In the summer round-up we’ll keep you up to date every week with Bayern’s national players.
David Alaba’s shattered dream
Recently we proclaimed that the Euro 2016 could provide the next big moment for David Alaba. Now we are talking about a tournament that ended in, as you might call it, the biggest disappointment in his young career. Until now at Bayern Munich as well as in the Austrian national team there was no criticism whatsoever. He brought joy to supporters of both parties without making any serious mistakes on and off the field.
Although at the end of the last season one might have gotten the impression that the 23 year old may be a little bit tired and that the positional changes throughout the season were not quite beneficial to his performances overall. During the Euro you could recognize that he played with a lack of concentration combined with tiredness and some kind of discomfort that people who followed him for a while have never seen before. Who knows? Maybe the whole tournament would have gone the opposite way if he had managed to score his first shot, which hit the post after only 30 seconds vs. Hungary in the first game. That stresses how big of a factor psychology is in the world of football. As a result Alaba could not reach his top level. That will probably cause a whole lot of criticism, which he has to deal with during the holidays. As a consequence the young Austrian should use the spare time to regenerate and focus on up and coming tasks with Bayern Munich. Next season, under Carlo Ancelotti, he will probably be back playing as a left-back, his main role, where he is not only a good player but the best there is on the globe.
Young and fun – Sanches, Coman, Kimmich
Until now there are only a few players, like Dimitri Payet or Ivan Perisic, causing a stir who are not those the public have had in mind, when they were talking about the key players of the EURO 2016. Moreover there are young, growing stars that are playing convincingly although they have only had their breakthrough recently. Three of them are currently, or will be, playing for Bayern Munich.
Renato Sanches had two opportunities to showcase himself as a substitute in the first and last game of the group stage. In those two games he managed to arouse interest with his dribbling’s, interceptions, and smart positioning as well as with his strong passing abilities. His performances in general make us feel excited to see more of him in the future.
In comparison to Sanches, Kingsley Coman had a whole lot more opportunities to draw attention to himself, which he used impressively. Didier Dechamps counted on him in all three games. Especially when the French national team was struggling he helped the team with his outstanding dribbling skills. When playing for his home country his role is quite different to Bayern Munich. Due to the fact that the full-backs at the French national team are executing their play with much more power on the wings, he is forced to move to the centre respectively the half-space of the pitch, where he has a lot less space as he is used to.
Nevertheless he managed to impress with his passing in addition to his positioning. Both worked perfectly in the French combination game. Another factor you may outline is that he was frequently present in the first line attacking the opponent as well. By doing so he profits a lot from his physique. He is able to recover balls, but hardly ever loses one while attacking. Needless to say Kingsley Coman has much more to work on, like for example his crosses go astray too often, but this is something that he will certainly improve over time.
It is astonishing how mature Coman plays at the age of 20, nearly always taking the right decision. This kind of in-game intelligence distinguishes him from other wingers. Although sometimes you get the impression that a bit more risk would benefit his game. In comparison to all players with more than 100 minutes played at the Euro, Coman had most dribblings per game (5.2). Regarding his success rate (9/155 minutes) he takes the fourth place overall just behind Bale (13/263 minutes), Hazard (10/270 minutes) and Weiss (10/233 minutes). Furthermore he is currently the fastest player at the Euro with 32.8 km/h measured in the draw vs. Switzerland.
He will get more chances to proof himself in the ongoing tournament, although it is questionable how often Dechamps will use him as a starter. Starting or not, Kingsley Coman could be a big factor in the French mission to win the title at home for their nation.
Speaking about big factors… Joshua Kimmich made his first appearance at the Euro in the game vs. Northern Ireland. He played as right back instead of Benedikt Höwedes, who as a competitor showed respect for Kimmich just after the game and said that playing Kimmich was “the right decision of Joachim Löw”. The stats speak for themselves: 9 crosses, 4 key passes, 104 touches and 2 shots on target as well as a passing accuracy of 90% are showing how big of a factor Kimmich was in this game (playing a mainly defensive position). He took the German attack to another level compared to the previous games. Due to the fact that Kimmich and Hector were storming up the wings, Müller and Götze had the opportunity to play more in the centre of the pitch. As a result there were several options available and the dependence on the wings was significantly less present than in the games vs. Poland and Ukraine. In the end Germany had 28 shots on target, which is quite impressive if you consider the fact that the Irish were mainly focused on stabilizing their defence.
In the next game vs. Slovakia Löw must count on the 21 year old, even so it seems hard to rate his defensive performance. He won 56% of his one-on-one duels, but as we already mentioned the Irish did not really try to create something going forward themselves. Some German newspapers already compared him with Philip Lahm, but that seems a bit exaggerated. However you cannot deny that there are some similarities, even beyond both having the same number on their shirts..
Offence flop, defence top
No Lewandowski, no Müller, no Götze. All of the Bavarian strikers did not manage to score a goal in the first three games of the tournament. Even though the two last mentioned could have netted at least one goal each in the game vs. Northern Ireland.
Sadly Thiago, who at his top level is also able to score goals, is still no factor for the Spanish national team with their coach Vicente del Bosque.
In contrast to the poor offensive performances of the Bavarian internationals you could not be more proud of their defensive efforts. Especially the German national team benefits a lot of the skill-sets Boateng, Hummels and Neuer bring to the table. They did not concede a single goal in the first half of the tournament. Boateng’s performance in general throughout the Euros is just amazing. Coordinating his teammates, winning his one-on-one duels and creating offensively – he is just the whole package. Regarding Mats Hummel’s, he has had some difficulties after the injury break but all in all he played solid as well. Can you imagine those two top class defenders will be playing week in week out in the Bundesliga and the Champions League together? Prepare for next season! And then there is Manuel Neuer. Even if Boateng and Hummels are out of business you have to face the best keeper in the game. Case closed!
Copa for Vidal?
After losing the first matchup vs. Argentina only few counted on Chile to reach the Copa America final back again. To be fair the first games were not easy to watch. The Chilean play constituted of too many mistakes and a missing structure regarding the build-up play. Against all odds Juan Pizzi and his team improved a lot, which lead them to their second consecutive final appearance. Together with Sanchez and Vargas, Vidal took a big part in the offensive triangle that was crucial on their way through the tournament. Unfortunately he missed the semi-final due to a yellow card suspension, but will be back with his teammates when they are taking on Argentina to defend their title. Messi and his Argentinian fellows are favourites, but who knows maybe in the next round up we have our first Bavarian title winner of the summer to write about.
Overview upcoming matches:
- Renato Sanches and the Portuguese national team face Croatia in the last 16 of the Euro. (Saturday 25th of June 09:00pm CET)
- Kingsley Coman and the French national team face Ireland in the last 16 of the Euro. (Sunday 26th of June 03:00pm CET)
- Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Mario Götze, Thomas Müller and the German national team face Slovakia in the last 16 of the Euro. (Sunday 26th of June 06:00pm CET)
- Arturo Vidal and the Chilean national team face Argentina in the Copa America Final. (Monday 27th of June 02:00am CET)
- Thiago and the Spanish national team face Italy in the last 16 of the Euro. (Monday 27th of June 06:00pm CET)
Bayern player of the week
Joshua Kimmich. He played outstanding which is no big news for those who watched him during the previous season, but if you take in mind that he is only 21 years old, you cannot get tired of emphasizing his special performances. Not only on, but also off the pitch he surprises with maturity and cleverness only few talents have had at such a young age. That is why Joshua Kimmich is our Bayern player of the week.