The Bayern Munich players once again showed why they are the most dominant side in German football history. Without their star player, Bayern’s experience outwitted Julian Nagelsmann’s enthusiastic RB Leipzig in a thrilling clash at the Red Bull Arena. Here is BFW’s match award from the title-clinching clash in Leipzig.
Jersey Swap: Marcel Sabitzer
Due to it being too corny to give this award to Dayot Upamecano, who also had a solid game, the Jersey Swap goes to RB Leipzig’s most improved footballer in recent years, the Austrian Marcel Sabitzer.
The progression of Sabitzer’s career is quite fascinating. Starting as a quite one-dimensional and traditional right-winger, RB Leipzig and Ralf Rangnick made Sabitzer a driving force in the midfield that encapsulates the team to push forward.
His importance to this RB Leipzig team is immeasurable and although he would be disappointed that his side most likely lost the title today, the Graz-native had another solid game.
Der Kaiser: David Alaba
In my opinion, the best player on the pitch today. Alaba had a fantastic 90 minutes and was the key component in Bayern keeping the clean sheet. In the first 45 minutes, he was constantly breathing in the back of both Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku’s necks, reading the game brilliantly and stopping many counter-attack possibilities. In the second half, he was a warrior in the defensive box while also providing calm for at times a very pressured Bayern with his low-lying playmaking. A football player of the highest order.
Fußballgott: Leon Goretzka
The goal scorer and Joshua Kimmich’s pivot partner, Leon Goretzka’s performance was epitomized by fight and a desire to win. Despite playing many minutes of football recently, Goretzka fought and ran like it was his last game, highlighting the importance the Bochum-native brings to the team.
Dropping back further in the pitch, Goretzka played side by side with Kimmich, with the latter being the playmaker and the former being the true box-to-box midfielder. Goretzka made many important interceptions during the game and was extremely impressive in his defensive determination.
Leon Goretzka may have the most complete profile of midfield talents in world football— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) April 3, 2021
•Technical class to be a key part of Bayern’s build-up
•He recovers the ball all over the pitch- 7 tackles/interceptions vs Leipzig today
•Brilliant attacking instincts- 17 G/A in 24 starts pic.twitter.com/nOfDfHK1Eu
Der Bomber: Thomas Müller
The winner of winners. Müller showcased once again how important he is for a Bayern side who lacked their main Polish talisman upfront. Despite being the most decorated player in German history, his hunger for more titles and success is as great as it was since he made his debut against Hamburg SV in August 2008.
Together with the hungry heart comes the constant intelligent and sacrificial runs for the team. Müller is one of a kind and an active Hall-of-Fame Bayern player.
Congratulations, @FCBayern. True champion that keeps a clean sheet in an important away game. But @DieRotenBullen did well and can be a competitor on the same level, if they improve the last quarter of their game. #RBLFCB— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) April 3, 2021
Meister of the Match: Hansi Flick
Yes, Bayern had a bit of luck winning the game today. But for me, today’s win was due to two things: Bayern’s winning mentality and Hansi Flick’s tactical approach.
Losing a player that scores 44% of your goals in the league is a tough scenario for any team. Yet, it seemed tougher for Hansi Flick’s Bayern, who this season have relied on scoring more than the opposition, rather than focusing on keeping a clean sheet.
Coming up against an RB Leipzig who thrives on fast counters, having the same high-line that has become a trait for the Fliki-Taka style, would have been suicide. Bayern missed their 35-goal-talisman and consisted of a team that constantly played international football only a few days ago.
So, Flick adapted. He set out his team to survive the initial push from RB Leipzig by playing a relatively low backline. He puts Goretzka just next to Kimmich in the midfield, ensuring a more defensive shape to the midfield, and he attacks through fast counters rather than a slow build-up play.
Bayern’s second half can be defined as a gritty performance that got the job done. But I also view it as an impressive tactical defensive performance which, a part from the first 15 minutes, limited Leipzig’s clear-cut chances.
Flick made history in his first season in charge, but he is really coming into his own in one of the most challenging seasons known in the modern game. Today, his tactical ability won Bayern its 9th Bundesliga title in a row.