Bayern Munich improved on their winning start to their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over FC Barcelona at the Allianz Arena thanks to second half goals from Lucas Hernández and Leroy Sané. Despite being the worse team for the opening 45 minutes, Julian Nagelsmann’s side was able to stay resilient and looked a far better side in the second half, when they ultimately did their damage against the Catalans. On the balance, both sides registered four shots on frame and Barcelona had 54% of possession to Bayern’s 46%. Thankfully for Bayern, Barcelona was not able to make the most of the chances they did have.
Leon Goretzka was introduced to proceedings to start the second half, as Nagelsmann made the tactical decision to replace Marcel Sabitzer and Bayern played markedly better. It’s not to say the substitution had everything to do with the improved performance levels, but it certainly played at least some of a part.
Speaking after the final whistle, Goretzka said that he was pleased with his side’s performance on the night, and he tried to remain diplomatic when he was asked about starting from the bench. He had already voiced his frustration to Nagelsmann earlier about not wanting to be left out of the starting lineup. “It was a football festival, it was fun. We struggled in the first half. Then we did better in the second half, scored two goals and beat Barca. Basically, it suits me more if I play from the start so that I can get into my rhythm, but today it went well,” he explained (Tz).
Goretzka might feel more confident playing from the first whistle, but he certainly wasted no time making his imprint on the match — with crunching tackles and threatening drives that changed the complexion of the game. In short order Bayern would take, then extend their lead before seeing out the rest of the game, and a clean sheet, with relatively little incident.
All told, another successful step in Goretzka’s long road returning from injury — and he’ll now have made an excellent case that he should be a greater part of head coach Julian Nagelsmann’s plans going forward.
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