Initial reactions and observations
- Bayern Munich did much better in the second half, hemming Benfica in and peppering their goal with chances. Subbing Pavard for Gnabry gave the Bavarians an actual attacking threat from the right, and the Portuguese side fell apart soon after.
- Leroy Sane has been magnificent this season. He’s taken a level in every aspect of his play — positioning, passing, runs, shooting, and even free kicks. Today he played like the player he gets paid to be. Coman’s salary demands are currently looking tough to justify.
- Let’s not forget Manuel Neuer! The Bayern captain kept things level while his team was struggling to find its feet. His saves were definitely the difference today, as Benfica played far better than the 4-0 scoreline suggests.
- Lots of Barcelona fans probably breathed a sigh of relief at Sane’s goal. You’re welcome!
- Bayern Munich are in a good position to top their Champions League group. Nags is doing well in the competition thus far.
Full time: Benfica 0-4 Bayern Munich.
83’ — GOAL! Sane gets another! 4-0 to Bayern!
82’ — GOAL! Lewandowski makes it three! Looks like that puts the game to bed.
79’ — GOAL! Own goal for Benfica. Gnabry forces Everton to head it in.
69’ — GOAL! WHAT A STRIKE BY LEROY SANE! EXCELLENT FREE KICK!
65’ — We’re 65 minutes in and now Gnabry is on for Pavard. Maybe time to attack some more down the right.
51’ — Now Thomas Muller’s goal has been ruled out for offside.
45’ — The second half is underway!
Halftime observations and analysis
- Benfica have frustrated Bayern Munich quite well, but the strange formation hasn’t helped. Nagelsmann maybe shouldn’t have gone for this weird asymmetrical back-three.
- Benjamin Pavard just doesn’t work as a right wingback. He can’t attack, and this position means he can’t defend either. With Nags out, ToppMoller should sub the Frenchman off and switch to a standard 4-2-3-1.
- Having two wingers on the left to offset Alphonso Davies’ absence isn’t working so far. Maybe a normal formation would work better.
Halftime: 0-0 to both sides.
42’ — Handball. Lewandowski’s goal has been ruled out.
30’ — We’re half an hour in and no goals yet. Bayern are really struggling to break down this defense.
Kickoff: We’re underway in Lisbon!
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Kingsley Coman returns to the XI, while Sabitzer gets his first start!
Unfortunately, coach Thomas Muller better be up to the task, because Julian Nagelsmann is sitting this one out.
Julian Nagelsmann will not be on Bayern's bench tonight because he's 'unwell' [@altobelli13]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 20, 2021
Get well soon, Julian!
After winning the Champions League here one year ago, Bayern Munich once again return to familiar hunting grounds in the Estadio da Lux. This time, the hosts are home and ready to play — SL Benfica will be looking for all three points.
Julian Nagelsmann needs to win this game without two key players. Alphonso Davies, who has been the coach’s star man throughout the season, misses this one due to a hamstring injury. He’ll likely have to be replaced by Lucas Hernandez. Meanwhile Leon Goretzka is likely to be out due to a cold, which gives Marcel Sabitzer a chance to show what he’s capable of in a proper 90 minute game.
For Nagelsmann, this’ll be a test of his ability to adapt to crappy circumstances. Benfica are no pushovers — they’re a legitimately good team. To beat them away from home without two key players is a huge challenge for any manager. Can he rise to the task?
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST
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