Bayern Munich played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Ajax, and the game showed some promising signs. Despite being the club’s second-string squad, the players delivered some good performances and made the fans proud. Here’s who stood out.
Jersey Swap: Dusan Tadic
I honestly don’t know enough about the Ajax team to comment on them fairly, but Tadic was pretty active all game. He was a constant thorn in the defense’s side, and they had to deal with him quite a few times. He also forced a decent save or two out of Sven Ulreich, so that must mean he was a threat, right? I remember him being a handful for Bayern when we faced Ajax in the Champions League three years ago. Things haven’t changed much from then.
Der Kaiser: Tanguy Nianzou
Nianzou finally displayed why Bayern invested in him with a solid performance. The young Frenchman had a good outing today, linking up well with his fellow center-back Dayot Upamecano and keeping Bayern’s defense firm until his substitution.
Considering Ajax’s two goals came from a goalkeeping error and a set-piece, it’s safe to say that Bayern’s defense wasn’t half bad, and Nianzou was at the center of it. With few, if any, more summer signings to look forward to, Nianzou may be called upon more often than expected this season. As long as he keeps doing what he did today, a lot of Bayern fans can be excited. Oh, and did I mention he got his first goal in a Bayern shirt? Keep it up, Tanguy.
Der Fußballgott: Michael Cuisance
Now, this was a tough choice, because the midfield was the least impressive part of Bayern’s team today. Cuisance and Torben Rhein were in charge of anchoring the midfield and acting as the link between defense and attack. The former was pretty much invisible in the opening stages, but he grew into the game as the team did around him, and made a number of decent passes and moves late in the first half and in the second half. It wasn’t a perfect performance, of course, but it wasn’t a horrible one either. If I remember correctly (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), Cuisance also played a major role in the buildup to both goals, especially Nianzou’s second.
Der Bomber: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
As a matter of fact, I actually had Joshua Zirkzee down for this award, because I thought he was very active and all over the attack and defense early on in the game. But then THAT miss came and I pretty much lost all hope. Choupo, meanwhile, started the game slowly like the rest of his teammates, but picked up the pace and scored the important equalizer. His movements weren’t too bad either, and although his shots could have been a bit better, well, he’s not Robert Lewandowski. He was still a good influence in attack today, and got the goal that he deserved.
Meister of the Match: Omar Richards
Is this another Alphonso Davies in the making? Richards was outstanding at left wingback today, attacking with gusto and helping out in defense as well. Now, I don’t know if he played this well because he was playing in a back three/five, or if he’s just this good in a back four as well, but whatever the case is, he was all over the place.
It was an immense performance from the Englishman, and it’s especially encouraging to Julian Nagelsmann and his team, considering that Richards will most likely be the starting left back for at least a couple of games in the beginning of the season. With both Davies and Lucas Hernandez sidelined with injuries, it’s up to Richards to step up to the plate and perform as best as he can. If he keeps playing like he did today, Bayern won’t have much to worry about before Phonzie and Lucas return. Let’s hope.
Bonus: Shoutout to the ten youngsters who came in for the last half hour of the match. They had the huge task of keeping Ajax at bay for about thirty minutes, an Ajax side that probably had a ton more experience than them. To their credit, the youngsters didn’t back down, but they were feisty, aggressive, and not afraid to take the battle to Ajax. As a result, the team failed to score more goals, but didn’t concede any either, and they ultimately ended the match with a fair result. Kudos to them!