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Four observations from Bayern Munich’s 5-2 win over Benfica in the Champions League

Bayern Munich is officially through the group stage, and they did it with style!

FC Bayern München v SL Benfica: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Shaky defense

Even though Bayern Munich dominated the majority of the match, Bayern’s defense didn’t look all that safe when Benfica was on the counter. Now, a mighty Bayern attack still manages to overshadow the defensive errors, but that might not be the case against much stronger teams in the Champions League. As for today’s match, it was individual defensive mistakes that led to Benfica’s goals. For now, the defense has to be 100% focused on to reduce the mistakes.

The offside rule has to be changed

So, here is the offside:

Today it has worked in Bayern’s favor, but it could also very easily go against Bayern. Pizzi’s hand was offside and in my honest opinion, this rule has to be changed. Pizzi is not even using his hand in any advantage to score a goal. It’s ridiculous to watch every millimeter of a player’s movement, especially if his hand was offside — it’s his natural way of moving

Arsene Wenger proposed a different rule. Well, an update to the current offside rule.

This proposal might humanize this rigid offside rule and also — reduce VAR criticism.

Nagelsmann’s important tweaks

Julian Nagelsmann has managed to tune Bayern’s attacks to perfection. It’s just wonderful how players are combining between themselves and how good and well-organized everything is going.

Nagelsmann organized every detail of Bayern’s attack. The team makes very quick transitions from defensive situations to very dangerous attacking situations. A prime example of how good Bayern’s transition is that Manuel Neuer managed to get an assist today.

Even without Thomas Muller on the pitch (for most of the match), Bayern still manages to press very well and get creative in the penalty area. Another very important Nagelsmann tweak is that the attacking players are very fluid in the final third. Out of nowhere, there is Sane on the right, Gnabry in the middle, and Coman on the left. Just a couple of minutes later, there is an entirely different attacking order where Lewandowski is leading the counter, and Sane is on his way to the penalty box.

Although Bayern was already famous for its wingers constantly switching positions — this is on a whole other level!

When attacking, Bayern is looking pretty, pretty, pretty... pretty good!

It’s just so mesmerizing to watch everyone combine and make beautiful chances. It might even seem that this Bayern is even better than Flick’s Bayern, but still, a loss to Monchengladbach still stings very much. And those kinds of brutal defeats didn’t happen under Flick. The good thing is, the coach and the players moved on past that match.

But I think that Nagelsmann’s presence is very important to the players. Even though Dino Toppmoller gave out Julian’s orders, he still seemed lost at times. Especially during Bayern’s last Pokal match. Whereas Nagelsmann is very active on the touchline and is constantly giving instructions to his players. So maybe the players are also responding better on the pitch.

Miscellaneous observations:

  • Robert Lewandowski finally has constant competition for the Meister of the Match award. Even though the Pole might take the award in almost every match, he is not single-handedly pushing the team.
  • Tanguy Nianzou played a good match. I was personally very surprised by the stability of his passing. He had the most passes out of all Bayern players today — 80 and managed to send 75 of them successfully. It’s an overall 94% accurate passes which is very impressive. Yes, most of those passes were safe ones, but there were a couple of brilliant ones and overall very good for a 19-year-old. Although he could work on getting booked less frequently.
  • Upa was also good today, but he needs to work on his strength for 1v1 duels and he could also be a little more decisive.