Bayern Munich entered the final round of the Saturday fixture slate in desperate need of a convincing win. Pressure had been mounting on Julian Nagelsmann’s side to break out of a slump of form that had persisted since the Bundesliga restart. Union Berlin pulled level with the perennial champions prior to kick off in what has quickly become a congested top half of the league table.
In the end, the much needed victory never came and the home side were forced to settle for a third consecutive draw. For the first time in years, Bayern look uncomfortable. Not fragile, nor depleted, but far from convincing. Leroy Sané provided the opener for Bayern in what was a fairly straight forward first half. Frankfurt had been justifiably set up to absorb an overload of attacking pressure, but handled it well for large portions of the match.
Forced to open up and take risks, Frankfurt were able to break away with a few chances of their own which stemmed from a shift to a high pressing foundation. Randal Kolo-Muani capitalised on a Bayern turnover by drifting past Dayot Upamecano to drive a perfect finish to the far post. Though the remainder of the match required immense focus on the part of Frankfurt’s defense, it was Bayern’s which looked most unstable in withstanding pressure.
Bayern’s poor form had provided potential glimmers of hope to the league heading into this tie, many were correctly reserved and refused to make any legitimate claim of a title challenge. This has surely changed with the result against last season’s Europa League champions. The temperature has risen on the Bayern coaching throne as a mere five points now separates the two teams. Nagelsmann will prepare for a trip to a surging Wolfsburg, while Oliver Glasnow will head back home for an encounter with a limping Hertha squad that’s fresh off of a derby loss to Union Berlin.
Yann Sommer, 6
Bayern’s new keeper was forced to attempt the type of sweeper-keeper interception that the home fans are accustomed to seeing from the injured Manuel Neuer. He was slightly late to the challenge and ended up picking up an early yellow card for his mistimed tackle on Kolo Muani. However, the Swiss goalkeeper settled in and could not have done much in the concession of Frankfurt’s 2nd half goal from Kolo Muani.
Josip Stanisic, 7
A relatively quiet display in both attack and defense summarises today’s showing from Stanisic. He accurately played a ball wide to Thomas Muller in the first half that led to Leroy Sané’s opening goal, but other than that was generally not involved in Bayern’s brightest moments. Though, it can be argued that he may have looked the most comfortable in defense out of Bayern’s back line.
Dayot Upamecano, 4
The Frenchman missed what should have been a fairly easy open header just minutes after Leroy Sané opened the scoring. After a cleared set piece fell to Coman, he played a great ball toward the back post and an unmarked Upamecano. His disappointing downward header was sent wide of goal. Mario Götze baited him into a booking with a brilliant piece of skill before Upamecano lost the individual battle with compatriot Kolo Muani to allow the equaliser.
Matthijs de Ligt, 6
The Dutch center-back picked up an early booking for a clumsy tackle which broke up a potential counter-attack. He recovered from this by looking fairly solid for the remainder of the game. He recorded the highest passing percentage among outfield players at 94.3% and 134 touches.
Alphonso Davies, 7
The Canadian wing-back his usual high-flying self and covering seemingly the entire left side of the pitch in the process. He lost out on a couple of individual battles with Frankfurt’s Kolo Muani which led to decent chances on the other end. However, he made up for these mistakes with some crucial interceptions, including a clear chance for Jasper Lindstrom that saw Davies cut off what would have required a typical 1 vs 1 save from Sommer.
Joshua Kimmich, 7
Having rescued Bayern from what many considered a deserved loss in the previous round, Kimmich put in a decent performance against a hungry Frankfurt team. Having taken a potentially dangerous foul from Sebastian Rode in the first half, the German managed a solid game at the heart of Nagelsmann’s midfield. He played some great balls wide to stretch the defense and broke up plenty of would-be opportunities for a pacey Frankfurt forward line.
Leroy Sané, 6
The German winger opened the scoring with a fantastic driven connection from Thomas Müller’s cross. However, the remainder of the match found Sané missing out on some good chances and failing to pick out the correct teammate when the opportunity had arisen. Inconsistency has come to define his performances in Munich. This was no different.
Thomas Müller, 6
Though he was involved in an incredible 300th goal for the club via his first half assist to Sané, he also spurned a few chances which could have allowed for a more comfortable lead at half time. Much to the away side’s credit, he was unable to really find space to operate around the Frankfurt penalty area.
Jamal Musiala, 7
One of the brightest young talents in world football was fairly quiet once again in what was an overall thrilling encounter. Though we witnessed flashes of his incredible ability on the ball, there was no end-product to the majority of his carries out of a congested midfield. Still, he posted a team-high 3 key passes and a successful dribbles total which only trailed Alphonso Davies (4).
