Bayern Munich bagged another three points against Stuttgart to hold their lead of four points atop the Bundesliga table. The early 12th minute sending off of Alphonso Davies, although the biggest factor in the game, didn't play out that way until the second half. Bayern overwhelmed and ran circles around Stuttgart to score 4 goals in quick succession and put the game to bed before the visitors could even notice. Here are the match observations:
An underwhelming performance by Matarazzo's Stuttgart
Playing with a man advantage for almost 80 minutes in a game and losing 4-0 ?! Sure, Stuttgart had a few chances, but they never looked like they had any shot at winning the game at any point of time. It was the Bayern show all game long. For the first 45 minutes, it seemed as though both teams forgot Bayern were down to 10 men. The Bavarians scored goals like there was no tomorrow while Stuttgart seemed like they were the ones playing with 10 men.
Pellegrino Matarazzo must have spit fire during the half-time break as Stuttgart finally dawned upon the existence of their man advantage and pushed Bayern to stay behind and defend for most of the second half. But it was too late as the damage had been done. There's no point in bringing up any stats as no stat other than possession and passes reflect the biggest factor of being a man down.
The Bayern mentality
Now that the rant about Stuttgart’s performance (or lack thereof) is over, Bayern Munich must be credited for the amount of sheer mental strength and team spirit they demonstrated today. To not only endure almost a whole game while losing Alphonso Davies in just the 12th minute to a red card but pulverizing their opposition for a 4-0 victory.
It’s easy to forget it’s a professional game of football and underestimate the disadvantage of being a man down. But the Bayern players kept pushing forward while also dropping back often to cover the holes and gaps. David Alaba especially took charge and delivered a masterclass performance shifting around to fill in DM, LB as well as the CB roles occasionally. He made 7 clearances and 9 ball recoveries as he toiled to help cover Davies’ absence. Full praise to the players’ and Hansi Flick’s mental strength, fortitude, team spirit and for their extra work put in defense.
Goal Machine Robert Lewandowski
Another day, another record for the Polish striker. He now holds the record for second highest goals scored in the Bundesliga(271) only behind the legendary Gerd Müller(365). He also broke his old record of most goals scored by a non-German in a season which now stands at 35.
His perfect hattrick today took his goal tally to 35 this season in the Bundesliga as he inches closer to the Müller’s magical 40 mark. It was Lewy’s unstoppable movement to poke a goal in from nowhere that opened the floodgates for Bayern. He was clinical as he converted 3 shots out of his 4 attempts. His perfect hattrick summed up his perfect night.
Serge Gnabry’s growing confidence
Serge Gnabry was one happy man when he went to hug the coach after his substitution. This performance tonight was long overdue from him and whatever obstacles held him back, Serge seems to have broken through them and is looking confident once again.
His assist to find Lewy in the middle was well played into the box, although Lewandowski had a lot of work to do in order to get to it. Gnabry’s goal coming in the 29th minute was another quick affair with Stuttgart completely lost. The look of sheer relief on Gnabry’s face after his goal said it all — Serge’s missed being good. We’ve missed you too Serge. Welcome back!