Bayern Munich have wrapped up their Champions League Group stage campaign smoothly. Having emerged table toppers with 18 points in total, they have positioned themselves among the teams most likely to become the Champions of Europe this season. Here's our takeaways from Bayern’s second 2-0 beating of Inter Milan this season.
An honest attempt by Inter, but Bayern the better side
In the first half, Inter Milan were a completely different side altogether than the one Bayern beat 2-0 at San Siro. They were organized, hungry and efficient — troubling Bayern, putting the players in tight spaces and really testing them. But this did not last too long.
The Bavarians weaved their magic with ease. The first goal came from a beautiful header courtesy of Benjamin Pavard’s positioning during a Joshua Kimmich corner. The likes of Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sadio Mané, though under pressure from the Inter defenders, created several scoring attempts. Though it did not look easy, it was obvious the Bavarians were the dominant side.
Perhaps Bayern were a bit lucky. The referee was one of the more benevolent ones; he let a Mane handball go and rarely pulled out the card. Inter fizzled out by the second half as well — Lautaro Martínez looked gassed, and so did the rest of the Inter attack.
A case for the backline — Bayern have it figured out
Dayot Upamecano was under a great amount of criticism last season. He was highly error-prone and made several silly mistakes in crucial moments. It is in this season that we truly see his matured and dependable form at the back. With the absence of Lucas Hernández, Upa has cemented himself in the backline as a unshakeable rock and has even secured multiple clean sheets so far. The same goes for Benjamin Pavard, who with his (in)famous tackles, sheer presence on the pitch and positioning, has carved a role for himself at both centre-back and right-back.
Alphonso Davies, even during this recovery period of his, has been his usual brilliant, unbeatable self. Bamboozling defenders with his explosive pace, creativity, and intelligence, Davies proves time and again why he is the best full-back Bayern have. His time injured has necessitated a backup left-back, however, it remains unclear whether such an investment will be made at the transfer window — Bayern prefer using Josip Stanišić as the backup LB. Though games like these with low stakes should have meant full rest for Davies, this was not the case, for he was subbed on at half-time.
Noussair Mazraoui continues to make life difficult for Pavard or Stanišić to get a starting spot at right-back. His intelligence and awareness shine the brightest through his game.
With all this into account, it is needless to say that the backline is the least of Bayern’s worries for the foreseeable future — it is ready to win some trophies for the team, preferably big shiny silver-coloured cups.
Mixed bags — the attack is not there yet
While Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Jamal Musiala have yet again emerged the stars in attack —with Choupo bagging his customary goal and Musiala giving impostor syndrome to every opponent per schedule — there are several areas for improvement in attack.
For a large part of the first half, every Bayern attacker took turns fumbling in the box and throwing away precious chances. Kingsley Coman was barely effective, making ghastly crosses and questionable shots. Sadio Mané, though decent, was simply not at his best in the game. The positioning of Ryan Gravenberch as an attacking midfielder was a confusing choice by coach Julian Nagelsmann.
The inconsistency in Bayern attackers has been a serious problem for a while now and this holds back the attack from its fullest potential. For an attack filled with pricey stars with such a high ceiling, there emerge expectations that need to be fulfilled. After all, this is Bayern Munich and nothing but the best is expected. While such inconsistency has been ‘forgiven’ by opposition so far, this will no longer be the case in the further stages of Bayern’s season.
Interested in more analysis of the game? Why not check out our postgame podcast? We discuss how Inter stacks up against the big boys of the Champions League and how Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern has shown some swagger recently. Listen to it below or at on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support!