Three things we learned as Bayern Munich comfortably dispatched Stuttgart with their finest performance of the season

Bayern Munich overcame Stuttgart 3-0 at the Allianz Arena to keep the pressure on Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga table. After a disastrous performance away at Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 14, Bayern were on a mission to silence their critics, and when Harry Kane struck the back of the net in the second minute, a long evening appeared to be ahead for Stuttgart. However, despite two further goals being ruled out prior to the break, Bayern were unable to further their advantage heading into halftime.

Nevertheless, in spite of Stuttgart’s overwhelming possession, goals from Kane and Kim Min-jae would give the Rekordmiester an unassailable lead after the interval, punishing the visitors who struggled to create a significant chance on goal. A comfortable performance for Bayern sees them remain four points behind Leverkusen, while defeat for Stuttgart leaves them in fourth, five points in front of Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern avenge their Frankfurt demons

On matchday 14, Bayern Munich were left stunned by Eintracht Frankfurt, who inflicted an embarrassing 5-1 defeat on Der Rekordmeister. While Bayer Leverkusen were unable to take advantage of the opportunity handed to them with a 1-1 draw against Stuttgart, questions regarding the mentality of this Bayern side were beginning to be asked.

However, after their Champions League victory away at Manchester United and now their impressive win over Stuttgart, Thomas Tuchel’s side look to be back on track. Harry Kane’s strike in the second minute saw the Englishman claim Bayern’s fastest goal of the season, while subsequently calming any nerves that were in the Allianz Arena.

Two goals ruled out in the first half were quickly forgotten about after the interval as another Kane strike gave Bayern a 2-0 lead before Kim Min-jae added a third. From the first whistle, the record champions controlled the game with what may be their finest performance of the season. While their outing in Frankfurt will stay with them, they have certainly moved on in style.

The Champions League should be Stuttgart’s aim

Stuttgart have been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season. From fighting for their league status last season in the relegation play-off to competing alongside Bayern Munich at the top of the table, it has been quite the transformation for Sebastian Hoeneß’s side.

Regardless, while their 3-0 defeat away at Bayern may have ended any title dreams that they had in mind, Champions League qualification is certainly a realistic aim for Stuttgart. They have proven their quality on a number of occasions during this campaign, no more than their empathic performance at home to Borussia Dortmund on matchday 11.

However, after gifting Der Rekordmeister an early goal, Stuttgart have to ensure that they can relinquish the self-destructive nature that occasionally plagues their game. As seen against RB Leipzig earlier on in the season, despite a positive performance, Stuttgart can offer their opponents the upper hand, and if they are to compete for the Champions League places, this has to be stopped, especially against sides around them in the table.

No Kimmich, no problem

Prior to kick-off, it was announced that Bayern would be without their normal midfield duo of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. With the pair left out of the side due to illness, in came Raphaël Guerreiro and Aleksandar Pavlović to fill the void.

Despite the duo experiencing little game time this season, the combination of experience and youth rejuvenated Bayern’s midfield as they comfortably controlled the game. While Stuttgart enjoyed the majority of the ball, out of possession Guerreiro and Pavlović kept the midfield compact, and with a combined total of eleven defensive actions and eleven duels won, they offered the visitors very little.

However, more impressively, Pavlović proved his genius in the absence of Kimmich. Both of Bayern’s goals in the second half came from Pavlović’s set pieces, an area that Kimmich excels in. While the 28-year-old may be regarded as Der Rekordmeister’s midfield maestro, the talented 19-year-old will undoubtedly be the future of Bayern’s midfield.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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