Shirt change: Dominik Szoboszlai
Future Bayern Munich player Konrad Laimer made a decent enough change, but 22-year-old Hungarian wonder Szoboslai was the real danger for the home team. Szoboslai’s dynamism, technique and hunger for attack all contributed to putting the Bavarians under sustained pressure, particularly in the second half. His slippery Dayot Upamecano nutmeg on the counter led to a near-breakaway chance, and Bayern’s World Cup stalwart was lucky to escape his ensuing tactical foul with just a yellow.
Szoboslai is not a household name yet, and this was not the party that will propel him there. Still, one gets the feeling that it is only a matter of time.
The Kaiser: Matthijs De Ligt
MDL was everywhere today, involved in a series of close duels where his intervention was absolutely necessary to prevent Leipzig from snatching one out of the gates. He may not have been in favor in Louis van Gaal’s setup of three for the Netherlands at the World Cup, but the centre-back has been huge for Bayern in Julian Nagelsmann’s four. Today was no exception. He held down the left side very skillfully on a day when Dayot Upamecano, who opted to have almost no rest between his World Cup campaign with France and a return to training in Bavaria, had a difficult start.
On the wings, Benjamin Pavard also made a strong switch at right-back, but there was limited end product for any of Bayern’s attackers.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
A strong, if not overwhelming, day in the office for Bayern’s two pivotal players. Kimmich had loose moments, and one of them was costly. But she was also his usual pinpoint me for the rest of the game, contributing charges both on possession and off. A 92% completion percentage on 74 passes with 3/4 long passes accurate: that’s a typical day for the indefatigable number six.
And Kimmich’s defensive contributions were just as important. Leipzig showed good movement and on more than one occasion Kimmich had to defend himself and make a crucial ball recovery just as the heat began to rise. Like everyone else, Kimmich was warming up again after a long midseason layoff, but he settled in over the course of the game.
The Bomber: Serge Gnabry
Bayern’s speedy inside forward found himself prowling the left flanks again today, whereas he has generally been deployed on the right. At first, this didn’t seem like a smooth change. A series of communication errors caused Bayern’s first initiatives to fail: the pass came in behind him as he ran or in front of him as he sought to fall back.
That all changed when Leroy Sané found Gnabry in a beautiful cross cross to set up Bayern’s only goal. While Sané, also having a decent game, frantically waved his hands for a return ball in the middle, Gnabry instead sent his cross to the far post with laser-guided precision and found Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Attendance would prove vital and makes for an easy wink.
Match Master: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
If Gnabry’s assist was a marvelous composition, Choupo-Moting’s finish was even better. The Cameroonian forward did not have an easy task: reach the far post with the defenders on top of him. He had the physique to get there, the intelligence to position himself perfectly and the skill to push his shot past Leipzig goalkeeper Janis Blaswich (replacing the injured Hungarian international Péter Gulácsi).
That would be Choupo’s only chance of the night, although he was also involved in some liaison and lobbying actions, proving he’s more than just a poacher. More importantly, it was the kind of goal that one wonders if any of the other strikers on Bayern’s current roster could have scored. In that sense, Choupo picks up right where he left off: saving Bayern’s bacon. As the status of his front-office contract looms, Choupo is offering Bayern executives a taste of what they could miss if they let him go.
Do you want to know more about the game? Why don’t you check out our post-game podcast? Samrin is here to take you through an intriguing Nagelsmann lineup, shaky performances, Yann Sommer’s debut, and more! Listen below or directly on Spotify:
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