Bayern Munich scored four goals in the second half after conceding an unlucky deflection in the first, bringing themselves back into the game despite poor refereeing decisions that almost always favoured Greuther Fürth.
From kick-off, Bayern Munich seemed better in chance creation but still poor at the back and in the final third, but the second half showed Bayern at their ruthless best offensively. The defense still raises questions though. Questions Nagelsmann must answer.
Jersey Swap: Max Christiansen
Fürth had a couple of good performances — Marco Meyerhöfer and Branimir Hrgota come to mind — but our pick of the bunch is defensive midfielder Max Christiansen. He was key to Fürth’s build up play, especially his long balls which constantly allowed Fürth to break against the shaky high line of Bayern. Defensively as well, his reading of the game was excellent, blocking a shot and making multiple significant interceptions. He also hit the post via an absolute bullet of a shot from outside the box, one that was heartbreakingly close to nestling itself into the top right of Sven Ulreich’s goal.
Der Bomber: Serge Gnabry
Serge Gnabry played his first game in over a fortnight as one of just two wingers, and it paid dividends. Substituted on for an injured Corentin Tolisso, Gnabry slotted in on the right and played very well. Gnabry’s dribbling was ace as usual, although it can be said at times that he dribbled too far and sometimes should have passed. However, when he passed he was sumptuous. His runs in behind the Fürth line caused problems multiple times, and his cutbacks were the cause of two goals — Robert Lewandowski’s first and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s only goal — along with his inversion into his box causing problems with marking due to the extra man, one which resulted in Gnabry’s shot deflecting in for the second goal of the game. It was a very strong game from a player who desperately needed it.
Der Fußballgott: Marcel Sabitzer
It took him six months, but he has finally returned. Marcel Sabitzer had a fantastic game today. His movement going forward was a joy to watch, and he seemed the most likely to score in the first half from the right flank. He would have scored one if not two if Thomas Müller had not gotten in the way of passes and a loose shot.
Even then, his forward movement continued to impress, and after being moved into the centre of midfield he continued to perform, coming forward and always being an option but always being responsible enough to track back and play with the defense. Him and Joshua Kimmich looked reliable as a midfield pairing, more reliable than Tolisso/Kimmich anyway. Yes, he did deflect the free kick in, but that was a case of wrong time, wrong place rather than a proper mistake.
Bayern are behind to bottom of the table Greuther Fuerth pic.twitter.com/5rls5LE6Y9— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 20, 2022
It makes me so happy to see him play well again. Hopefully he can get some more minutes under his belt and finally get a goal or assist. As a great philosopher named Abel once said, “I feel it coming!”
Der Kaiser: Niklas Süle
We have been particularly critical of Niklas Süle’s recent performances since the announcement of his transfer to Borussia Dortmund, but there is no denying his impact today. While his defensive contribution was not notably larger or more profound than that of the player he replaced (Lucas Hernández), it was his contribution going forward that made the difference. Süle let loose offensively, often dribbling forward past multiple players and linking up with Leroy Sané on the left flank. His progressive play was great passing into the middle as well, often finding Kimmich or Sabitzer in good positions, and sometimes even Gnabry drifting on the right flank. A special mention must be made for Dayot Upamecano too who didn’t put a foot wrong defensively, although his positioning when in possession sometimes could have been questioned. Even then, he was much improved compared to what happened against VfL Bochum last week.
Meister of the Match: Robert Lewandowski
Another week, another world class performance from the best player in the world. Robert Lewandowski is a force of nature. Robert Lewandowski is inevitable. It is Robert Lewandowski’s world and we’re just living in it.
He was fantastic in the first half despite the lack of goal, fashioning chances for others even when he didn’t receive them himself, and being very effective at dropping back — especially on the left flank as has become his signature — to aid with build-up.
The second half saw him miss two difficult but still close-range chances, but also saw him bury a difficult bobbling cut-back that came off of Choupo-Moting, and score a brilliant powered header from a pinballing corner. He continued to be a menace for Fürth in build-up, holding up play excellently, often dragging two and sometimes even three players out of position to give Sabitzer, Sané, Müller and Choupo-Moting space to run into. With 28 goals in 23 games, he needs 13 goals in the last 11 matches of the season to tie his own record for the most goals in a single Bundesliga campaign. A record that originally stood for half a century. That is mental.