooting prowess.


Attacking-midfielders:

Philippe Coutinho: B-

Minutes: 2148
Goals: 11
Assists: 9

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho received a great career-boost after moving to Bayern. However, the deficiencies in his game quickly surfaced as the season wore on.

19 goals + assists is a nice tally but the Brazilian was inconsistent and painfully slow in his final ball. In his Bundesliga starts, Coutinho had a hand in 13 goals, but those contributions came in just 6 out of 15 starts. Moreover, his 8 goals and 6 assists in the league came from 7 out of total 22 games in which he was on field for at least 20 minutes.

Nevertheless, the little magician was completely professional in his tenure and delivered a fantastic performance in Bayern’s historic 8-2 win against Barcelona.

Thomas Muller: A+

Minutes: 3493
Goals: 14
Assists: 26

What a season it was for Thomas!

Muller had difficult start to the season as he lost his place in the starting XI after two games. Yet despite his demotion to a bench player under Niko Kovac, Muller managed to contribute whenever he was brought on, picking up 8 combined goals and assists in his limited 661 minutes. Once Hansi Flick took over, 2019/20 turned out to be the best season for der Raumdeuter, who went on to establish himself as the best attacking midfielder in the world. The two-time treble winner was involved in a goal every 85 minutes and set a new Bundesliga record with 21 assists. His accurate decision-making, quick thinking, and slick passing made him an ideal provider for the rest of the attackers.

In addition to dangerous off-the-ball movement, the world-cup winner’s development from shadow-striker to a much more involved attacking midfielder was clearly visible. The self-styled space-interpreter registered the highest xG-chain per 90 (1.45) by supplying at least 3 key-passes per game to his teammates.

An advocate of high-press, it is no surprise that Flick regards Muller as one of his most-important players. The Bavarian workhorse was crucial in organizing the press, disrupted the opposition’s buildup, and fought till the very last minute. He was amongst the highest contributors in defense and covered every blade of grass with his immense workrate.


Strikers:

Joshua Zirkzee: B-

Minutes: 318
Goals: 4
Assists: 0

Youngster Joshua Zirkzee played well in his three starts as Lewandowski’s deputy. Whenever he got the chance, he took his chances nicely and came-up clutch in helping Bayern secure two victories against Freiburg and Wolfsburg. The Dutch international is much more raw in his development as compared to his competitor Jann-Fiete Arp. His interpretation of open space and holdup-play needs work, but at 19 years of age, he has plenty of time to work on his weaknesses.

Hopefully, the teenager will receive plenty of opportunities to feature from the bench in the hectic schedule of the upcoming season.

Robert Lewandowski: A+

Minutes: 4130

Goals: 55

Assists: 10

As experienced by Bayern fans over the years, every time it felt Robert Lewandowski couldn’t get any better, the Pole came back next season and managed to top his previous campaign.

The reason Lewandowski has performed at this level for so long and will continue for years is that he is always striving to improve his game. The timing of his runs and finishing technique is simply unmatched in modern football. Per opta, Lewandowski’s xG/90 have increased in each of his seasons, regardless of Bayern going through “a bit of a wild-west period” after the Guardiola-era.

A true team-player, Lewandowski was as important in the buildup as he was in front of goal. Despite spearheading the attack, the Polish Hitman was involved in 43 open-play sequences that resulted in a goal (highest in the team), 100 shot-creating actions, and completed 60 dribbles (third highest in both). No striker possesses his link-up and hold-up play.

Off the pitch, everything from his diet to his lifestyle has been lauded by pundits and fans alike. Most recently, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted that Robert Lewandowski is probably the best professional he has seen at Bayern. Being a role model for his teammates, it may not be wrong to think Lewandowski has had an influence on the physical transformation of his Leon Goretzka, Coutinho, and Alphonso Davies.


Overall offensive rating: A+

It’s hard not to give the perfect rating to an offense that scored 43 goals in UCL and 97 goals in the Bundesliga.

From goal-fests to grinding out wins, Bayern’s attack just knew how to get on the scoresheet. “The defense starts from the top” principle was followed to the fullest extent as the attackers ran rampant, gegenpressing their opponents.

Bayern recorded sensational figures in attack. But even more remarkable was the fact that the club did it without star winger Leroy Sane. If his integration goes as planned, Bayern’s attack is destined to reach unimaginable heights.