Bayern Munich returned to the win column in the Bundesliga with a hard fought, 1-0 win over DSC Arminia Bielefeld at the Allianz Arena thanks to a second half strike from Leroy Sane. It was a significantly improved performance from the 2-1 loss last week at FC Augsburg despite how hard Bayern had to work to break down a well drilled, well disciplined Bielefeld side that were kept in the match on a handful of (no pun intended) occasions by keeper Stefan Ortega. The result keeps Bayern at the top of the table after 13 match weeks and they’ve now set a club and Bundesliga record for the most goals scored in a calendar year (102).
Julian Nagelsmann made just one change to the starting lineup from the side the topped Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 midweek in the snowy Ukrainian capital as he brought back Dayot Upamecano to replace Tanguy Nianzou. Nagelsmann is still without a handful of players due to coronavirus quarantines, but he was able to get enough from the players he has available against Bielefeld. While it was a much better collective effort altogether from Bayern than last week’s 2-1 loss to Augsburg, Nagelsmann also singled out a few players that he felt showed a signifcant individual improvement from last week.
“I think we played a good game and did better than against Augsburg. Individually, players like [Corentin] Tolisso and [Benjamin Pavard] also did better, [Jamal] Musiala when he came on we well. It was important that we kept a clean sheet,” Nagelsmann explained after the match, as transcribed by @iMiaSanMia on Twitter. Both Tolisso and Pavard played the full 90(+) minutes and Nagelsmann had surprisingly made the decision to bring on Musiala for Leon Goretzka in the 56th minute in what wasn’t exactly a like for like switch. Musiala occupied a slighlty deeper lying role than he’s used to, which follows Nagelsmann discussing the possibility of using the 18-year old as a number 6 in midfield for next week’s der Klassiker against Borussia Dormtund since Joshua Kimmich still won’ be available.
On the balance, the 1-0 score line perhaps flatters Bielefeld just a bit, but ahead of next week’s massive clash at Dortmund, Nagelsmann will surely address finishing in training this week. Encounters against Dortmund usually tend to be far more open than against teams in the lower regions of the Bundesliga table for Bayern, but they will still have to make the most of the chances they get at the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund also showed how deadly they can be on the break in their 3-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg.