Bayern Munich eased to a 4-0 victory against Union Berlin in Saturday’s premier Bundesliga fixture. With the clubs now heading into an international break, the big win was a nice recovery for Bayern after back-to-back weeks of disappointing draws.
Bayern’s defense was solid today.
Julian Nagelsmann went with a backline today of Dayot Upamecano and Tanguy Nianzou at centerback with Lucas Hernandez and Josip Stanisic at fullback. While the setup on paper was a traditional back four, they played more like the way Bayern did when Alphonso Davies was at left back — just swapped.
Stanisic was further up the field aiding in the attack on the right with Nianzou shaded over to help cover. While Hernandez was in the attack a lot as he usually is when he fills in for Davies, his average position on the field was much deeper than Stanisic.
As has been the case for years, Bayern’s biggest weakness remains managing counterattacks. The return of Manuel Neuer in goal was always going to be a huge boost to the team’s defense, and the injection of confidence to the younger centerback pairing of Upamecano (23) and Nianzou (19) was evident.
Now, Union is not a great offensive team, but this result can be a great foundation for the rest of the season.
Musiala showed why Nagelsmann likes his central midfield abilities.
Nobody quite knows where Jamal Musiala’s best position is yet. The 19 year old isn’t quite at the point yet where he can displace any of Bayern’s starters, but he’s good enough to to fill in at multiple positions across the field that he’s invaluable as a utility player. For now, that means filling in for Leon Goretzka next to Joshua Kimmich.
Nagelsmann has talked previously about how he likes Musiala in this position because of his ability to quickly transition the squad from defense to offense from the center of the field. Musiala was a star against Union, and that transition ability was a big reason why Bayern were so successful on the day.
Goretzka was back on the bench today after a long injury recovery, and it’s very likely that Musiala was move back to being a substitute when Goretzka is fully fit. Bayern have struggled when Kimmich and Goretzka haven’t been available in recent season, but Musiala’s ability to perform at such a high level will come in handy for the club down the stretch.
Lewandowski and Bayern stay targeting Bundesliga offensive records.
Everyone knows that Robert Lewandowski is the best striker in the world, and it was great to see him find the back of the net twice in this match. Last season, Lewandowski scored an improbably 41 goals to break Gerd Müller’s legendary Bundesliga single-season scoring record. Now, after 27 games, Lewandowski is targeting his own record with 31 tallies to his name this season. He needs 11 goals in 7 games which, if Lewandowski has taught us anything over the years, is definitely within reach.
What about the full team? Bayern are currently average three goals a game this season, and if they keep up that pace, they will break a record set by the 1971-72 Bayern side that scored 101 goals in a single season.
Titles and records on the way? Stay tuned.