On the eve of the first game in the Champions League for Bayern Munich, the Bavarian giants welcomed to Munich Manchester United, who the club had not played against since 2014. Here are the match awards for the game:
Jersey Swap: Rasmus Højlund
The Danish striker, who had been linked to Bayern this past transfer window, fared very well in a rather subdued performance from the Red Devils. He did well in duels against Bayern’s incredibly physically imposing center backs, keeping them pinned back and providing a focal point for Manchester United, as they regularly wandered into Bayern’s half in the first 20 minutes. He also managed to cut the deficit early in the second half with a clever improvised finish past Sven Ulreich.
Der Kaiser: Kim Min-jae
Kim Min-jae duelled excellently against Manchester United’s forwards and mopped up every pass behind the backline. Kim did well to stand up and deal with Manchester United while Bayern struggled early on, then proceeded to make United’s forwards seem nearly invisible once Bayern took control of the game. Bayern’s newest center-back signing is certainly living up to the hype. He could do little about any of the goals.
Der Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
Though he was one of the numerous players who struggled early on, Kimmich was key in establishing control over the game after Bayern went in front. His defensive judgement, impressive duel win rate and ever present excellent passing were all what Bayern needed today, even if it took some time to come. And, of course, he ended up with yet another assist, sensationally chipping the ball over the United defense to Mathys Tel for what proved to ultimately be the game winner.
Der Bomber: Leroy Sané
Other players such as Jamal Musiala and Harry Kane deserve shoutouts for their good performances and goal contributions, but Leroy Sané was the one who most consistently provided danger for Bayern. Even though he didn’t hit the dizzying heights he had in many of his previous performances, Sané was always the one driving forward, poking holes in the United defense, making runs that had United’s defenders desperately racing back and threatening United’s defense repeatedly. His goal was fairly lucky and owed a lot to Onana making a mess of things, but he was then unlucky to not score with some wicked shots after that. Currently, Sané is absolutely indispensable for Bayern.
Meister of the Match: Dayot Upamecano
Upamecano deserved this redemption against Manchester United. It might seem strange that the “Meister of the Match” is a defender after conceding three goals, but there was little Upamecano could do about any of them. He was just as excellent defensively as Kim, consistently outmuscling his opponents and providing a calming presence he hasn’t always managed to do. His passing was steady and controlled even when Bayern was in disarray early on, which was absolutely vital in helping Bayern eventually settle. He even contributed by bursting up the field to set up a couple of chances.
Notably, Upamecano had a nightmare performance against United a few years back for RB Leipzig, particularly suffering against Marcus Rashford. To put in such a complete performance against them now, nullifying Rashford as well, highlights his impressive improvement over the years.
Looking for more analysis on the Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United match? Check out the Bavarian Podcast Works — Postgame show on Spotify or below: