After only finishing the group as second placed team, Bayern were prepared for the worst. Luckily enough, they got one of the easier draws in Besiktas. Nevertheless, the Turkish team were not to be underestimated. Full of individual quality and experience, this match could easily turn out to be an unexpected nightmare.
3 things We Noticed:
1. All on red
In the early stages of the match, Bayern found themselves facing an aggressive, high-pressure opponent. Besiktas didn’t give the hosts a chance to build up in a controlled way. As usual this season, the Bavarians had big problems against an opponent with high pressing, the early advantage in terms of scoring chances seemed to be rather random.
With the (completely correct) expulsion of Domagoj Vida, the situation changed dramatically. The guests simply couldn’t afford the intensive, man-oriented defensive work while shorthanded. The course of the game was then decided by who scored the first goal.
Bayern exerted pressure with little creativity, Besiktas relied on individual skills in counter-attacks. Müller’s goal was thus all the more important just before the break. He gave the hosts the much-needed shot of safety and confidence.
Of course, you can’t blame them for settling the match in a most professional manner. In the second half, they made the opponent run and showed patience. It should also be praised that it was possible to end the tie early by pushing for more goals until the last minute.
Nevertheless, when assessing the performance and the result, we should not forget what the match looked like at 11 against 11.
2. Improved by being weakened
If the best creative player of the last few months has to leave the pitch due to injury, it’s never good news. But, for the structure of the hosts, it was actually helpful that James Rodriguez had to be replaced by Arjen Robben.
In the first half, Bayern had massive problems with the ball because they struggled to get into the attacking third in a controlling manner. Since Arturo Vidal, who was positioned high up the pitch, had a rather weak day and James Rodriguez served as a deep-lying relay, the central attacking midfield was awfully deserted.
The sensible half-time adjustment would have been to pull Vidal backwards or replace him completely. We’ll never know if Heynckes would have made that change. But, since James had to leave the pitch, this change was no longer necessary.
The changeup – Robben as true winger, Müller in the central area, Vidal further back – immediately resulted in a stronger and more familiar structure. The passing lanes were more obvious, the game was widened, the decimated opponent decoded.
Besiktas did not stand a chance against the widely spread FCB with dribbling danger looming on both sides.
3. Guess who’s back
What he has already strongly hinted at over the last few weeks was once again underlined again today: Thomas Müller is back. After an unbelievably long crisis, frustrating for fans and player alike, the dreaded “Raumdeuter” is now back on track.
First there’s the two goals. Once stumbled over the line while turning his body, once pushed in at the short post – what looked simple today, Müller did not succeed at for many months. But even beyond that, this is the old Müller again. Free spaces are constantly being spotted and filled, he is reliably involved in the combination play and can handle even difficult passes properly.
If Müller can hold on to this form until the end of the season, he will not only remain a part of the first eleven but will also be a key player on the road to success.
Especially right now, as the old axis around Ribery and Robben vanishes, his abilities are valuable in launching and executing attacks.
|FC Bayern – Besiktas|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez – Müller, Vidal (83. Tolisso), James (44. Robben), Coman (81. Ribéry) – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Starke, Wagner, Süle, Rafinha|
|Besiktas||Fabri – Adriano, Pepe, Vida, Erkin (69. Gönül) – Hutchinson, Medel (85. Arslan) – Quaresma, Talisca, Babel – Vágner Love (57. Tosic)|
|Subs||Zengin, Negredo, Ozyakup, Lens|
|Goals||1:0 Müller (43.), 2:0 Coman (53.), 3:0 Müller (66.), 4:0 Lewandowski (79.), 5:0 Lewandowski (88.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Lewandowski / Quaresma, Pepe, Red: – / Vida|
|Referee||Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)|
|Attendance||70.000 (sold out)|