Analysis: FC Bayern Munich – FK Rostov 5-0 (2-0)

FC Bayern started the new Champions League season with a home win. A solid performance against the Russian runner-up was enough to secure the first three points. Author: Christopher • Translator:

With the game against Rostov the crunch time with two games per week started. 6 games in 18 days. Starting with today’s win, which was the 13th straight home win for Bayern in the Champions League.

Bayern - Rostov starting formationsFC Bayern Munich – FK Rostov, 13.09.2016, starting formations.

3 things we noticed

1. Weak positional play created a slow start

As we have already witnessed in the game against Schalke 04, Bayern does have a hard time creating chances from open play. They move their attacks to wide positions very early in their build-up, oftentimes just 15 metres behind the midfield line. Thus often creating early crossing attempts from the half spaces. The three Russian central defenders didn’t break sweat with these balls. In the first 45 minutes alone Bayern attempted 25 crosses, but only a few scoring opportunities were created. How crosses can become dangerous demonstrated the ball just before halftime. Nevertheless a conversion rate of 4% is not very impressive.

Whether crosses are reasonable or not, is an ongoing discussion, but Bayern can be criticised for their one dimensional approach in this game. The focus on crosses was too big. No alternatives were visible, even with 81% possession. Thus it is no surprise how shots from distance or free-kicks created the most danger for Rostov’s goal. On the other hand the three goals in the second half showed how crosses can be used efficiently, when played with tempo and directness, all from the left side.

2. Kimmich as a goal scorer

At the press conference Carlo Ancelotti already announced that Joshua Kimmich will be among the starting XI. It wasn’t the worst decision by the Italian coach. Kimmich already scored with the national team and against Schalke 04 in the last week. Against Rostov the young Bayern prospect even scored a brace. The 3-0 Kimmich initiated himself and then moved all the way up the pitch to score in the penalty box. At the 4-0 Kimmich showed, how you can score with a header even though you are a rather short player – when the opponents simply lose track of you.

Besides the brace Kimmich also had a courageous performance. In the first half he repeatedly tried to get things going in the right half space, but the link-up with Rafinha left room for improvement. Oftentimes both hit the crossing button to early – nevertheless the right side of Bayern’s build-up play looked sharper compared to the other side with Vidal to support. This also shows in the numbers. Kimmich had the most key passes in the whole Bayern team.

An interesting side note were the quotes by assistant coach Herman Gerland before the game. He sees Kimmich’s future as a right full-back, since he has the necessary football knowledge and the speed & stamina.

Kopfballungeheuer Kimmich auf Torejagd (Foto: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Aerial powerhouse Kimmich as a goal scorer.
(Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Thiago in the spotlight

Thiago filled in for Alonso as the number 6. In many scenes the Spaniard demonstrated his pressing resistance and his overview in the build-up play. With smart switches he tried to break open the static game of Carlo Ancelotti’s team. With 13 out of 16 successful long balls and 92.2% passing accuracy he indicated, how he could be a key player in a big game for Bayern.

With five intercepted balls Thiago also showed his defensive footballing intelligence and was able to stop a couple of potential counter-attacking chances by the guests. Especially in the opening twenty minutes where Rostov was still trying to counter attack.

Thiago continued under Ancelotti at the level of performances, which many Bayern supporters would have liked to see last spring. The Spaniard appeared more focused and clearer in his actions. The decision making was more confident in many scenes. The verticality Thiago can inject in the Bayern game makes him very valuable for Ancelotti in the upcoming weeks. In midfield Thiago is currently the man in the spotlight.

FC Bayern Munich – FK Rostov 5-0 (2-0)
FC Bayern MunichNeuer – Rafinha, Javi Martinez, Hummels (51. Bernat), Alaba – Thiago (71. Renato Sanches) – Kimmich, Vidal – T. Müller, Lewandowski, Douglas Costa (64. F. Ribery)
BenchUlreich – Lahm, Green, Xabi Alonso
FK RostovDzhanaev – Kalachev, M. Mevlja, Cesar Navas, Granat, Terentyev – Gatcan – Erokhin, Noboa – Azmoun (64. Prepelita), Poloz (46. Doumbia)
BenchMedvedev – P. Gueye, Ezatolahi, Bayramyan, Bukharov
Goals1-0 Lewandoski (28.), 2-0 Müller (45. +2), 3-0 Kimmich (53.), 4-0 Kimmich (60.), 5-0 Bernat (90.)
CardsYellow: none
RefereeTaylor (England)
Attendance70,000 (sold out)

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