Bayern Munich vs Viktoria Plzeň:-Bayern Munich’s away win over FC Viktoria Plzeň was a weird one to figure. The Bavarians secured Champions League qualification and did their jobs in thoroughly professional manner — but played an uneasy second half that saw them finish the game having conceded as many shots as they scored.
At one point in the second half, the televised broadcast flashed a stat of distance ran and Bayern — despite having the lion’s share of possession — were around 1km/player over their opponents! Usually, it’s the team with the initiative that forces the other to cover more ground and try to defend.
Here’s how German media outlet kicker rated the players on each team:
And a few takeaways:
- No love for the full-backs?? It’s once again a puzzling indictment made on Noussair Mazraoui, who to my eyes is continuing his blossoming into a real transfer window coup for sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić & co. What did he do wrong?
- Leroy Sané and Kingsley Coman well deserve their plaudits. Coman showed how he can be the man to get in behind a deep line, and Sané was generally too much to handle in the 10 spot.
- Sadio Mané, again, is a little harshly graded (by kicker). The Senegalese forward didn’t only grab an exceptional team goal — he was a smooth operator in attack, making a number of exciting and incisive chance-creating passes. Among them was one that placed youngster Mathys Tel free on goal, only for the left-footed shot to go directly at the keeper.
- Mané was also an important leadership presence late on. Bayern had a good chunk of game left to play at 4-2, and the way things were going, another Der Klassiker outcome could have easily materialized. Mané directed players around, slowed up opposing free kicks, and settled possession to help kill the clock and temper what might have been some over-exuberance from some of the other attackers.
- Joshua Kimmich was excellent in setting the tempo and delivering play-making passes again. A 3 seems a little low. There was at least one moment where he scrambled ahead in for a challenge, only to be predictably bypassed by a press-releasing pass that put Plzeň 3-on-3. Individual, or tactical? It’s hard to say.
- Sven Ulreich didn’t have the sharpest day deputizing for Manuel Neuer, but I did enjoy see him put on his sweeper-keeper cap — as well as make one stupendously on-point reaction save at point-blank range.