Bayern Munich stretched their perfect record in the Champions League to five wins, zero draws, and zero losses with their 2-1 win at Dynamo Kyiv at the Olympic National Sports Complex in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman in the first half was enough to see Julian Nagelsmann’s side through on a snowy night in the Ukrainian capital. Denys Harmash’s goal for the home side in the 70th minute proved to be nothing more than just a consolation despite a spirited effort in the second half to find their way back.
With the amount of players Nagelsmann didn’t have available due to suspensions, injuries and coronavirus quarantines, he was only able to list a total of six substitutes on the bench, two of which were backup keepers Sven Ulreich and Christian Fruchtl. In different circumstances, Nagelsmann might’ve been able to make some rotations for this match since Bayern has already clinched advancement to the knockout stages, but he wound fielding a starting eleven the closely resembled the strongest possible. Matters were made even worse when Lucas Hernandez had to come off at the halftime break due to an injury and was replaced by Bouna Sarr.
Despite having such a thin squad at the moment, Naglesmann said he was still pleased with the overall performance his side put forth in Kyiv. “Considering the circumstances, that we had a lot of absentees and then Lucas Hernandez had to come off, it was a deserved victory, I think. We then still had to change the basic order, which then took a while. But we bit well,” he said after the match (Tz).
Lewandowski’s bicycle goal in the 14th minute to break the deadlock will certainly be at the forefront of the highlight reels from this encounter, but Nagelsmann said he really enjoyed the nature in which both goals were scored. Lewandowski’s technique to make the proper connection on the bicycle attempt after a botched clearance by Kyiv from Benjamin Pavard’s strike was nothing short of sublime, but Nagelsmann really enjoyed the passing sequence that led to Coman’s goal. Thomas Muller’s dummy capped off what was a solid sequence in the buildup to the goal. “Of course, Lewy did an outstanding job, but as a soccer aesthete, I think the other goal with the passing was great, too,” Nagelsmann said.
KINGSLEY COMAN— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 23, 2021
He scores his first Champions League goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/rCqeFAjV3f
Nagelsmann has had to tweak the backline, utilizing both a back-four and a back-three at times out of necessity based on limited personnel being available. Against Augsburg last week, the back three was exposed a great deal and caused Bayern loads of problems. Despite hanging on for the 2-1 win in Kyiv, Nagelsmann felt that the back line could have been more active pushing forward. “We didn’t push forward enough from the three-man backline because we weren’t active enough. We can do better than that,” he explained.
At this juncture, only Bayern, Liverpool and Ajax have perfect records in the Champions League, but Bayern has the best goal difference of those teams (16). Despite their flying form in Europe this season, Nagelsmann isn’t at all interested in talking about potentially making it to the final in St. Petersburg, Russia. “There’s still a long way to go until then. We need to be more stable. Manu [Neuer] had to make one or two saves today. That must not happen to us against the really big lumps,” he said.