10 Man Bayern Demolish Stuttgart
In what has been a pattern with Bayern, they came out looking a little sleepy. Stuttgart on the other hand came out of the gate firing creating a few chances very early. Then the match was turned on it’s head in the 12th minute when Alphonso Davies ended up being sent off following VAR review of a late challenge where he missed the ball completely and stamped on Wataru Endo’s foot. The straight red seemed harsh given he was clearly going for the ball but there is no doubt it was a bad challenge. The unfortunate thing is that he will also miss the match against Leipzig as a result.
However, that game changing event didn’t change things the way most of us would think. Just five minutes later, Serge Gnabry would play in a wonderful low pass towards Robert Lewandowski who was just able to get a toe to the ball and redirect it into the back of the net 1-0. Seven minutes later, Leroy Sané and Thomas Müller would combine for several very nice passes before Sané would find Gnabry for a wide open shot which he coolly put in the back of the net 2-0. Immediately following the restart, Müller would get the ball on the wing and send in a perfect cross to Lewandowski who headed it home to make it 3-0 in the 23rd minute.
Play slowed up a little after that but Lewandowski would strike again to complete his first half hat trick after a mistake by the Stuttgart defense to make it 4-0 at half time. The second half never really hit the same levels as the first, though that probably is to be expected. Bayern chose to play a little further back, likely to conserve energy, and try to hit Stuttgart on the counter. Lewandowski would have one more chance, maybe his easiest on the day as Pavard played across a ball to a wide open Lewandowski but the ball took a bad bounce right before his shot and it sailed over the bar.
Whether it was the wakeup call they needed, the increased space, Stuttgart letting up a bit or something else, Bayern turned it on following Davies’ sending off. After largely being played off the pitch for the first 12 minutes, the next 12 would be completely dominated by the Bavarians as they would score 3 goals against a stunned Stuttgart. They were aggressive, clinical and ruthless.
In fact, this might be the most dominant Bayern have played since their 4-1 defeat of Lazio in the first tie of their Champions League match up. It’s frustrating that it takes something like a sending off to bring out this type of effort and play but proves that when Bayern are motivated, they are a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully it won’t take this type of event to get the best out of the squad going forward. Obviously being a man down is not the way you want to play, especially against better sides but sometimes they do look like they need something to wake them up early in matches.
Following the International break, Bayern will take on Leipzig in an all important matchup that could either see Bayern take a commanding lead with a win or put them under incredible pressure for the remainder of the season with a loss. That job however got a lot tougher today as both Jerome Boateng and Alphonso Davies will both miss the match through suspension. Hopefully, everyone else remains healthy and available in the back line because things are getting very thin. At the moment, a back line of Pavard, Süle, Alaba and Hernandez is certainly enough to not make you overly worried, but the depth is practically nonexistent.
The midfield is also put in a position where they can’t really afford any missing players with Javi Martinez and Jamal Musiala the only remaining backups for those positions. Still today’s win is important as no matter the result, Bayern will still have a lead in the table following their top of the table tie.
Clearly this goes to Alphonso Davies….just kidding…kind of. But seriously, who else could really win this but Robert Lewandowski. His three goals today feel as though they should ensure him passing the 40 goal mark this season as he is sitting on 35 with eight matches left to get those goals. More importantly, he was nearly flawless today, especially in the first half. Every one of his goals was well earned and showed how complete of a striker he is. Holding off his defender and redirecting in the first, heading home the second and positioning himself to be able to take advantage of a mistake for his third. It was a masterful performance from a player who is clearly the best in the world today. The first goal was also extremely important as it really galvanized the side and changed the course of a match that appeared to be going the wrong direction.