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Match awards from Bayern Munich’s mostly chill 4-2 win over FC Viktoria Plzeň

It was an easy affair for the Bavarians — a few stand-out performances and lots of takeaways.

Viktoria Plzen v FC Bayern München: Group C - UEFA Champions League
Leon Goretzka has been on a goalscoring streak as he embraces a new role on the team that can be described as “a bit of everything”.
Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

So far for Bayern Munich, the Champions League has been a mellow affair. The Bavarians are undefeated in the group stages and have shown themselves to be comfortable and lethal in Europe. However, Bayern went in against FC Viktoria Plzeň missing key players, and it got more than a little testy by the end. Here's who stood out.

Jersey Swap: Pavel Bucha

Plzeň only shone in moments with sporadic pressing but they were certainly opportunistic, and a large part of this is to be credited to midfielder Pavel Bucha, who was involved in both the goals the Czech champions scored. Though these were simply consolation goals in an affair the Bavarians had full control over, Bucha’s presence did them a lot of good.

Der Kaiser: Josip Stanišić

The right-back showed tonight just how much quality he truly has — playing out of position and still excelling at it. In fact, his presence by itself was a major boost to the defense. Even as he moved more centrally to accommodate Paul Wanner (who was fantastic!) and allow Dayot Upamecano (also a rock at the back today!) a rest, he was solid. Often enough, when Bayern landed in a sticky situation defensively, it was Stanišić cleaning up.

In times like these with a paper-thin squad, the Croatian international showed his sheer quality and reliability on the big stage (well, bar a few shaky moments). With the right amount of awareness, positioning, attacking threat and defending abilities, he's a versatile and quality piece of the Bayern backline, now and into the future.

Fußballgott: Leon Goretzka

Leon Goretzka’s role on the pitch seems to have changed lately. It was in Der Klassiker that the German international was first spotted going extremely high up the pitch, almost like a pseudo-striker, as Mane and Gnabry drifted out wide. This has had two outcomes so far — instability in midfield and goal-scoring. Goretzka’s proximity to the goal has proved to be truly beneficial today, as he scored his first brace since 2019. Today, with his usual midfield partner Joshua Kimmich back in position, the 26-year-old was free to roam on the pitch and use his goal threat to keep Bayern in front. Put simply, Goretzka’s role lately can be described as him doing a bit of everything!

Der Bomber: Sadio Mané

It is games like these, with several missing characters, veterans like Mané really needed to step up. Without Musiagic™, the offense was bound to look a tad dry but the Senegalese forward really stepped up to the occasion. He opened up the scoring, courtesy of a Goretzka assist. He was not only fantastic as a player, but also a leader, as he really held the team together offensively — involving as much in build-up as he can and pushing for goals so effortlessly. The entire Plzeň defense might have nightmares of the Senegalese powerhouse destroying them tonight!

But truly, Mané has been one to look out for on Champions League nights — two goals in four games so far.

It almost looks as though he’s finally shrugging off the offside curse...(fine, he had one)... no jinxes!

Meister of the Match: Thomas Müller

You read it right. The man that barely played and was subbed off, the MOTM, and for good reason.

Thomas Müller has, for long been the linchpin of Bayern’s press and the numbers say the same thing — as he has averaged around 500 presses over 90 minutes for a few seasons now; numbers that akin to that of a defensive midfielder. Therefore it is of no surprise, the slump in Bayern’s press as Müller found himself substituted while Bayern led with three goals. Müller’s absence greatly impacted the team, whether it be in chance creation or pressing. And his presence? One goal and one assist to (nearly) knock the opponent out within twenty-five minutes.

No. of goals scored with Thomas Müller = 3

No. of goals scored without Thomas Müller = 1 + 2 conceded

I rest my case.

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