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Union Berlin 1-1 Bayern Munich: Initial reactions and observations

Bayern kept at bay by Union.

VfL Wolfsburg v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Initial reactions and observations

  • Last week’s game against Gladbach was frustrating, this one was concerning. Bayern Munich looked completely unable to break down Union Berlin, who seem to have found a formula to frustrate the record-champs. Other Bundesliga teams will soon follow suit.
  • Julian Nagelsmann’s subs were rather baffling. Subbing off Musiala and then Davies did NOT help Bayern break down this Berlin bus. Their presence was sorely missed at the end.
  • Marcel Sabitzer needs a shout-out for his work sweeping up behind Kimmich in midfield today. His efforts helped keep Union trapped inside their half for much of the game — not that it helped Bayern score.

Full time: Bayern drop points again.

72’ — Subs: Serge Gnabry on for Kingsley Coman.

61’ — Subs: Thomas Muller and Ryan Gravenberch on for Jamal Musiala and Joshua Kimmich.

60’ — Nags, it’s been an hour, bring on Tommy.

45’ — We’re back! The second half is underway.

Halftime observations and analysis

  • Frustrating first half for Bayern Munich. Union Berlin have been physical and disruptive, and the referee has not called a thing. That being said, the attack looks rather flat and lacking creativity. Union’s keeper has barely had to make a save.
  • Matthijs de Ligt’s lack of pace is a worrisome weakness, only barely made up for by his positioning. Won’t be long until he gets himself in trouble because of it.
  • Alphonso Davies is once again not maintaining width on the left. Bayern are basically ignoring the left side of the pitch and it’s making things a lot easier for Union to shut the attack down.

Halftime: 1-1.

15’ — GOAL! Joshua Kimmich scores a screamer! What a response.

11’ — Goal. Becker scores early to put Union ahead. Ugh.

Kickoff: We’re underway!

One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Julian Nagelsmann opts to bench Lucas Hernandez and Thomas Muller for this one. Bayern Munich line up in the standard 4-2-2-2 formation we’ve gotten used to by now. Jamal Musiala, Alphonso Davies, and Benjamin Pavard all return to the lineup.

So many games, so little rest. As far as fixture congestion goes, this could end up being as bad as 20/21. After last weekend’s draw to Gladbach, Bayern Munich need a win against Union Berlin to retain top spot in the Bundesliga title race. That won’t be easy, since Union look like the most in-form team in the league right now. Julian Nagelsmann’s new 4-2-2-2 system is set to be tested to the limit.

Thankfully, Jamal Musiala is back in the squad, and he’ll be joining our all-star attacking lineup consisting of Thomas Muller, Sadio Mane, and any one of Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, or Serge Gnabry. The coach is spoilt for choice in that regard, since few teams have such a wealth of attacking talent to call upon.

That doesn’t mean Bayern are light in other areas either. Ryan Gravenberch’s outing against Viktoria Koln proved that he’s capable of giving the seniors a run for thier money, and the return of Leon Goretzka to the squad threatens the sanctity of the Sabitzer-Kimmich pivot. Meanwhile in defense, Matthijs de Ligt keeps knocking on the doors of Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano, eyeing their starting position. Things are very competitive right now, which usually bodes well for performances.

It’s Bayern time.

While you’re waiting for the game, why not check out our preview podcast? Listen to it below or at this link.

Match Info

Location: Stadion An der Alten Försterei, Berlin, Germany

Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST

TV/streaming: ESPN+, Find Your Country

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