Another Sub-par Performance Against Stern Opposition from the German Champions.
Bayern could not cruise to another 6-goal victory against Werder Bremen, but were instead met by a hard-working, defensive-minded opposition. In the end, however, Bayern came out on top.
A Tale of Two Halves
The first half was reminiscent of many games seen throughout the 15-16 season. Die Roten dominated possession and the opposition happily allowed them to do so. This completely changed after the halftime break. A fierce and determined Bremen side emerged from the locker room and gave Bayern Munich plenty to think about. Fortunately, Bayern stayed cool and held strong in the back.
Thiago Cannot Return Soon Enough
Although Bayern ended the first half with two goals, there is no denying that the team is suffering from a lack of creativity, especially in the middle of the field. Even on his best day (which we have not seen in quite some time), Thomas Muller does not have the capability to pick and execute a final pass as expertly as Thiago. His presence was sorely missed in Bremen and Ancelotti will undoubtedly be eager to have his number 10 back in the starting 11.
With both Arturo Vidal and Thiago out due to injury, it was inevitable that the starting 11 would include young Joshua Kimmich. He was paired with Xabi Alonso in a double pivot but did enough work for the both of them. Whether going forward or tracking back, Kimmich proved that he is not just a reliable back-up, but should be in strong contention for a starting position week-in and week-out, even after the return of Vidal and Thiago.
Coman and Sanches Still Need Time
Admittedly, it would have been nice to see both of these youngsters in the starting 11. However, they were both given their chance, and both failed to make a lasting impression. Perhaps it is a little unfair to judge them, since they both came in after Bayern had the lead and were in no need of a goal. Regardless, neither player had the impact Carlo desired. With a solid run of matches ahead of the team, more chances are coming their way, and they would do best to capitalize on those sooner rather than later.
Manuel Neuer — 7.5: Did well to save every shot within his ability, could do nothing on the one that beat him. Excellently distributed the ball from the back and performed his “sweeper” role well.
David Alaba — 7.5: Placed a free-kick perfectly in the top corner of the goal to wrap up the first half, but lost the 1-on-1 which led to Max Kruse’s goal. Overall, an improved performance at left-back from the Austrian, who will surely be boosted by his goal.
Mats Hummels — 8: Distributed the ball excellently, but was sometimes outpaced by the Bremen counterattack.
Javi Martinez — 7: Like Hummels, did well to win many aerial duels, but lack of pace almost had him exposed on a few occasions.
Philipp Lahm — 7.5: A typical performance from the captain. Solid while defending, threatening when attacking.
Xabi Alonso — 7: A quiet night from the Spaniard, which is actually a good thing. Retained possession well and made some key passes while sitting back.
Joshua Kimmich — 7.5: All over the pitch today, Kimmich played the role of box-to-box midfielder well. Passed the ball around the pitch with ease, made many key tackles, and even had an expertly taken shot deflected wide.
Franck Ribery — 7.5: Other than his fine assist for Robben’s goal, Ribery had a relatively uneventful match, before being subbed off late in the game.
Thomas Muller — 5: You know the story. Thomas could do nothing to find space in a crowded Bremen defense, and had little effect on the match.
Arjen Robben — 8: A constant threat down the right wing, Robben’s precision strike opened the scoring for Bayern Munich. He won the foul which led to Alaba’s free-kick, and, had the ref been more sympathetic, could have won more.
Robert Lewandowski — 6: Isolated and often double-teamed, little could be done by Lewandowski to get himself into the match.
Renato Sanches — 6: Came on for Muller in the 61st minute, but did not provide much worth writing about.
Kingsley Coman — 6: Like Sanches, Coman could not make an impact on the game after replacing Robben in the 65th minute.
Douglas Costa — N/R: His 78th minute appearance left him with little time to do anything worth note.