Another Super Cup Victory for Bayern
Julian Nagelsmann went with largely the same side apart from Kingsley Coman coming in for Leroy Sane. Before the match there was a moment of silence following the passing of Gerd Muller earlier in the week. No doubt, there will be a much bigger tribute this Sunday but the emotions could be felt none the less.
The first half started much better for the Bavarian side as they were far more involved and comfortable on the ball. As to be expected in such a match, the play was very much back and forth for the vast majority of the match, but especially so in the first 25 minutes.
Both teams would have chances, all missed, in the opening stages of the match but it wasn’t till the 41st minute that there was a breakthrough. Serge Gnabry picked up the ball on the outside and whipped it into a perfect area for an oncoming Robert Lewandowski who smashed it home with his head 0-1.
Following the break, Bayern came out again on their front foot and scored a second just four minutes after the restart. Alphonso Davies drove down the outside and found Lewandowski who was able to backheel it to Thomas Muller for an easy tap in 0-2. The play following this second goal started to gradually favor the black and gold side and in the 64th minute, Marco Reus scored a very nice shot from the edge of the box into the top corner to make it 1-2.
Dortmund looked like they might be gaining the momentum but ten minutes later Bayern would take a decisive lead. The recently inserted Corentin Tolisso closed down a torpid Manuel Akanji and the dispossession found a wide open Lewandowski in the box for an easy goal 1-3. This error killed the game in essance as Bayern cruised to victory to pickup their first piece of silverware of the season and the first for Julian Nagelsmann.
This is in no way a shot at Gladbach, who is absolutely a very good side, but Dortmund will almost certainly be Bayern’s biggest opposition to a tenth straight Bundesliga title. This match has become the biggest in Germany over recent years as the two clubs have been by far the most consistently strong teams in the league.
Therefore, this was the first chance we had to really gauge where Bayern stand at the moment. All things considered, Bayern made a good showing of themselves. It would be foolish to read too much into this match as early as it is and given that in all reality it is meaningless, but still they acquitted themselves well.
Kimmich and Goretzka looked much sharper from the first whistle. Davies didn’t need a colossal error to step up his game. The entire backline looked relatively solid. Yes BVB had chances but that is to be expected when facing a team as strong in offense as Dortmund is.
Of course there are still things to work on. Some of the passing is still sloppy. There are still some issues with players not being on the same page. There were some careless mistakes that need to be cleaned up. But it is still early in the year. A lot of these things will be corrected over time and some of them are lingering issues that maybe Nagelsmann can work with players on.
Still we’re all looking for answers as to how well Bayern will do this season and this match might give us a little glimpse of that. If so, Bayern should be in a solid position to complete their decade of consecutive Meisterschale’s. Dortmund will likely be the team that pushes them. Health and consistency will likely decide the rest.
One of the key’s to today’s victory was the difference in passion that the players seemed to have. Obviously they know Dortmund are a big rival and that this is a stage, but the difference in how they approached todays match vs how they showed up last Friday was stark.
The entire team seemed to be focused and amped up from the start. Kimmich was nearly in a fight five minutes into the match. Neuer and Lewandowski too were ready to make their displeasures known when BVB stepped out of line. It was a physical game from the start and Bayern didn’t back down. They held their own.
On top of that they attacked with vigor and speed. As mentioned earlier, this was a very back and forth match in general but Bayern was the more decisive in their transition game and less prone to errors in defense.
While it’s understandable that the players were more up for this match than the previous, Nagelsmann will need to find a balance here that sees better performances when they’re not playing the “bigger” side in the league. Of course, given that we’re two matches into this year, it’s also quite difficult to gauge whether this is truly a problem, or more of a one off start of the season issue.
Picking up where he left off last season, Lewandowski has scored three goals in his first two games. While I don’t think many of us are expecting a repeat of his incredible 41 goal performance a season ago, he is not missing a beat thus far. In fact, the Pole was involved in all three goals today as he picked up an assist on Thomas Muller’s effort.
Given that the wings in particular have been a little wanting so far this year, it is an excellent sign that our main talisman seems to be hitting on all cylinders already. His performances over recent years have left no doubt in the collective Bayern fandom of who the best player in the world is and so far this season, there seems no reason to believe that title is leaving Munich.