Jersey Swap: Dominik Szoboszlai
Future Bayern Munich player Konrad Laimer put in a pretty decent shift, but the 22-year-old Hungarian wonder, Szoboslai, was the true danger man for the home side. Szoboslai’s dynamism, technique, and attacking hunger all contributed to putting the Bavarians under sustained pressure, particularly in the second half. His slick nutmeg of Dayot Upamecano on the counter led to a near-breakaway chance — and Bayern’s World Cup stalwart was lucky to escape his ensuing tactical foul with just a yellow.
Szoboslai is not yet a household name, and this wasn’t the match that will propel him there. Still, one gets the sense it is only a matter of time.
Der Kaiser: Matthijs De Ligt
MDL was everywhere today, involved in a number of tight duels where his intervention was absolutely required to stop Leipzig from snatching one out the gates. He may have not been in favor in Louis van Gaal’s back three setup for Netherlands at the World Cup, but the center-back has been massive for Bayern in Julian Nagelsmann’s back four. Today was no exception. He held down the left side very capably on a day where Dayot Upamecano — who opted for almost no break between his World Cup campaign for France and the return to training in Bavaria — had a rough outing.
On the wings, Benjamin Pavard put in a strong shift at right-back also — but there was limited final product for any of Bayern’s attackers.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
A strong if not overpowering day back at the office for both of Bayern’s pivot players. Kimmich had loose moments — and one of them proved costly. But he also was his usual precise self for the rest of the game, contributing loads both in possession and out. A 92% pass completion percentage on 74 passes with 3/4 accurate long balls — that’s a typical day for the indefatigable number six.
And Kimmich’s defensive contributions were equally important. Leipzig showed good movement and on more than one occasion Kimmich had to fight back and make a crucial ball recovery just when the heat was starting to turn up. Like everyone else, Kimmich was just getting warmed up again after a long midseason break, but settled into his groove over the course of the game.
Der Bomber: Serge Gnabry
Bayern’s fleet-footed inside forward found himself marauding down the left flanks again today, whereas he’s usually been deployed on the right. In the early going, this didn’t look a smooth switch. A number of miscommunications left Bayern’s early initiatives sputtering — the pass coming in either behind him as he made his run, or ahead of him as he looked to drop back.
That all changed when Leroy Sané found Gnabry on a beautiful cross-field switch to set up Bayern’s only goal. As Sané — who also had a decent game — frantically waved his hands to call for a return ball centrally, Gnabry instead curled his cross into far post with laser-guided precision and found Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The assist would prove vital and makes him an easy nod.
Meister of the Match: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
If Gnabry’s assist was a composition of wondrous delight, Choupo-Moting’s finish was even better. The Cameroonian striker had by no means a simple task — arriving at the far post with defenders draped all over him. He had the physicality to get there, the intelligence to position himself perfectly, and the deftness to nudge his shot past Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich (filling in for the injured Hungarian international, Péter Gulácsi).
That would be Choupo’s only shot of the night, though he was involved in some link-up and pressing actions as well — showing that he’s more than just a poacher. Most importantly, it was the kind of goal that you wonder if any of the other forwards on Bayern’s roster currently could have scored. In that respect, Choupo is picking up right where he left off: saving Bayern’s bacon. As his contract status looms for the front office, Choupo is offering Bayern executives a taste of what they might be missing should they let him go.
Want to hear more about the game? Why not check out our post-game podcast? Samrin is here to take you through an intriguing Nagelsmann lineup, unsteady performances, Yann Sommer’s debut, and more! Listen below or directly on Spotify:
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