Bayern Munich closed the scoreline at 2-1 against Mainz 05. It was a tricky game as it came after Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund followed by a Champions League night against FC Barcelona. Mainz can be quite the pain in the rearside in such scenarios and that is exactly what happened tonight. Bayern started with a back three and weren’t in the best of form. It seemed like a continuation of their first gear play from Wednesday night against Barca. But the champions showed their mettle to pick up an important close win. Here are the match awards:
Jersey Swap: Karim Onisiwo
The Austrian forward put on a strong performance coming up against the biggest opposition in the Bundesliga. The 29 year-old scored a dangerous early goal for Mainz and put the visitors on the frontfoot. Mainz’s intensity coupled with Bayern not firing on all cylinders was the ideal situation which led Mainz to that goal. Bayern were left to fruitlessly chase for the remainder of the first half. Onisiwo was also great in his defensive work. For a 6 foot 2 target-man, the amount of backtracking and challenges he was involved in to pressure the home-side was impressive. In addition to him, his teammates Jonathan Burkardt, Alexander Hack and Moussa Niakhate all gave Bayern plenty of trouble.
Der Kaiser: Dayot Upamecano
It was performance that will help the Frenchman gain back a lot of confidence. Although he started the game a little slow with Lucas supervising the backline, Dayot grew into the game and had a superb second half. He managed to stay on his feet and had plenty of clever interceptions in Bayern’s own third. His presence was vital to put off Mainz’s players during their occasional but penetrative forays into the home-side’s half. With a clean pass rate of over 90 percent and 3 of 5 successful tackles, it was an overall decent night for the 23 year old. His compatriots had a good game except for the mistake that led to the first goal. Back three for Bayern continues to remain second best in comparison to the back four that does so much for this team.
Fußballgott: Corentin Tolisso
Being the only full time central midfielder on the pitch, Tolisso actually did a great job. The midfield is the core through which pressure is absorbed by team. Although Thomas Muller does a wonderful job at midfield, he likes to be ahead and bully the opposition rather than sit back to soak pressure. While the presence of Joshua Kimmich or Leon Goretzka would have made life easier for Bayern to deal with Mainz’s press, Tolisso kept it simple to hold the line and with his accurate distribution forced Mainz’s players to go back and forth. Coco made 4 key passes and had a 94 percent pass completion rate. His precise passes helped Bayern to turn ball recoveries into half chances on several occasions.
Muller deserves an honourable mention for being the engine despite not having a great day. In several occasions the game was going nowhere and it was the Bayern vice-captain constantly trying to make things happen in an otherwise haphazard game.
Der Bomber: Jamal Musiala
The moose was having a quiet game for the most part until his moment arrived in the 74th minute. Jamal was often outnumbered to counter his tricky feet and that strategy almost got the job done for Mainz. However, when the opportunity came, Jamal’s first touch was simply stunning. He completely threw his marker away with his first touch which was followed by a disciplined shot to calmly find the corner of the goal was the cherry on the cake. To be 18 years old and scoring a match winning goal like that is just sensational from Musiala.
Meister of the Match: Kingsley Coman
He was Bayern’s best player of the night. Coman being on the verge of contract expiry seems to be a different beast altogether. Maybe Bayern just needs to extend him on a yearly basis. King’s composure and confidence in himself were a sight to watch. There wasn’t a lot of the usual frustrated shouts at the end of a poor final ball. He scored a brilliant goal, putting the ball through the keeper’s legs in the first place. Second, if the final ball was off target, King didn’t seem to be bothered too much about it. He just got back to run at the goal again.
King’s face expression when he was tackled by Niakhate just before Niakhate picked up a niggle clearly showed his mindset as he rolled in slow motion. He came off as being very objective about the game and focussing only on what needed to be done next. A completely different beast. Hopefully he stays injury-free and we can see more of this Coman in the future.