Bayern Munich could not have ended 2022 on a better note. Winning their last game of the year 2-0 against Schalke 04 and securing the top spot before the World Cup break. Julian Nagelsmann started an attack heavy lineup that despite not firing on all cylinders, delivered the win. Without further ado, here are the match awards:
Jersey Swap: Alexander Schwolow
Midfielder Tom Kruass and opposition’s fullbacks, Cedric Brunner and Tobias Mohr were impressive and Schalke’s defense on the whole were great despite conceding two goals. This game could have seen Bayern score atleast two or three more goals. But the Schalke backline setup a solid block to shut down the Bayern attackers.
Their goalkeeper Schwolow made a few brilliant stops from close range and 4 in total that managed to get through the Schalke backline. On the whole, the entire backline and the keeper deserve a lot of credit for keeping the scoreline at a respectable 2-0 at the end of 90 minutes.
Der Kaiser: Dayot Upamecano
The defense had a tidy game to say the least. There were a few moments were Schalke almost got away but even then, Bayern never seemed out of control. Upamecano stood out among his teammates at the back. He kept a constant watch on loose balls and Schalke forwards looking to slip away. His awareness and anticipation were on point today, making 4 clearances. In close quarters he hassled the opposition, winning all 3 tackles and 2 aerial duels.
Fußballgott: Leon Goretzka
With Joshua Kimmich shifted out to right back, Goretzka was solo in midfield today. While I expected Kimmich to drift often into midfield to join and aid Goretzka, that was not the case today. Kimmich mostly stuck to the right flank until Mathijs de Ligt came on.
Goretzka played the destroyer role, doing a fair job of it. It was a no nonsense affair and Goretzka made that clear very early on. Despite being known for his penetrating runs that have often yielded goals, Leon was very disciplined and stayed behind,resisting the temptation to make runs into the box. This allowed the other Bayern players to stay ahead slightly longer and win the ball back higher up the pitch.
After De Ligt came on, Goretzka was free to venture forward and help the attack with Kimmich covering the CDM position. With 3 clearances, 3 duels won and 3 chances created, it was a rounded showing as required by the team.
Der Bomber: Serge Gnabry
Gnabry was a complete nuisance for Schalke today, requiring the opposition to focus a lot of their energies on the winger. Despite that, he registered 5 shots to his name. His danger in front of goal is obvious and the opposition addressed that by constantly rushing him which often opened up spaces for other Bayern attackers. His goal with his weaker left foot came after a beautiful sequence with Kimmich and Jamal Musiala’s back heel assist.
Meister of the Match: Jamal Musiala
The teenager once again captured the spotlight with his sublime skill, creating 4 chances and assisting both the goals of the game. With the absence of Thomas Müller, Musiala was key for the co-ordination and chemistry of the team. Schalke’s backline was very good today, blocks, tackles, clearances, they had it all. So Musiala’s lock picking skill proved vital to get past their defense.
Despite having an attack heavy lineup, it took 38 minutes for Bayern to make their first breakthrough. Musiala setup the assist with a slightly heavy back heel pass that played to Gnabry’s and Bayern’s advantage. The opposition keeper was confused if Coman or Gnabry would take the shot and ultimately failed to react quick enough to stop the goal. The ball stuck to Jamal’s feet like glue except on one occasion when an uncharacteristic poor first touch saw a goal chance slip by. Jamal nearly made up for that with an impossible dribble to score the 3rd goal. Unfortunately it was cancelled for being offside. Overall, another great game for the youngster who left a significant impact on the game.
Leroy Sané, Choupo-Moting and Kimmich also deserve shoutouts this game for their performance.
Interested in more analysis of the game? Why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about Jamal Musiala’s impending stardom, how Thomas Muller STILL remains a key player on this Bayern side, and the overall quality of Nagelsball. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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