General Josh is back in midfield
Joshua Kimmich was back in his best position... the 6 spot, and it looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. In fact, this performance was among his best this season. He covered every area on the pitch, was excellent and efficient with his passing, and chipped in with two brilliant assists. The midfield general also dictated the tempo, helped with defensive duties, and shouted orders at his teammates, as usual, to help organize the team structure. This is the standard we’ve come to expect from him, and it’s good to see one of the world’s best midfielders back in top form.
When your own finishing is your enemy
That seems like a funny observation about a game that saw Bayern Munich score four goals. However, the stats convey a different story... the Bavarians were atrocious with their finishing today. Bayern had an xG of 5.19(!!!), registering 30(!!!!!) shots and having 19 of those on target.
And they managed to score a paltry four. Granted, Alexander Schwolow had a superhuman game (more on that later), but you simply cannot be this inefficient in front of goal. And most of that boils down to the next observation...
Shambolic performance from the wingers
I hear you... Leroy Sané was actually quite decent, with a well-converted goal and a worldie that was ruled out for a handball. However, he played more centrally for most of the game, so we will be focusing more on Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry here. And goodness me... they were atrocious. Coman’s one useful action in the entire game was the assist for the first goal. For the rest of the game, he seemed to be an extra defender for Hertha, missing so many chances off some great Robert Lewandowski passes, getting dispossessed on counters, keeping the ball at his feet for way too long, and just going back to being the indecisive winger who frustrated us for years.
Gnabry wasn’t any better, missing sitter after sitter and just being awful in front of goal throughout the game. He did score a goal, but finishing one chance out of a thousand isn’t going to earn you a huge, lucrative contract. It’s almost like the two players had decided that the international break started a week early. Don’t get me wrong, these are two of the world’s deadliest wingers on their day. But this game was definitely one to forget for both, and not one Gnabry would want to use to make an argument for a better payday.
Schwolow doing a “Yann Sommer” impression
This is just one of those observations that have become a thing of routine. Almost all BuLi keepers seem to have only one goal in mind: torment Bayern’s attack. Schwolow’s 13 saves in the game is a Bundesliga record for the season and at least eight of them were top-tier stops. I know just how much trauma the name “Yann Sommer” brings to Bayern fans, and Hertha’s “Berlin wall” put forth a display of that very caliber. Now, we just wait until next month when Hertha faces Bochum and Schwolow loses the plot against them.
Some things never change.
Another clean sheet... until Lucas was subbed off
All was merry on the defensive side of things... Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez were having a great game, stopping every attack and initiating counters. They were also fantastic in possession, with some strong moves forward. Things would’ve stayed the same had this continued, but alas! Nagelsmann thought he had to rest Lucas, and in came Upamecano to close the game. And that was when Bayern fans learned that they would have to wait two more weeks before the possibility of another clean sheet.
Bayern’s defense was facing a counter during the 80th minute, and Dayot Upamecano was nowhere to be seen. Well, he was actually present right there amidst the action, but invisible at the same time, like his presence didn’t mean anything. Manuel Neuer made a fantastic save to deny the first opportunity, but Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was there to send the rebound into the empty net. Bayern’s expensive defensive acquisition then reappeared, but it was too late, and the clean sheet was lost.
I know it’s harsh, but he has to do better than that. He was prone to such errors occasionally at Leipzig... we definitely don’t want “Upafart” to become a thing, do we? Maybe it has something to do with him being placed at LCB (which is clearly not his best position).
Moral of the story: Don’t bench Lucas if you want to finish the game with a clean sheet.