Bayern Munich gave Freiburg a sound thrashing at the Europa-Park Stadion, with the hosts being overwhelmed by a scintillating attacking performance from the Bavarians in the second half. Of course, the 4-1 scoreline could still be in jeopardy following the suspected presence of 12 Bayern players on the pitch at some point late in the second half (yet to be confirmed).
We can only hope that that never happened and that even if it did, it didn’t affect the play by much. Several footballing regulations seem to make a yellow card awarded to the concerned player the norm in such situations. Hopefully, the result stays the same, and there isn’t any change in the outcome of the game.
With all that said, here are some observations from the match:
With most of the players in the squad having just returned from international duty, it seemed like Nagelsmann had them take it easy in the first half, with more emphasis on controlling possession, dictating the tempo, and conserving energy. This resulted in a lopsided possession graph, and Bayern was able to pass the ball around Freiburg’s box for 45 minutes.
However, since that didn’t get Die Roten any goals, Nagelsmann probably gave the boys an energizing pep talk at halftime and instructed them to change the tactics a little, because it really showed in the second half. The team pressed more as a whole, starting taking more shots, with the passing looking crisper and the play quicker. Lewandowski was subbed off early, probably as a precaution, as were several other players a few minutes later. The sudden suffocating press and a huge influx in chances generated meant Bayern was bound to score a bunch of goals sooner rather than later.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The immediate impact of Leon ze Professional
Make no mistake: Leon Goretzka still is one of the world’s best no. 8s. When paired with Kimmich, there is no midfield pairing in the world that can upstage this duo. Better than the sum of their parts, this Bayern midfield machine can clobber any midfield and thoroughly dominate the center of the park against elite opposition. Goretzka in particular was immense today, with his resolute defending, quick, progressive passing, and an almost telepathic understanding of Kimmich’s whereabouts.
He scored Bayern’s first with a superb header, assisted by none other than Kimmich, his partner in crime. This must be a great confidence booster for the German, who has been out with an injury for months. Bayern fans can only hope that he can stay fit and firing because this midfield duo will have a huge say in Bayern’s UCL hopes.
The curious case of right-wing Sané
Leroy Sané has looked like a different player since Nagelsmann moved him to the left wing. He’s been one of Europe’s best wingers this season and has racked double digits in both goals and assists. That being said, he looked appalling in the right-wing position this game. It seems like he just isn’t suited to a role on the right, where he looked slow and downright clueless.
That being said, Coman was quite good on the left, but it certainly feels like Sané’s production is hampered on the right side. The solution seems to be switching the positions of Sané and Coman. The latter can play well on both sides, and his strong right foot would make him an asset down that wing. In any case, if this was an experiment, we can be sure that Nagelsmann would’ve learned something today.
Lucas ‘the rock’ Hernandez
There are few defenders in the world who have been more impactful for their clubs than Lucas Hernandez has been for Bayern Munich. Currently one of the best CBs in Europe, the Frenchman was once again immense for the Bavarians. Yes, several players deserved a shoutout — Müller, Coman, and Gnabry among others, but Lucas really stole the show with his stellar defending and productivity up front.
His passing has improved leaps and bounds during his time at Bayern, and he registered a whopping 5 key passes today, registering an unbelievable assist for Bayern’s second. After controlling the ball and breezing past his man, Lucas sent in a worldie of a cross that found Gnabry’s feet, and the latter just had to slot the ball in past a helpless Flekken. He had the left side locked down throughout the game.
Lucas is proving time and again to have been a brilliant acquisition, and he’s definitely going to play a huge role in any success Bayern enjoys domestically or in Europe.
Super impactful substitutions
Nagelsmann showed great tactical acumen by making a host of highly impactful substitutions. This was highly reassuring since the Bayern manager has been criticized in the past for being reluctant to sub in players. Gnabry made an immediate impact right after coming in, scoring Bayern’s second. Musiala was outstanding in midfield, while Süle was solid after coming in.
Sabitzer also made his presence felt, with a wonderful finish after a series of botched-up tries. The substitutions were made at the right time, and all had a great impact on the overall outcome. Another great game from Bayern’s coach.
If you’re looking for more analysis of the game, why not check out our postgame podcast? Listen to it below or at this link.
As always, we appreciate all the support!