The results might indicate otherwise but without making a mistake… Bayern Munich were a deserved winner, and it didn’t look like the Armenia side could cause any serious problems, largely due to Bayern’s play, clever pressing style, and fast and sharp passing. The midfield was very good today, with Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka doing a neat job as double pivots. The match ended with Bayern getting 2.42 xG compared to 0.7 for Arminia, which more or less sums it all up. Had it not been for Stefan Ortega’s performance from Another World, the game would soon have been over.
Alphonso Davies is the best attacking defender in the world
Successful shuffles? Check. Multiple shots on goal? Check. good crosses? Check. Attacking the wing with speed and strength? Check. This guy can do it all, and he’s still only 21 years old. Let this sink in.
Davies has been one of Bayern Munich’s best players so far this season, and a large part of the credit for that goes to Julian Nagelsmann, who truly makes the best of the player. Yes, being adventurous so far on the field often can leave things a bit tight at the back, but Davies’ main strengths lie in attacking from behind, while retracting to defend when needed. Nagelsmann seemed to make the defense somewhat more conservative, with Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano putting in a really great game and a clean sheet (!!!!).
Interestingly enough, Benjamin Pavard also had a very strong game and was good in defence. He also ventured forward to attack multiple times, which is a welcome change. When Niklas Süle fully recovers, that backline will look intimidating.
Müllendowski took off his socks
Robert Lewandowski is an underrated playmaker. He should have had at least 3 assists in this match if Bayern players (including Thomas Muller) had brought in the scoring boots. He often found himself isolated in the front, fell deeply or moved to the wings to receive the ball and carry it forward. His flicks, puppets, and one duet resulted in some incredible opportunities that can’t be turned.
With Muller, I was more impressed by the defensive contributions. Sure, he scored an assist, but that was far from being the most impressive play he’s had during the match. He always fought for the ball, got it back several times, and launched attacks quickly. There was a moment in the game when the Bielefeld midfielder made a save, controlled the ball and passed it to Leon Goretzka, and it was fantastic.
As long as these two are on the field, Bayern’s chances of achieving the double this season look very high.
Ortega – goalkeeper (for opposition teams)
Arminia goalkeeper Bielefeld kept himself in the match and put in an outstanding performance. Making six amazing saves from close range and several shots from distance, he really managed to beat the sticks for today’s visitors. Bayern Munich have never failed to bring out the best in their opponent’s goalkeepers, but I really hope the tide will turn in favor sometime soon, as it is exhausting to face Manuel Neuer’s premier team next week.
Return 3, return 4, or both?
On paper, Bayern Munich’s lineup looks a record 4-2-3-1 with two full-backs. However, the story is a little different on the field. Davies’ rise off the field means Pavard usually has to back off, with Lucas on the left and Upamecano covering the middle. In this game, we saw flashes of both. 4 appeared when Pavard also attacked a bit, and 4 appeared more defensive when Davies came back to defend against Bielefeld’s attack. Back 3 was pretty straightforward too, especially at the beginning.
Is fluid forming a bad thing though? This provides Bayern with tactical flexibility and a way to adapt to different situations. Lucas and Oba did a great job in the center, and Pavard was a counterweight to Davis at times. When Süle joins the fight, the “back 4” may be more visible since both linebackers are attack-oriented. However, Bayern’s defense balanced today, which is important when you want a clean sheet.
Against clubs like Armenia, almost all Bayern Munich defenders will play close to half of the midfield or even in the Armenia half, which is why it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a proper full-back structure. , but it was a solid performance and Bayern also managed to keep two clean sheets, which has become somewhat of a rare occurrence.
Well, the defense is working just fine.
If you want to know more about the match, check out our podcast: