The number of missed connections between Bayern Munich attackers against FC Augsburg might’ve filled Craigslist to capacity. It’s become a bit of an epidemic in Bavaria this season — a new-fangled attack, pretty to watch but often just a little bit off-kilter.
And though the game was won — one minute into extra time, Bayern 4-2 ahead — Thomas Müller wasn’t about to let his chance go wasting. The 80th minute substitute shot the gap and got in behind the defense, as many of his teammates had already done. Then he took his time and expertly laid it on a platter for Alphonso Davies to bury home.
At the 7:30 mark in the highlights video below:
The assist helped mark a record 52 DFB-Pokal wins for Müller, and hopefully the manner of the scoring will be a teaching moment dished out by Bayern’s coach on the field.
Sadio Mané had already narrowly missed two far-post tap-ins — a slight mistiming between himself and Benjamin Pavard (when he nearly collected his own rebound) and a moment of indecision from Serge Gnabry second (a half-cross, half-shot that served as neither). Davies himself had nearly scored twice already, too — the second time a charging and off-balance Leon Goretzka taking it off him at the last.
These are the fine margins that can take a well-worked chance and grind it to dust. And it nearly happened again, too — between Müller’s feet and Kingsley Coman’s arcing far-post run, the timing was just barely not in sync, either:
The best moment for Müller to release the cross, he had just taken a touch on his left. Maybe a slight hesitation, and it was gone — but rather than forcing it through and hoping for the best, the impeccable Raumdeuter chopped it back to his left, buying himself an inch of time and space. This is what let him find Davies, and convert an 80% chance into a 99% one.
Müller appeared to raise his hands in apology to Coman after, but he needn’t have. After all, Coman’s blazing run also helped clear the space for Davies to arrive.
And it’s just this manner of ruthlessness — conservatism, really — that Bayern’s attackers need to develop to raise their level even higher. So that, even on their brightest days, when they are able to do the hard work of cutting an opposing defense open routinely, they also see it through with maximal efficiency.
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