Snow Games, Schmo Games. Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski deserves the Ballon d’Or and he showed just why yet again with this incredible bicycle-kick early in the first half in Kyiv. Lewandowski is the most indispensable player in all of world football. Just sit back and enjoy, y’all.
Robert Lewandowski takes a ride on the bicycle in the snow! What a goal to open the scoring for Bayern Munich #UCL ❄️— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) November 23, 2021
(via @CBSSportsGolazo) pic.twitter.com/OtgcX8Ce6f
Bayern’s depth survives
With Joshua Kimmich, Jamala Musiala, Eric Choupo-Moting, Serge Gnabry and Michaël Cuisance out due to their unvaxxed status, Niklas Süle and Josip Stanisic positive for COVID-19, Marcel Sabitzer out due to injury, FC Bayern’s depth was heavily tested with names such as Corentin Tolisso starting and Malik Tillman and Christian Früchtl being some of the better bench options.
Taking a 2-0 lead in a snowy Kyiv with a heavily depleted bench was a great sign considering the implosion vs Augsburg this past weekend. Coming into the second half, Bouna Sarr was substituted for what would later be confirmed as an injured Hernandez. The display of Bayern between the first half and second half was stark, with Kyiv almost making this match a draw late into the second half. Building off of that note...
Joshua Kimmich’s selfishness is hurting Bayern
This game (as well as Augsburg) are a clear showcase that Kimmich is arguably the second most indispensable player of Bayern behind Lewandowski. While Leon Goreztka is a world-class midfielder in his own right, Bayern simply do not have the replacement for Kimmich. Frankly, who does? Kimmich is by most metrics one of the, or in this writer's opinion, the single most influential midfielder in the world. His inability to remain on the field due to his selfishness of refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine is actively hurting Bayern. Bayern’s midfield had trouble with Dynamo Kyiv for some rather lengthy stretches of this match, especially in the second half. With our defense already as inconsistent as its been, the midfield needs to act like the first line of defense and without Kimmich it is significantly weak. News of Musiala and Gnabry getting vaccinated are undoubtedly big boosts to the squad, but as long as Kimmich remains unvaccinated, Bayern run the risk of losing one of their most important players at any given moment.
Bayern’s perfect start
This marks Bayern’s fifth win in five games. Holding an elite 19 goals for vs. three goals against, this 2-1 win sealed Bayern’s position at the top of Group E. For all of the rightful criticism about Nagelsmann in the Bundesliga, he seems to have zero issues when it comes to not only dispatching but utterly controlling the UEFA Champions League. Next step in preparing for our Round of 16 opponents.
Bayern seal top spot in Group E #UCL pic.twitter.com/aMAcPOIAEm— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 23, 2021
Hernandez injury hurts
With Bayern already dealing with mass-squad depth issues, having Lucas Hernandez, who is having a fantastic season, get injury seems like a “kicked while we’re down” moment. As captured by @iMiaSanMia, Bayern have confirmed Hernandez’s injury. With Süle being “to be determined”, the question now lies with who will take Hernandez’s spot and what impact that will have on Bayern’s immediate slate of games.
Julian Nagelsmann: "Given the circumstances, the personnel situation and the fact that Lucas Hernández also had to be subbed off due to an injury, it was a deserved win I think. We had situations where we missed the last pass, we conceded an unlucky goal. Overall it was okay" pic.twitter.com/MUqXfMe1Qa— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 23, 2021
BTW, we have a podcast on all things Bayern Munich. If you missed our postgame show, give it a listen ...