Bayern Cruise to Victory in Rome
Bayern came out firing from the start and took just 9 minutes to get their first goal. Robert Lewandowski positioned himself extremely well and a poor back pass from Musacchio towards Pepe Reina saw the striker intercept, take a dribble around Reina and pass it into a wide open net. 15 minutes later Musiala would get the ball from Goretzka just outside the top of the box, take a dribble and hit a low shot into the corner to make it 0-2.
Just before the half Sane would score the third following a fantastic run by Kingsley Coman that saw him leave one defender on his rear and dust another in the box. That bit of play more or less wrapped up what was by far the best performance by Bayern in months.
The second half started off with another mistake by Lazio as Acerbi put one in his own net to make it 0-4. Two minutes later Correa would get one back for the Italians after he dribbled through several defenders in the box and picked out a corner past Neuer.
In my match report following Bayern’s loss at Frankfurt, I questioned whether Bayern would be able to “flip the switch” when they desired. Tonight proved that the answer to that question at the moment is still yes. This looked much more like 2020 Bayern than 2021. They were simply fantastic, especially in the first half.
Offensively they were simply wonderful. The passing was crisp and on target. Those passes almost always lead to dangerous moments. The dribblings had purpose and crosses into the box actually looked as though they might find a red shirt.
The defense as well was actually pretty solid throughout. Apart from a few shaky moments, they largely shut down all attacks from the Italian side. The offside trap worked well. They seemed for once to actually be on the same page. Sule played very well, even providing some of his signature runs up the wing and thereby offense. Sane did a good job of tracking back when necessary to help out the big German. In short, this is the team that we all know they can be but rarely see these days. When Bayern is in this type of form, there are only a few sides in the world that have a chance against them.
However, I would be surprised if this led to much better performances on the whole particularly for most of their Bundesliga matches. The players were clearly up for this match. I even think it’s reasonable to expect them to turn up for these big Champions League matches when it matters, but I wouldn’t expect much more.
They are still exhausted and very depleted at the moment. They will need to conserve energy the best they can while still trying to win. That is something that they have mostly been successful at doing this year though recent weeks have taken their toll. I suspect though we will not likely see them come out with this much energy and effort again until the next round of the Champions League despite the fact that they play Dortmund in eleven days time.
Whether they can muddle their way through those matches and find ways to win will likely determine how many trophies they win this season. This match certainly proves that when they’re at their best, they’re very, VERY difficult to beat, but until they prove they can sustain this effort and form for extended periods of time, I think we’re likely to see them “flip the switch” back off and play more like 2021 Bayern than 2020.
This is the first time in a very long time that it is a difficult decision for all the right reasons. So many players were excellent today, but as a bit of appreciation for his improving form, I’m going to select Leroy Sane. It’s no secret that the new winger has had his share of struggles this season. Prior to his injury a few weeks ago, Serge Gnabry was the preferred selection alongside Coman. That may be starting to change. At the very least, Sane is working his way back into starting consideration.
Tonight he was excellent. Time and again he took on the defenders and left them in his dust. He and Lewandowski combined so many times in and around the box that is almost unbelievable that they didn’t combine to score a goal despite both of them finding their way onto the score sheet. More importantly, that connection with Lewandowski and the other offensive players appears to be getting better. There are still times where they are just not on the same page and you can see the frustration and potential but those are becoming less and less and that potential in the near future will start becoming reality more and more often.