Kingsley Coman, 7
It was going to be difficult for Coman to find much of any space to operate on the left flank due to Frankfurt’s set up. He was marked closely by Buta and had a hard time beating the Portuguese to the in-line to play balls back across the penalty area. The Frenchman’s brightest spot was a very well-played cross to Upamecano that should have been Bayern’s 2nd goal.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 6
The ever-reliable center forward was solid in his hold up play and was able to set up both Müller and Sané for decent chances on goal. Much like his fellow forwards, he found little space to work with and needed to buy time for the speed of Sané, Coman, and Musiala in behind. Considering the aggressive marking on the part of Hasebe and Ndicka, Choupo-Moting did well despite being held off the scoresheet.
Kevin Trapp, 7
The German international was not called upon for action until Joshua Kimmich forced a save from another dangerous shot from distance in the 30th minute. The deflected parry fell to Thomas Müller and saw Trapp make a quality double save. Overall, Trapp was his stable self and didn’t gift anything to a Bayern team that was desperate to extend its lead atop the league table.
The Brazilian had a brilliant opportunity to put the away side in front in the 12th minute from a perfect corner delivery. Unfortunately, he failed to make clean contact and allowed for a fairly comfortable save from Sommer. He was cool in defense and managed to break up a couple of quality Bayern passing combinations that required his composure in what was not his primary position for the club. All things considered, he held his own and supplied the squad’s defensive shape with pace and energy where it was needed.
Makoto Hasebe, 7
Veteran leadership is always desperately needed when faced against superior opposition. Frankfurt received just that from Hasebe as he managed a consistently solid and convincing performance in the center of a back five until the final whistle.
Evan Ndicka, 8
While some had been slightly critical of the young Frenchman’s recent performances, this was a far more comfortable showing alongside the reliable Hasebe. The defensive pairing successfully held off a potential late winner from Bayern and Ndicka’s strength was enough to prevent Mathys Tel from delivering it with just minutes to spare.
Aurelio Buta, 6
Buta held his own for most of the match in what was always going to be a daunting mission of slowing Bayern’s wing play. He found it understandably difficult to navigate past the mercurial Alphonso Davies and was unable to provide much in attack. What was required in a game such as this was tireless effort in defense and the Portuguese came through.
Sebastian Rode, 6
Rode was deployed in order to break up the central midfield play for Bayern and provide a physical tone to the tactical effort from Frankfurt. He did just enough in this regard and found himself with the team’s 2nd highest number of successful tackles (4).
Djibril Sow, 7
The Swiss international partnered alongside Sebastian Rode to try and eliminate the effectiveness of Bayern’s build up play through the middle. It was a job well done as he posted the highest successful passing percentage among Frankfurt’s midfielders at 88.2%.
Ansgar Knauff, 7
Knauff’s impact may go under the radar with Kolo Muani continuing to shine, but credit should be given to the Dortmund loanee for his ability to stretch the play, provide an outlet on the wing, and then cover the darting runs of Sané and Co. His versatility was key and showed he was more than capable of adapting to the unpreferred positional role.
Jesper Lindstrom, 7
Jesper Lindstrom’s team leading 4 tackles at half time were indicative of the manner in which Frankfurt chose to approach this match. He was effective in tracking back, while also providing an outlet via the counter-attack. He very well could have scored early on if it weren’t a perfectly timed interception from Alphonso Davies. Blistering pace was enough to keep Bayern uncomfortable at the back and it was his end-to-end commitment to aggressively engaging with 50/50 balls which made a difference in this match.
Mario Götze, 6
The technically brilliant Mario Götze was tasked with providing a key through ball to unlock the high Bayern defensive line. He was mostly limited for touches and found little time on the ball in the first half, but was heavily involved in Frankfurt’s attacking play once the tactical shift was altered after halftime. He floated between midfield and the forward line effectively and held up play with trademark dribbling in tight spaces amidst pressure from Bayern.
Randal Kolo Muani, 9
Muani continued to be the brightest spot in the Frankfurt attack. Having been restricted for much of the game, the star forward finally made the breakthrough for Oliver Glasnow’s Frankfurt with a brilliant piece of individual skill in beating Upamecano for pace and slotting home an equaliser in the 70th minute. He was always a threat and often extended play with exquisite hold up play when it appeared that any hopes of a Frankfurt counter-attack would be choked off.
GGFN | Reece Edwards