Bayern Munich once again got off to a slow start, but came storming back in the second half to secure a 5-2 victory. With a brace from Robert Lewandowski and individual goals from Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane, and Niklas Süle, the Bavarians battled back from a 2-0 deficit to down a feisty Mainz 05 side. Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Bayern Munich misses Kingsley Coman in a bad way. Neither Leroy Sane nor Serge Gnabry was sharp once again for the entirety of the contest, but both ended up making big contributions in one way or another. Gnabry’s decision-making was poor at times and you can tell that both Sane and Gnabry are pressing to produce. That’s not an excuse for them, but you can see it in how they’re playing. Being a forward is not easy, but both players did pick up their performances as the game went on. Sane, of course, scored Bayern Munich’s second goal to tie game at 2-2, while Gnabry drew the penalty that eventually gave the Bavarians a 4-2 lead after Lewandowski converted the penalty kick. Gnabry ultimately left the game with an injury as well. Overall, though, that was much better from the duo.
- The high back-line was victimized on several occasions early in the game. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng were not strong centrally and neither were able to track-back fast enough on several occasions to account for Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies bombing up the offensive flanks. That all solidified a bit when Niklas Süle entered the game for Boateng after halftime.
- Süle not only solidified the back-line, but scored the game-winner with a terrific half-volley effort. Let the big man eat!
- Speaking of Davies, that was not his finest showing early on in some respects, but he ended up finishing the game in a very solid way. He had one of those “miss on some easy plays, make good on the hard plays” kind of days.
- I might be in the minority, but I didn’t have an issue with the non-call on Mainz forward Jonathan Burkardt that led to the 20-year-old’s goal. Burkhardt certainly used his shoulder to make contact with Boateng’s back, but Boateng’s poor positioning left him in that vulnerable state. On that type of play, I’d probably guess a referee calls a foul 50% of the time. In that instance, Burkardt was given the benefit of the doubt.
- Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng had to do a much better job defending Andreas Hack’s header goal. That was unacceptable defending at a key juncture of the game. That fault lies mainly on Müller for that, but better communication overall could have prevented such an open look.
- Müller’s work-rate was high, but his decision-making and execution were lacking in the first half. As a team, the collective decision-making was not great, I suppose. Regardless, Müller totally redeemed himself with a sensational assist on Robert Lewandowski’s second goal of the game to make it 5-2.
- Manuel Neuer was on-point. His value to this squad is off-the-charts.
- Corentin Tolisso showed why he’s the odd-man out of the midfield mix. His passing (83%) and decision-making were questionable at times. Tolisso just looks like he’s fighting himself on some plays. The talent is there, but he is another player who could be succumbing to the pressure to perform. When you are fighting for playing time and every touch counts, it can be extremely easy to let one bad pass or one bad touch start to snowball. Unfortunately, that is what it looks like Tolisso is battling. Tolisso did, however, have a strong showing in winning eight of his 11 ground duels.
- Kimmich moved to right-back after halftime and scored within six minutes. This was big for a few reasons. First, it cut the deficit for Bayern Munich and gave the Bavarians some momentum early in the second half. Second, it pretty much confirms that Pavard is firmly in Flick’s doghouse. Flick’s decision to keep Tolisso on the field and yank Pavard was very telling as Tolisso was arguably Bayern’s worst player in the first half.
- It should be noted that the midfield play was also stabilized when Leon Goretzka entered the game after halftime. It was a quietly strong effort for Goretzka.
- Mainz GK Finn Dahmen is only 22-tyears-old, but he was fantastic. That seems odd to say about a kid, who gave up five goals, but it’s true. That was an impressive showing for the young keeper.
- And yeah, this pretty much sums it up:
Bayern Munich have gone behind in their last 8 league games but are still unbeaten. pic.twitter.com/gymb46ppRE— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) January 3, 2021
United were desperate to sign Jadon Sancho in the summer, but they ultimately failed in their plot. Borussia Dortmund demanded £109m for the Englishman which Old Trafford officials refused to meet. And with the 20-year-old failing to score a league goal so far, the Red Devils are prepared to call off a summer raid and with Amad Diallo arriving this month, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has other areas of the squad to improve.
Sancho, who scored yesterday in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg, is clearly not having a great season, but it is way too early to write him off.
Real Madrid might be looking to add David Alaba — and alleged Bayern Munich target Eduardo Camavinga. One has to wonder how that will affect some of the players on their roster who are expected to negotiate with the club in the coming weeks.
One-time Bayern Munich target Krzysztof Piatek looks like he is headed back to Genoa from Hertha Berlin:
On his way for a trade again, Polish international striker Krzysztof Piatek (25) is meant to be leaving Hertha Berlin soon, and join Genoa back. Hailing from second-to-bottom ranking, Il Grifone are fetching former AC Milan hitman back, on an overall 25 million euros operation.
If true, would this give Hertha Berlin the cash needed to procure a talent like Luka Jovic?
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly rejected two different Juventus players as part of a potential swap deal for Paul Pogba:
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t want to sign either Aaron Ramsey or Douglas Costa as part of a swap deal with Juventus for Paul Pogba, according to reports. The 2018 World Cup winner could leave the Red Devils when the transfer window reopens at the end of the campaign. But the Premier League giants don’t want to part ways with the 27-year-old easily, despite his long-standing desire to leave.
I know there is some heat between Pogba and Manchester United, but Juventus had better come a little stronger than Ramsey or Costa for Pogba.
Sport Bild chief Christian Falk hit Twitter to flexxxx on all of those David Alaba-to-Real Madrid rumors. First, Falk gave the “not true” treatment to Marca’s initial report (which we covered here):
And then, Falk provided a “true” on Sky Sports’ story that refuted Marca’s initial report (which we covered here):