With Bayern having practically confirmed the leadership of Group A with their 4th victory in 4 matches with a 3-1 victory over RB Salzburg, all eyes are on the future. Here are the observations from the game and what they could mean for the future.
Man do FC Bayern hard, and I mean greatly Miss Joshua Kimmich. This team just isn’t close to the same without him. Even if RB Salzburg’s lone goal was controversial (more on that later), Bayern would have given up more goals if Manuel Neuer wasn’t Manuel Neuer.
Alaba and Boateng seemed slow and at times gave sloppy sales figures; Pavard had its ups and downs throughout the game, while Chris Richards made his Champions League debut, albeit somewhat forgettable. With Süle struggling with fitness issues and Davies still injured, the depth of defense is precarious and Bayern must seek more cohesion with their defense going forward.
What superlatives does Manuel Neuer have left? He literally stopped Bayern from drawing – or worse, losing – this game against RB Salzburg. He’s had several notable saves, but none were as great as this:
Don’t @ me when I say Manuel Neuer recovered as the number 1 goalie in the world at the age of 34. He is right The captain and today was just another series of highlight worthy stops.
VAR, I would like a word
Let’s put aside all other aspects of the game for the simple reason that if VAR hadn’t made a wrong decision, FC Bayern would have had another clean sheet. Whether it is deserved or not is up for debate (* ahem * Neuer), but VAR was clearly wrong in giving the goal to Mergim Berisha in the 73 ‘minute.
VAR has had its ups and downs. But for a goal check to last north of 3 minutes and always get it wrong, it’s worrying to say the least.
The lucky reds are advancing
All things considered, Bayern have also been extremely fortunate to come forward. Just check the xG card for this game:
Yeah. This match was the classic definition of ball luck. Not only was their second goal a goal against his own RB Salzburg, but Lewandowski also managed to put the first goal in the net thanks to a lucky rebound right in front of him. Yes, I am aware that football is all about ‘the right place at the right time’, but in all fairness Bayern should not have won this game. Yet that’s the mark of a great team, not a good team. Winning games when playing badly and when you’re not supposed to. While there are valid concerns about form and depth at Bayern, we are in the round of 16. So for now, we’re celebrating and hoping to have some reinforcements soon.