An exciting end to end game with both sides playing fearlessly that saw Bayern Munich win due to their innate quality advantage. Greuther Fürth came fast and hard at the Champions and gave a run for their money. Some early magic by the Bavarians translated to early goals that they held on to secure the win. Thomas Muller had a vintage performance today getting into dangerous scoring positions unlike the assisting he’s been doing in the past few years. He bagged a goal and nearly missed out on a brace and gets an honorary mention. The awards today will definitely not please everybody, especially the big one at the end, so lets dive into them:
It would be unfair for this award to go to any one player of the opposition in particular. Greuther Fürth put up a formidable fight against the visitors. Their high pressing, fearless runs to create chances in Bayern’s final third were a treat to watch. Despite being caught several times on the counter, the hosts did brilliantly to close off Bayern attackers and not get destroyed on the score sheet against a Bayern team with blistering pace on the break.
There definitely was a significant gap in individual quality on the pitch between the two sides tonight.While it wasn’t completely masked, its impact on the pitch however was not as high as it was expected to be. This credit once again goes to the sheer team effort — with some rough tackles thrown into the mix — by the home side, who came off as a B-league Bayern in terms of play-style, punching above their weight and their keeper making shrewd Neuer-esque runs to sweep up some dangerous Bayern through balls. A lot of similarities can be drawn in areas of high pressing, fast counters and winning several corners to boost their chances of a breakthrough, which came in the final minutes of the game. A lot of respect to the hosts!
Der Kaiser: Lucas Hernandez
Aside from Pavard’s red card, the Bayern defense got the job done today with Lucas being the pick of the bunch. Despite a rough opposition, Lucas won 10 duels and did well to retain the ball and begin transitions. He provided some much needed stability with Upamecano and Süle having some nervous moments. Lucas was also the main man coupling the defence with the midfield, often collecting the ball from the backline before sending it on its way.
Der Bomber: Alphonso Davies
The primary channel of attack today was through the Canadian left back. He made good use of his pace and pinged dangerous crosses into the box at the end of his runs. Muller grabbed one of Davies’ early crosses to score the first goal. With Sane often drifting away from the right wing, Davies turned into the primary ball carrier for the team with assistance from Sane. Phonzie had a game high of 4 dribbles and won 11(!) duels.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
The midfield machine had a fantastic day in the office today. This guy is absolutely dangerous when given spaces. Kimmich was salami slicing the opposition non-stop with his through balls. His goal, a laser guided shot in the first half was probably the highlight of the entire match. In the second half, Sebastien Griesbeck’s own goal came from a sizzling Kimmich cross that turned out to be an absolute nuisance to deal with. Josh also has turned up the frequency of his searching runs forward to pounce on goal scoring opportunity and the results have been evident in the past two games.
Meister of the Match: Leroy Sane
I agree that there are surely other contenders for this award, but it’s being given to the 25 year-old on the sole basis of how his transformation as a player is showing a transformation of Bayern on the pitch.
Nagelsmann opted for a back three with Pavard and Davies as the wing-backs. This naturally meant Leroy Sane had the license to roam freely. Despite starting on the right, he operated primarily in and around the left flank, making clever switches with his equally pacey colleague Alphonso Davies. Muller picked up the cue quickly and stuck to the right and allowed Sane be the roaming AM.
Sane’s contribution going forward has seen stellar improvement ever since his switch to the left flank a few games ago. However, his defensive willingness and work rate — first seen under Hansi Flick— has added a new dimension to Bayern’s left flank. The unique abilities of Davies and Sane’s current performances have translated to Bayern having two fullbacks and two wingers on the same flank. Their abilities to seamlessly switch makes the attack more unpredictable while adding another layer of pacey defense — and that was exactly what was on display today. In fact it wasn’t until Pavard got sent off that Davies had to rope down his forwards forays. Their chemistry together created the chances early in the game against a steely Fürth side who were hell bent on closing off the Bayern players.
This isn’t exactly new as we have previously seen it with Coman and Gnabry, but Davies and Sane are probably the best possible pair and do seem to have more chemistry on the pitch. Further development of this pairing could do wonders, especially in the big Champions league nights that Bayern is obsessed about.