Almost eight weeks after the DFB Cup final defeat, there was another match for the FC Bayern Team. Of course, another spicy aspect was that the almost Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel met the new Bayern coach Niko Kovac.
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Of course, Niko Kovac didn’t have all the players in his side yet. Those who participated in the World Cup were all missing in Klagenfurt. Nevertheless, Ribery, Robben, Rafinha, Martinez, Wagner and Ulreich were some well-known faces in the starting line. The squad was complemented by players from the various Bayern U-teams, including Stanisic, Batista Meier and Will.
On the other side, Thomas Tuchel’s team presented a similar image: lots of youth players in the starting line-up. Rabiot and Buffon will likely remain in the squad in the future, others will be forced to take their place behind the many stars in their squad. Nevertheless, the game developed in an exciting way.
After some half chances on both sides PSG took the lead through Weah. Will misplaced a pass in midfield which allowed Paris to quickly switch play. Weah was put through for a direct duel with Stanisic. The Bayern player had no chance and Ulreich was not able to do anything (31.).
The second half started wildly with chances on both sides. Wagner hit the crossbar with a header. On the opposite side, Nkunku missed two excellent opportunities on his own in front of Ulreich.
FC Bayern equalised the score in the 60th minute with a standard situation. A corner of Robben found Martinez, which he was able to head in unchallenged. After a few more substitutions on both sides, FC Bayern struck again.
Sanches, who had already crossed in a few good corners, took a free-kick at the right corner of the penalty area and cut the ball past the wall on the right.
The increased speed paid off in the second half time. When Gnabry was substituted, he received a long ball which led him to the center. There lurked the likewise substituted Zirkzee, which he coolly turned in for 3:1.
FC Bayern deservedly won 3-1 in the second half due to an improvement in their performance, and the Munich-based side’s increased speed put Paris under greater pressure. It was almost logical for the Munich team to score the goals. Soon after the break, Paris failed to make a final decision.
Things we noticed:
1. Renato Sanches
Renato Sanches started in the left half of the midfield. He played a little higher than the lone Six Will. Sanches attempted over and over again to be available as an outlet with a high running readiness. In some cases he managed to get out of PSG’s midfield pressure very well by skilfully turning his body.
The highlight for Sanches was the goal. The free kick was a beautiful shot. It was also nice to see the body language after the strike. Sanches stretched his arm up, laughed and was cuddled by his teammates. This goal is important to Sanches. On many levels!
What he still lacks is a good sense of space. Here his decision making must be improved even more: “Do I really have to go into a duel? Or is covering the space enough?” Hopefully, playing experience in the coming weeks will give him additional security.
Nevertheless, it was a hopeful performance from the Portuguese, who was the best Bayern player over the two halves.
2. Sluggish build-up play in the 1st half
FC Bayern had no idea how they wanted to play this game.
PSG used a variable 3-4-3 system, which became a five-chain system when they lost the ball. Tuchel’s team then used midfield pressing to regain possession of the ball.
The Münchners could not come up with any solutions over long distances. Ribery and Robben were isolated on the outsides. The defence did not provide enough relief in the build-up. This was often followed by structural shortages between Will and Sanches against three or four players from Paris. This impression was reinforced by some ball losses due to expected mispasses. Thus, the Munich team did not have a serious goal-scoring chance in the first half.
3. Old stars must prove themselves
The performances of Ribery, Robben, Martinez, Rafinha and Wagner provided more questions than answers in the first half. With all the players mentioned, it is very difficult to identify a worthwhile action. It was Arjen Robben who tried to launch attacks again and again. Some combinations with Batista Meier were quite promising, but in the end they failed in their attempts.
Due to the problems listed in point 2, Wagner and Ribery were clearly disconnected and had no chance to draw attention to themselves.
Rafinha and Martinez had some problems with the build-up and passing. None of the players mentioned could take advantage of the earlier training.
4. Coman and Alaba revive tired Bayern
At halftime, Kovac brought in Kingsley Coman and David Alaba. These two changes brought more security and momentum to the team. Coman broke through on the left side again and again and initiated attacks together with Alaba and Sanches on the left side, although the first pass still had no immediate effect. It was noticeable how the pace of Coman enlivened the game of Munich. This effect was intensified from the middle of the second half when Gnabry came on the field.
Alaba’s speed of action also had a positive effect on the structure of the game, which meant that Tuchel’s team could no longer face up as well as in the first half.