Bayern Munich was back to business at the Allianz Arena, putting Union to the sword instantly, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the first half and making the second half a mere formality. The attack was fluid, loads of chances were created, and Union was contained in their own half for the majority of the game.
A good confidence boost before a crucial period.
Notacticsmann Nagelsmann planned this to perfection
Union Berlin actually looked very good at the beginning, bunkering down and making life miserable for Bayern’s attack. The compact arrangement made it difficult to break down their midfield and defensive lines, which is when Nagelsmann used his tactical prowess to devastating effect.
Shouting commands at the top of his lungs, he made Musiala, Goretzka, and Coman reposition themselves to exploit spaces in the opposition third. De Ligt switched between playing as a 6 and as a CB the entire game, while Kimmich did his best impersonation of a DM. And it worked wonders.
Particularly, Bayern’s constant switching from the flanks to the center was something that caught Union off guard. Kingsley Coman was instructed to stretch the defense, while Müller and Musiala expertly cut inside and interchanged positions around the box. Goretzka was outstanding today, especially on the defensive side of things, chipping in with numerous great tackles and interceptions and preventing Union from getting any rhythm in their build-ups and counters.
Müller + Musiala = Magic
Nothing more to say about these two that hasn’t been said already. Thomas Müller had a routine outing, dishing out 2 assists (yes, that’s very common for him), while birthday-boy Musiala was tremendous in the final third, scoring a goal and creating numerous chances and fast break opportunities for Bayern. When these two interchange positions constantly, it is over for the opposition.
Nagelsmann seems to be using their qualities to perfection. The entire attack looked in sync, with the presses being well coordinated and forcing Union to commit errors. Special shoutout to Kingsley Coman, who has been a delight to watch of late, bagging a goal (fantastic finish) and an assist. If the same attack starts against PSG with Sadio Mané maybe slotting in for EMCM, this could be a cruising victory despite the return of a certain French striker.
Bayern’s best defender on the pitch today, full stop. And that says a lot, considering De Ligt had a solid outing, while Davies and Stanisic weren’t tested too much. The Frenchman was everywhere on the defensive third, making crucial blocks and boasting a pass success rate of 95%, and winning 6(!!) aerial duels (whoscored). It’s going to be silly to sell him for anything less than 40 million euros, and even that is only IF he really wants to leave.
If there’s even a toenail’s chance of keeping him in Munich while also having Mazraoui man the RB position (Cancelo would most likely be too expensive), the Bayern board absolutely has to get it done.
Finishing still poor overall
Thomas Müller, despite being the incredible player and icon that he is, did not want to finish today. And so did Davies. They simply refused to score. Sure, Rönnow was really annoying throughout with those saves, but it really felt like most of the shots were just aimed straight at him. Even Musiala could’ve had a goal or two more with better placement.
Make no mistake, this team is incredible. But it feels rather frustrating to watch some exquisite chances being created only to be wasted by a heavy first touch or a poor finish. A proper No. 9 is definitely a requirement in the summer shopping list, but right now, we just hope that the sheer number of chances created means the team can fashion at least 2-3 goals every game.
The incredible 12th man
Bayern Munich has one of the world’s best home fan support. The Allianz Arena was rocking today, with the fans screaming and clapping with electric energy and the support not waning from start to finish. The songs were clearly audible throughout the live commentary, despite the background sounds being filtered out. The intensity inside the stadium felt like something you’d imagine during gladiator bouts in the Colosseum.
The fans will be crucial in the home leg against PSG. If Bayern receives anything like the support it did this game (which I suspect might be multiplied to befit the occasion), PSG might retreat at half-time.
Interested in a more in-depth look at the game? Will Julian Nagelsmann stick to this setup? Should he? And is the Bundesliga stronger this season? We tackle all those questions and more in the latest edition of our podcast. Listen to it below or at this link.
As always, we appreciate all the support!