After what has felt like weeks of underwhelming performances bailed out by superior individual quality, Bayern have finally been made to pay for their lackluster and undisciplined play in the last two games. Today, an unstructured and sloppy game led Bayern to their earliest DFB Pokal exit since 2000.
Jersey Swap: Jannik Dehm
To be fair, a lot of players on Kiel could have been the recipient of this award. But Dehm’s play at right back coupled with the play of his Bayern counterpart Bouna Sarr helped him edge out the others. Dehm was good in possession and managed his defensive assignments well. With Bayern’s switch-happy attacking front four, Dehm was tasked with covering a number of different Bayern attackers throughout the match, including Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, and Douglas Costa. His pace allowed him to keep them out of dangerous positions all game long, and was a big part of the reason why Bayern had trouble creating dangerous situations.
Der Kaiser: Niklas Süle
Bayern again failed to keep a clean sheet today, in particular with the ball at his feet, Süle had a solid game. While his passing often leaves something to be desired, especially in comparison to Jerome Boateng, he did well getting the ball into dangerous areas today. Deep passes into Bayern’s tucked in wingers or center forward were accurate and well weighted, but his teammates just couldn’t convert those into clear cut chances, often letting the ball get away because of poor touches and/or poor decision making.
While you could argue he misjudged the flight of the ball which lead to the equaliser in the first half, his job at that point was to cover the dropping striker, which he did. Had Sarr tucked in further like he was supposed to, Bartels wouldn’t have had the chance to control the ball and run onto goal as freely as he did.
Fußballgott: Jamal Musiala
For better or for worse, Musiala was all over the pitch today. In Bayerns switch-heavy offense, Gnabry, Sane, Musial, and Müller all switched positions constantly. While he started out on the wings, he occupied the space behind the striker at times, and was also moved to play as an 8 when Hansi Flick tried to switch formations to a 4-3-3. While positional switches can be good to bring the opposition out of their own structure, it hurt Bayern more than it helped them today, and at times it was unclear who was supposed to be where and what roles/duties they were occupying on the pitch.
Nonetheless, Musiala showed good control in tight spaces and a natural instinct to dribble his way out of danger with quick dribbling moves or draw fouls when receiving the ball in disadvantageous positions. His finish in the second half from just outside the area almost found its way past the Kiel keeper, which could have put the game to bed. Musiala certainly showed his age at times today, but in a game where the vastly more experienced Joshua Kimmich, Coco Tolisso and Thomas Müller were largely underwhelming, Musiala gets it by process of elimination.
Der Bomber: Leroy Sané
The Bayern attack lacked creativity and danger throughout most of the 120 minutes today, which is why Leroy Sane’s individual moment of brilliance to give Bayern the lead was enough for him to secure the Der Bomber award. While the effort was there on offense, Bayern’s game was marred by a lack of sharpness and fluidity, and this included Sané. However, his free kick shortly after half-time was a thing of beauty. Taken with pace and an impressive amount of dip, it was virtually unstoppable for the Kiel goalkeeper who, barring his mistake on Serge Gnabry’s offside goal, was mostly faultless.
Meister of the Match: Lucas Hernández
I thought Hernández was far and away the best Bayern player on the pitch. He looked confident and robust in his tackles, used his pace to run down balls played in behind the line, and looked composed with the ball at his feet. He played solid passes to break through Kiel’s lines, carried the ball forward well when those passing lanes were cut off, and, to my surprise, played a handful of great diagonal balls to switch play when the ball-near side of the pitch was unplayable. While his positioning on the late equaliser wasn’t great, it’s not a goal for which I’d place the blame on him, and he showed what he’s capable of playing as the left sided center-back when given the chance. Given Alphonso Davies’ dip in form, it may be time to re-insert Hernandez back into the starting line-up on a more permanent basis, whether that be as a left-back or in the middle flanked by David Alaba.