Champions League MD 01 Match report: Bayern vs. Atlético
Just under 24 hours before kick-off, FC Bayern announced that Gnabry tested positive for COVID-19. The German international was sent home for self-isolation and is reported to show no symptoms. The best news.
Hansi Flick decided against Costa as his first choice replacement for Gnabry. The Bayern coach emphasised to Sky Germany that he considered the Brazilian not ready yet. As a result, winger number 5 in the Bayern squad Thomas Müller took on the job. Tolisso replaced Müller in the center. This had advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, Müller was able to intermittently shift in from the outside, on the other hand his team was deprived of the capacity to create danger with one-on-one dribbles on the right flank. As a result, FC Bayern’s right side game was very easy for Atletico to calculate.
‘Atletico Madrid – What is midfield pressing?’ In the football version of Jeopardy, Atletico would certainly be appreciated for their tactical acumen. The guests knew almost perfectly how to allow Bayern possession only where it did not hurt them. Time and again Madrid set up pressing traps into which the Bavarians were only to eager to step. However, the Spaniards generated too few chances from their ball wins.
In the 29th minute Kimmich showed how Atletico could be opened up despite their tight organization. After a blocked shot from Goretzka, Kimmich recovered the ball with a sliding tackle against Joao Felix, regaining possession for Bayern. He looked up and played a perfectly weighted chipped ball to Coman. The rest is history. Kimmich needed some time to get into the game, but after 20 minutes he started dominating the midfield and as a result FC Bayern dominated the game.
Kingsley Coman scored the first and last goal in the 2019/2020 Champions League season, and Coman scored the first goal again in the new season. Nearly every of his actions in the first half had substance to it. Clever dribbles, strong finish and with a great vision before the 2-0. The 4-0 showed the whole class of the Frenchman. With his performance Coman made clear that he will not surrender his claim to a place in the first team to Gnabry, Sané and Costa without a fight.
Bayern’s game was not without mistakes. Due to a number of enforced misplaced passes in build-up play, Atlético at times had promising moments in transition. Away from Suárez’s big chance in the 3rd minute of the game, Bayern were able to prevent Atlético’s transition game through very aggressive pressing. When they did not succeed in forcing Atlético to make a mistake, Bayern trusted in their defensive line to bail them out in the penalty area. This approach did not always appear the most convincing, but it was enough on the night.
After a shaky start to the second half that saw Atlético failing to get a goal back, Bayern quickly stepped up their game again and retook control. Atlético became dangerous only when Felix was able to run at speed at the Bayern defense. In these moments, the otherwise effective pressing by Bayern was not enough against Atlético’s 4-5-1 shape, but they were rare ones. On the other hand, Bayern also created a number of good opportunities through Müller. Tolisso’s wonder strike and the great dribble by Coman decided the game 15 minutes from time.
The COVID-19-enforced absence of Gnabry has shown how vulnerable football is in times of a global pandemic. The people in charge and the fans have to bear this in mind, especially as the number of cases throughout Europe is rapidly rising. Precisely because the long-term after-effects of a COVID-19 disease are still unclear, it is only logical that any infection should be avoided. Everyone involved should be aware that football is the most beautiful unimportant matter in the world, but it is only an unimportant matter. That is why good concepts of how to keep football going amidst a raging pandemic are needed in order to minimise the risk as much as possible.