Robert Lewandowski bagged a brace as Bayern Munich returned to winning ways with a 5-2 thrashing of Union Berlin on Saturday.
Bayern Munich retained their place at the top of the Bundesliga table with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Union Berlin on Saturday. The victory helps them maintain their slender one-point advantage of Borussia Dortmund in what is becoming a close title race this season.
Coming on the back of a thumping 5-1 defeat at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern were always under pressure to perform in this fixture. To their credit, they started the game really well, using the momentum created by the early goal from Robert Lewandowski to dominate the proceedings throughout the first half.
It didn’t take long for Lewandowski to double his tally either, launching an absolute rocket from a well-constructed free-kick, just outside the box. Bayern stamped their authority further when Leroy Sane managed to tuck the ball home from a Thomas Muller cross in the 34th minute.
The Bavarians were heading into half-time with a comfortable 3-0 lead, but a stunning late goal from Niko Giesselmann restored Union’s hopes for a potential comeback. The hosts did dominate the early stages of the second half as well but eventually succumbed to pressure and conceded through Kingsley Coman in the 60th minute.
Union responded quickly by netting their second in the 65th minute, but Thomas Muller’s late goal meant that it was only a consolation. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Bayern Munich players in their comprehensive victory over the capital club this weekend.
Manuel Neuer: 6.5/10
Manuel Neuer was not able to put a stop to any of Union Berlin’s two goals on the night. He could have done a little better for Giesselmann’s effort on target. Other than that, the Bayern goalkeeper looked solid, with his ability to sweep long balls out proving to be critical time and time again.
Neuer is a better defender than Pavard pic.twitter.com/1zJUBkoQ7h
— Daniel van Buyten (@DanielVanBuytem) October 30, 2021
Josip Stanisic: 6.5/10
Josip Stanisic was awarded a rare starting opportunity after Benjamin Pavard’s stinker against Borussia Monchengladbach. It was not a bad decision by Julian Nagelsmann, as the youngster looked pretty solid in build-up play. His tactical versatility makes him a much better outlet than Pavard, although he lost sight of Giesselmann for Union’s opening goal.
Niklas Sule: 5/10
Niklas Sule did not offer much solidity after replacing Dayot Upamecano in the Bayern backline. He looked troubled, at times, when dealing with Union’s pacy forwards. He was most notably beaten by Kevin Behrens, who not only outpaced him but also dribbled past him to assist the second goal from Julian Ryerson.
Lucas Hernandez: 6/10
Lucas Hernandez was a bit more solid than Sule, as Union mostly focused on the left flank. It resulted in the Frenchman enjoying more time on the ball. He looked confident in his defensive work, but his night was cut short when he picked up a niggle in the second half.
Lucas Hernández says on Instagram that his injury is 'just a knock' pic.twitter.com/HlkpWCSSWX
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 30, 2021
Alphonso Davies: 7/10
After a disappointing performance in midweek, Alphonso Davies showcased his old self by dominating the flanks using his speed and trickery. His formidable attacking partnership with Leroy Sane proved to be a menace for the hosts, who were unable to cope with the pressure, especially in the first half.
Joshua Kimmich: 7/10
Joshua Kimmich provided stability in the Bayern Munich midfield. He looked much more comfortable than he did in midweek and recovered a lot of balls in midfield. Also looked tidy in his ball distribution while creating a few opportunities going forward. A clinical performance from the German international.
Corentin Tolisso: 6/10
Corentin Tolisso was given a rare opportunity to start by Julian Nagelsmann. However, it was not a particularly impressive performance from the Frenchman, who simply had it all too easy. Looked a bit more worked out in the second half as Union started to push forward more often.
Kingsley Coman: 7.5/10
Kinglsey Coman vindicated Nagelsmann’s decision of starting him ahead of Serge Gnabry with a valiant display on the flank. His pace always caused problems for the opposition defence, though the winger could have been a bit more effective with his deliveries from the wider areas.
Thomas Muller: 9/10
Thomas Muller today.
1 (beautiful) goal.
— Bavarian Football Works (@BavarianFBWorks) October 30, 2021
Thomas Muller was the undisputed Man of the Match for Bayern in this comfortable victory. The German international registered assists in three of Bayern’s five goals before scoring one himself late in the game. His deft touches, excellent combination play and clever positioning sense all combined to make life difficult for the Union defenders.
Leroy Sane: 8/10
Leroy Sane caused chaos on the left flank for Bayern, with additional help from Davies. He often looked to cut inside and take on the Union Berlin defenders, with one such movement leading to an early penalty. The winger then went on to score himself with a simple tap-in around the half-hour mark. He was a constant threat to Union Berlin.
Robert Lewandowski: 8/10
Robert Lewandowski returned to scoring form in style, converting an early penalty before sending in a rocket past Andreas Luthe, all within the first quarter of the game. Aside from the goals, the veteran forward worked hard with his movements and showcased his combination play with the likes of Sane and Muller to responsibly spearhead the line for the Bavarians.
Lewandowski finished off this free kick routine perfectly ? pic.twitter.com/qCXoCbYx7Z
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 30, 2021
Jamal Musiala: 6.5/10
Jamal Musiala was given some valuable game-time when he came for Sane around the hour mark. The youngster was very active down the left channel, taking on opposition defenders at every opportunity.
Marcel Sabitzer: 6/10
Marcel Sabitzer offered more freshness in the Bayern Munich midfield, which was essential in putting off the Union Berlin press.
Dayot Upamecano: 7/10
Dayot Upamecano remained solid at the back. But it was his brilliant solo run followed by an expert through ball to Muller for the fifth goal that raised many eyebrows.
Benjamin Pavard: 6/10
Benjamin Pavard kept things neat and tidy after coming on for Stanisic during the final phase of the game.
Serge Gnabry: N/A
A late replacement for Coman. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.