Initial reactions and observations
- Three points, four goals, and a clean sheet for Bayern Munich tonight — you really can’t ask for much more. Julian Nagelsmann and his men have been under pressure for the last two weeks and they replied in some style. Yes, Leverkusen were overawed, but Bayern finally showed that fluidity and sharpness that was missing from the last few Bundesliga games. Let’s hope this continues.
- Words fail to describe how good Jamal Musiala is.
- Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt both had solid games without any mistakes — a good sign with Lucas still injured.
- Bayern pressing hard in the final 10 minutes is the kind of effort that leads to a goal. Yes, Hradecky made a mistake, but Thomas Muller doesn’t get near that if he’s not already pressuring the keeper. Work rate isn’t always rewarded, but it is satisfying when it happens.
- Mathys Tel and Ryan Gravenberch won’t be happy with these fringe minutes, Nagelsmann better give them a go against Plzen in midweek.
Interested in a more in-depth analysis of the game? Check out our postgame podcast! Listen to it below or at this link.
84’ — GOOOOOOOAL! Thomas Muller makes it 4-0 thanks to a mistake from Hradecky.
80’ — Subs: Musiala and Upamecano come off for Gravenberch and Mazraoui.
73’— Subs: Choupo-Moting comes on for Leroy Sane.
64’ — Subs: Manuel Neuer saves a point blank shot by Diaby. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane and Marcel Sabitzer come off for Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka.
57’ — Sadio Mane scores thanks to an incredible dribble by Musiala, but it’s ruled out by VAR due to a foul by De Ligt in the buildup.
45’ — The second half kicks off!
Halftime observations and analysis
- Bayern Munich are BACK! Except Leverkusen look absolutely dire and they’re leaving space all over the pitch. The whole team could do a little better, but this is still a massive improvement over what we saw before the break.
- When Douglas Adams wrote that 42 was the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, he had Jamal Musiala in mind. This kid is UNPLAYABLE.
- Leroy Sane is having a clinic of a performance right now.
- Sadio Mane struggling with the Bundesliga’s physicality is surprising to see.
- Does this kit make De Ligt look fat?
38’ — GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Sadio Mane makes it 3-0! Finally!
17’ — GOOOOOOOAL! Jamal Musiala makes it 2-0! What a player!
3’ — GOOOOAL! Leroy Sane makes it 1-0, thanks to a fine assist from Musiala!
Kickoff: We’re underway in Munich!
One hour until kickoff: Lineups are out! Julian Nagelsmann offers no surprises as Bayern Munich arranges itself in a 4-2-2-2/4-2-3-1 with Thomas Muller and Sadio Mane up top, supported by Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala. Leon Goretzka is benched for Marcel Sabitzer in midfield while the defense is as everyone expected.
Can this team beat Leverkusen?
The international break was a nice break from proceedings (depending on your definition of nice) but Bayern Munich must now return to action in the Bundesliga, against a fellow struggling team in Bayer Leverkusen.
The top brass has given Julian Nagelsmann their full backing in the media, which in football parlance means he’s one bad game away from being sacked. Of course, the coach isn’t the only one feeling pressure — the players have come under fire for their lax performances in recent weeks. Sadio Mane and Thomas Muller need goals, while Joshua Kimmich has been criticized for his lack of defensive awareness. Serge Gnabry is entering year three of his long-term funk, which almost makes you question whether he was good in the first place. Practically the only player performing well in every game is Jamal Musiala, who is one of the youngest members of the starting XI.
Bayern started the season well, but these recent games have been totally incongruent with the quality of the squad and the level of talent on display. Given that Leverkusen are struggling themselves, this could be a good time for the team to find form and get their feet under them. If not, this season could go south very quickly.
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.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 8:30 pm local time, 2:30 pm EST
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