Thiago, Juan Bernat, FC Bayern München - SV Darmstadt, C: Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images

3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – SV Darmstadt 98 1-0 (1-0)

The new and old German champions FC Bayern beat Darmstadt 98 at home, making their opponents’ relegation to Bundesliga 2 a done deal. Author: Christopher • Translator: Bettina

For the first time in a while, Bayern are starting into a May that has no sporting importance whatsoever. With no more games coming up in the domestic cup or in the Champions League, and with the title race in the league decided already, they have three games left that have little to no importance.

FC Bayern Munich vs. SV Darmstadt, basic formationsBayern vs. Darmstadt, basic formations: 4231 vs 4231

3 things we noticed:

1. Sanches

Much has been said about the young Portuguese, whose start to the season was far from ideal, and whose performance hasn’t improved much since then. After a long run in the Euros and an inury, Sanches’ time in Munich started with hardly any pre-season preparation last summer. In addition, there are language barriers; he speaks no German and hardly any English, which doesn’t make integration an easy task.

It’s all the more important, therefore, that Sanches can now get some playing time, especially in games that have little sporting importance. Sanches noticeably threw himself into the task. With 94 touches on the ball, he proved to be ever-present, and managed a passing rate of 89%. Four of his five long balls found a team-mate. In addition, Sanches won seven (!) dribblings – five more than any other Bayern player. An outstanding value.

Renato Sanches was visibly eager to perform well. (Photo: Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)

And yet, it was obvious that he was a little too keen: too often he got involved in unnecessary tackles that occasionally lead to balls lost to Darmstadt. A simple pass would have been the better decision in these situations.

At the same time, one shouldn’t forget that Sanches is a youth player. The transfer fee that was paid for him can’t be fulfilled by him. There remains the hope that the people in charge will give Sanches the time he needs and won’t act rashly. Today’s game should show everyone that Sanches certainly has something to offer.

2. Kimmich

Kimmich played the “law and order” role next to Sanches today, and in his 67 minutes of game time, managed to play 58 successful passes (out of 59). Most of all Kimmich tried to balance out Sanches’ slightly overenthusiastic style – with success. Even though he couldn’t initiate as many situations as he did last week, he still demonstrated that he will have a future at Bayern. In decisive scenes, he dropped back to support build-up play, switched sides when needed, and set up Ribéry and Costa, as well as the two full-backs Bernat and Rafinha, for good scenes. Their failure to convert these can’t be blamed on him.

3. Tom Starke

Tom Starke’s career at Bayern was supposed to end with an amazing number: with 1.85 titles won per game played, he would have set a record to last a long, long time. Now, with Ulreich and Neuer out injured, he will likely add two more games after this one, decreasing that number somewhat.

“Tom Strong” is the perfect showcase for the importance of those players in the squad that hardly ever get to play. They’re players who aren’t needed very often, but still play their role in the team’s success by accepting their role and supporting young players with their experience. Ideally, they even have an additional task: to make sure that the young players ahead of them prove themselves in every single training session. Starke has proven to have all of these qualities during his time at Bayern. He was always there when he was needed. He won the Bundesliga every year since coming to Munich from Hoffenheim. And he had his part in it, even if it was “just” a saved penalty against Darmstadt. With this success in the closing minutes of the game, Tom Starke even rose up to become this game’s matchwinner.

FC Bayern – SV Darmstadt 98 1-0 (1-0)
FC BayernStarke – Rafinha, Boateng, Alaba, Bernat – Kimmich (67. Alonso), Sanches – Costa, Müller, Ribéry – Lewandowski
BenchWeinkauf – Hummels, Thiago, Robben, Lahm, Vidal
SV Darmstadt 98Esser – Sirigu, Banggaard, Sulu, Holland – Kamavuaka (80. Rosenthal), Altintop – Heller, Gondorf, Vrancic (66. Sam) – Platte (59. Schipplock)
BenchHeuer-Fernandes – Steinhöfer, Colak, Höhn
Goals1-0 Bernat (18′)
Yellow cardsRafinha / Sirigu
Special eventsStarke saves Altintop’s penalty (86′)
RefereeGuido Winkmann (Kerken)
Attendance75.000 (sold out)


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