Jersey Swap: Aymen Barkok
Mainz 05 created multiple stray opportunities but didn’t really threaten Bayern Munich in any real concerted manner. If there was a player that was most consistently dangerous, though, it was Aymen Barkok. The Moroccan was always dribbling and moving into dangerous areas as he attempted to exploit the space in behind the LWB. But there wasn’t ultimately any end product.
Der Kaiser: Benjamin Pavard
While Benjamin Pavard is far from the most popular player at Bayern, today’s performance was a timely reminder that the Frenchman is, in fact, a very good player. Back in his preferred position at center-back, Pavard was consistently solid, passed out from the back well and cleaned up while the other two center back, Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt, made some silly mistakes here and there. It will be interesting to see if Nagelsmann persists with the back three, which would allow Nagelsmann to play Pavard in this position all the time.
A honorable mention to Daley Blind, who made his debut today and impressed with his passing.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
Of course this was given to Joshua Kimmich. This is always the case. The award that is so predictable. But it is nearly impossible to give it to anyone else, not just because Kimmich basically operated as the only midfielder, but because Kimmich was just so good at knitting play together, distributing the ball wherever it had to go and plugging up gaps when Mainz attacked. As always, his passes over the top were the most noteworthy, as he played many beautiful passes that left the Mainz defense floundering. His cute pass over the top to assist Davies’ goal was the cherry on top. There were one or two times he nearly put Bayern in danger, but that can be forgiven considering how good he was in the rest of the match.
Der Bomber: Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting
After two games in which he didn’t score, there were already whispers about how Bayern should replace Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting because the former Mainz striker was simply not good enough. So Choupo decided to drop a masterclass against his former side in his favorite competition to prove everyone wrong again. The Cameroonian’s fantastic movement and striker instinct was crucial as he volleyed in the all important opener, before a display of brilliant improvisation saw him flick the ball on to Sane to net the third. All throughout the game, Choupo was moving through the spaces, dropping deep when necessary and providing that focal point up top that is so crucial to Bayern. Came off for a deserved rest towards the end of the match.
Meister of the Match: João Cancelo
What debut this was for João Cancelo. After just 18 minutes, he got his first assist by finding Choupo in the box with a beautifully curved cross. But it was not just his assist that was so good. All throughout, Cancelo’s incredible passing ability was on full display as he clipped passes in behind from out wide to runners such as Müller and Choupo, adding a dimension to Bayern’s attack the team had previously lacked. His energy was also palpable as he ran up and down the right flank. He came off early, perhaps, but he had done more than enough. What a performance this was from the new transfer, who had only officially been signed the day prior to the match.
Müller of the Match: Thomas Müller
The last time I did this, it was as a joke but this is serious praise for the incredible Raumdeuter. Today, Thomas Müller demonstrated yet again why he is so important to Bayern. He was consistently popping up in the right positions, causing havoc, clearly enjoying the Cancelo’s passes and leaving the Mainz defenders chasing shadows.
Müller’s assist and pre-assist today perfectly encapsulated him as a player. The assist looks like an easy pass to Jamal Musiala and the pre-assist for Sane’s goal like an aimless hoof, but it is impossible to call them that after Müller has made an entire career pulling off these kinds of things. These are not random occurrences, this is what he does all the time to incredible effect. What an amazing player Thomas Müller is.
Interested in a more in-depth look at the match, including the formation/tactics deployed by Julian Nagelsmann, Joao Cancelo’s debut, and the amazing influence of Thomas Muller? Well, why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about all that and more! Listen below or on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support!