A clean sheet on Manuel Neuer’s return
After a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a broken leg injury sustained while skiing, Manuel Neuer has made a return to Bayern Munich’s starting lineup. While there is an argument to be made that Neuer’s pass to Joshua Kimmich resulting in the latter picking up a red card was a poor decision, that sort of buildup is simply part of how Bayern play. Neuer made a good close-range save to deny Darmstadt’s Marvin Mehlem from taking the lead in the 35th minute and saved all three of the other shots he faced, preventing 1.26 xGOT (expected goals on target) to round out an excellent performance.
A top performance from the refereeing team
In a match where three red cards were rewarded, a penalty was called back, and a goal was ruled offside there was ample opportunity for a high-profile mistake from the referees and VAR team. But no such mistake was made. Referee Martin Petersen had a good grip on the game, always making the correct calls, and always being consistent in his judgment. VAR still receives a fair share of criticism, predominantly from Premier League fans, but the Bundesliga is doing it right.
Kimmich to miss Der Klassiker
Early in the first half, Kimmich saw red after fouling Mehlem as the last man back. This makes a second poor performance in a row for Kimmich, after a toothless display against Galatasaray in the Champions League that saw him give away a penalty. This red card means that Kimmich will be suspended for Bayern’s upcoming heavyweight clash against Borussia Dortmund. Barring Leon Goretzka returning from injury, this leaves Konrad Laimer as the only player available who would typically play in the central midfield pivot.
A tale of two halves
The first half of the match saw Bayern go down to ten men, Darmstadt joined them with a first red-card offense and eventually went on to have another player sent off. While these events changed how the game was played, with the amount of space each player had increasing, Darmstadt looked the better team for many spells during the first half. This was even the case when both teams had 10 players, which could be cause for concern for Bayern. Fortunately, the second half went differently for Bayern, as the attack sparked to life, scoring goal after goal. Ultimately the second half display more than made up for the shortcomings of the first.
Interested in more analysis of this crazy game? Is Harry Kane suffering from Erling Haaland syndrome? Why doesn’t Thomas Müller play more? We talk about all that and more in our postgame podcast! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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