Jamal Musiala is a superstar
What a player. What an absolute gem Bayern Munich have unearthed. This kid is going places. The best player on the pitch by a mile, Musiala showed Union Berlin and the rest of the world that he’s not one to be toyed with. Always getting the better of his man, always winning his duels and cutting through Union’s defense time and again like a hot knife through butter, Musiala terrorized the Berlin outfit.
His goal was a thing of beauty, and summarized his game: an incisive pass from Müller released him down the center, but what happened next was extraordinary. A brilliant first touch, a skip past the leg of his man, and feint to get past the second defender and a composed shot to the far corner, sending the keeper in the wrong direction. Musiala got the goal he deserved.
This bodes very well for Bayern’s future, since the youngster seems to have everything you’d want in a Müller replacement and more. Bayern were right in tying him down; he’s the kind of player you’d want to build your attack around. What impressed most about his game today was how much he’s improved physically. He’s not heftier than before, but he sure as hell looked super strong in all his challenges.
It would be a delight to watch him develop further under the guidance of Müller and co. and the watchful eyes of coach Flick. Mark my words: this boy will go places.
A disjointed start that didn’t get much better
With no fewer than 6 changes made to the team that started against PSG, this was to be expected. Bayern lacked cohesion for significant portions of the game, doing well with the buildup but lacking the decisive final ball or the instinctive pass. Joshua Kimmich looked fatigued, and understandably so. Aside from Musiala and to a certain extent Müller and Stanišic, the Bayern players struggled to assert themselves, and the passing sequences were often broken by an errant pass or a mistimed through ball.
This shouldn’t be a cause for concern however, since we can expect most of Bayern’s regular starters (or what’s left of the starting lineup) to start against PSG in midweek.
Coman and Sané lack end product
This is worrying. Kingsley Coman was poor against PSG, and while many expected him to be rested against Union, Hansi Flick gave him a start because of a lack of options and possibly to enable him to get back to form. However, the Frenchman didn’t have a great game. He was certainly active in buildup and used his trickery and pace to get through Union’s midfield, but came short when he had to make the decisive pass or take a shot.
Sané, who came in in the second half looked better, and seemed full of ideas to start with, but slowly faded away as the game progressed. He had two very good moments where he danced through the defense and came very close to scoring, but had the ball go just wide. That being said, the winger can do much better. If Bayern are to qualify against PSG, both Coman and Sané have to show up big time, or we’re in serious trouble.
Defense caught snoozing again
Bayern’s defense these days has a recurring theme: play well for 85 minutes and go to ‘sleep mode’ for 5 minutes, which is when the goals are conceded. After doing so well to keep Union Berlin at bay, Pavard’s slow reaction, combined with Nianzou’s ball watching led to Union grabbing a goal at the 86’.
This kind of defending can bring a team down. No matter the efforts put by the midfield and the attack, conceding goals means your efficiency up front gets cancelled by errors at the back. Bayern should’ve done better during that instance, but there are countless instances throughout the season where the same applies. Let’s all pray that the defense can get its act right against PSG, because if not, Mbappé and Neymar will get theirs on point.
Stanišic and Dantas solid
Let’s end the observations on a good note. Stanišic, who got his first Bundesliga start, looked surprisingly assured at the LB spot. His passing was good, his tackles were well-timed and composed, he made some good runs forward and was very active overall. He is an option Bayern can consider if they are ever looking for additional depth at the LB or the LCB positions.
Dantas, on the other hand, didn’t have the best of starts, being pushed and harried by the Union players but slowly grew into the game, and found himself at the heart of some really tidy passing sequences. Yes, his slight frame doesn’t help him a lot when facing physical players, but Dantas held his own when it came to passing and nifty one-twos. His chemistry with Müller and Musiala was also quite good.
However, playing time will be difficult to come by for Dantas at Bayern, since he’d have to fight with some of the best players in Europe for a starting spot. He showed glimpses of his talent and why Flick was intent on giving him a shot. That being said, if he wants more playing time, he certainly has to improve on his timing, his strength on challenges and if possible, bulk up a bit. Perhaps the ‘Goretzka fitness scheme’ could help!