Bayern Munich got back to its winning ways after the now-infamous DFB-Pokal knockout. It was an anxious battle towards the end with Union threatening to come back in the game. Bayern however outclassed their opposition with their master burglar Thomas Muller stealing the show.
It was a beautiful and tenacious performance to drag his team on when they needed him the most. His tackle in the final 10 minutes of the game in Union’s own half to win back the ball before orchestrating another attack was a delight to watch and that drive showed the path for his teammates to close the game. Having said that, Bayern still have a lot work left to be done before getting back to their machine-level perfection. Here the observations:
A chaotic goal-fest
This game was the definition of chaos, especially in the second half. The game got to such a point of unpredictability that no lead by either side seemed insurmountable before the final whistle. Bayern scored three goals in the first half and looked confident to maintain their lead and even extend it, going into the break. However, that wasn’t to be the case as Union’s own sharpness to exploit Bayern’s lapses in intensity caught the visitors off guard. Muller had a fantastic night today. He was probably the only one having some semblance of control past the hour mark as he took charge in the chaos to create chances and score that much needed 5th goal.
Union once again exposes how to beat Bayern
A fast counter, in your face bone crunching tackles, throwing bodies behind the ball and bringing raw physicality. These are the qualities in oppositions that have made Bayern truly suffer in the recent past — not counting some ref gaffes...cough...Real Madrid...cough.
Union also happens to be one of the few teams in Germany and Europe that executes most if not all of the strategies mentioned above. A lot of teams play bold against Bayern as they should, but once Bayern beat them down with two, three, or even four goals; the general and logical tendency is to shut up shop and see the game out. Their attacks do not have the same confidence and tenacity as they did before conceding the goals.
Union however are one of the few teams that really don’t care. You could put ten goals past them and see that their belief to score past you hasn’t receded one bit. You put 10 goals past them? No problem, they still believe they can always score and make sure that the game is alive with their tenacity. It’s what makes them such a fun team to watch.
Underwhelming Kimmi-sso pairing in midfield
Corentin Tolisso and Joshua Kimmich were the central midfield pairing behind Thomas Muller today. Tolisso is a great baller no question. But, barring the season under the Don, Jupp Heynckes, Coco has always looked out of place with Bayern. Whether it’s the injuries, lack of long stretches with the team together, several coach changes in between those injuries, Tolisso still hasn’t found his feet with this club. It’s hard to see it as a fan, especially considering Coco himself was a fan of the club in his childhood.
Today was better in terms of going forward, Tolisso usually slowed down the team under Hansi Flick, but that wasn’t the case today. For the most part he was in sync with his teammates going forward. But that cannot be said of him when the team was defending.
Kimmich wasn’t having a great day, which coupled with Tolisso’s sporadic availability during defensive moments, meant it didn’t take long for things to get icky at the back. Tolisso did not attempt any tackles at all and was missed in several moments by his teammates behind him. His passing was below par too. His pass success rate of 80 was the lowest among the team barring Robert Lewandowski and Muller. Given where and how those two play, it can be safe to say that Bayern’s midfield standards expect much better from the Frenchman.