Bayern Munich kickstarted their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign with a nervy 3-1 win against TSG Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena on Friday.
In the return of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich started off their season with a 3-1 win over TSG Hoffenheim. It was a pulsating encounter as both teams fought for all three points till the very end before the Hoffenheim subs messed it all up to offer their opposition an easy win at the Allianz Arena.
Thomas Muller scored the first goal of the season in the 23rd minute when a delicious ball in from Joshua Kimmich found the German forward in the penalty area. But, Die Kraichgauer remained resolute as they defended Bayern with caution despite going down halfway through the first half.
And it wasn’t until the second half when the visitors took advantage of the Bavarian’s slight loss of concentration to level the scoreline thanks to a brilliant strike from Adam Szalai. However, an unlucky Hoffenheim saw their defensive leader Kevin Vogt get injured later in the second half and his initial replacement in Havard Nordtveit made a hideous mistake to hand the German champions a penalty.
After Lewandowski had initially failed to convert the spot-kick, Arjen Robben was on hand to quickly slot it in the back of the net but only to be denied by VAR. The technology revealed that the Dutchman went in early and thereof, the penalty was retaken. Only this time, Lewandowski managed to successfully convert the spot-kick to restore Bayern’s lead.
And shortly afterwards, Hoffenheim were caught careless at the back as Robben redeemed himself with a neat finish in the 90th minute to seal all three points for the home side. Here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over Niko Kovac’s men in their season opener against TSG.
Manuel Neuer: 7/10
Had a busier night than expected as Hoffenheim poured forward in the second half. But, the German international was on hand to make a couple of important saves to keep the visitors at bay. However, he did appear tentative, at times, largely thanks to the high-intensity press from the Hoffe attackers.
Joshua Kimmich: 9/10
By far the best Bayern defender on the night, Joshua Kimmich was an important outlet for the home side in the wider positions. His composure on the ball coupled with his aggression and tenacity, helped him run the rule over his opponents in the right flank.
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) August 24, 2018
But, it was his crosses which provided a huge threat for the Hoffenheim defenders. Indeed, the youngster made three key passes, including that delicious ball in to feed Thomas Muller for the opening goal. He also made a couple of neat interceptions in the latter stages of the game, taking full of advantage of Hoffenheim’s fatigue.
Niklas Sule: 6/10
Following a surprise inclusion into the starting eleven, Niklas Sule failed to shine against his former club as he was often overwhelmed by the aggressive TSG attackers. That being said, he wasn’t awful either, thanks to his good sense of positioning and intimidating figure, which surely caused a trouble or two for the likes of Joelinton and Leo Bittencourt.
Jerome Boateng: 5/10
It was a tough outing for Jerome Boateng, who appeared sloppy throughout the course of the game. Following a strong start to the game, where he made a host of clinical long-balls to switch the play, Boateng was way too slow for the speedy attackers that TSG have in long supply.
Furthermore, his accuracy from long-balls also decreased significantly as the game wore on and overall, it was a mediocre performance by the former Manchester City star. It will be interesting to see if this performance will make an impact on his future with Bayern, having already been linked with a move away from Allianz Arena this summer.
David Alaba: 7/10
An influential figure from the flanks throughout the first half as he made the second most number of passes than any player on the pitch. Aside from that, Alaba made two dribbles but was nowhere near as influential as Kimmich on the opposite flanks.
Javi Martinez: 8/10
Niko Kovac seems to have found the ideal player for the holding midfield role in the shape of Javi Martinez. The Spaniard was quite good operating as the number six, thanks to his proficiency in ball-circulation, which is coupled with his defensive traits in midfield.
His composure at the heart of Bayern’s 4-1-4-1 formation also enabled Thiago Alcantara to operate in a more attacking role in midfield. He was also quite sound in his defensive duties, having made four tackles with a stunning success rate of 100%. Martinez could definitely play a key role in Kovac’s tenure at Bayern.
Kingsley Coman: 8/10
He was an absolute beast in the first half, often playing a key role in most of Bayern’s attacking moments. Coman was almost untouchable when it came to one-on-ones and also made a stunning solo effort before being injured just before the half-time whistle.
Unfortunately for Bayern, the Frenchman couldn’t recover and had to be replaced by Arjen Robben just at the stroke of halftime.
Thomas Muller: 8.5/10
A good all-round performance from Thomas Muller, who was in the thick of things for the most part of the game. The German international was initially deployed in midfield alongside Thiago Alcantara. But, he had a much more free-flowing role when compared to his Spanish counterpart as he often raided the Hoffenheim defence with marauding runs forward whilst cleverly working his way through the half-spaces.
6 – @esmuellert_ (@FCBayernEN) has scored his 6th goal on the opening weekend of a #Bundesliga season, no other current Bundesliga player has scored more (Lewandowski also 6). Opener. #FCBTSG pic.twitter.com/JjobLYEUM4
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) August 24, 2018
His goal in the first half set the tone perfectly for this new season although his second goal was disallowed after VAR revealed that he had handled Leon Goretzka’s effort which ricocheted of him to find the back of the net later in the second half.
Thiago Alcantara: 7.5/10
Although this might not be the best of games Thiago has ever had, he did play an influential role in midfield, especially when it came to ball-retention. His quick-footed movements coupled with his swift passing played a paramount role as Bayern evaded a high-intensity press from Hoffenheim. He also made the most number of interceptions than any other player in the night(5).
Franck Ribery: 7/10
Aside from winning the penalty in the latter stages of the game, Franck Ribery was largely ineffective throughout the course of the game. The Frenchman made the most number of dribbles than any other player from his team but found it difficult to get past a resolute Hoffenheim defence.
Robert Lewandowski: 6/10
His penalty effort in the second half overshadowed a highly disappointing performance, which was clearly depicted in his penalty miss. Although Lewandowski did get another bite at the cherry, much of it should be attributed to his luck rather than his own ability.
However, the Polish international will hope that the goal can help him gain some much-needed confidence ahead of an important game against VfB Stuttgart next week.
Arjen Robben: 7.5/10
Although not as influential as Coman, Robben did a decent job of maintaining Bayern’s threat from the left wing position thanks to his dangerous runs across the defensive channel. His hunger of scoring a goal was evident in his disallowed goal from the missed penalty kick from Lewandowski and all in all, it was a good comeback for the Dutchman, whose main priority would be to remain fit throughout the course of the season.
Leon Goretzka: 7/10
Replaced Javi Martinez in the 67th minute and injected an aggressive spark into the Bayern midfield, which eventually helped them rip open the Hoffenheim defence. Despite playing for almost a quarter of the game, Goretzka impressively managed to attain 100% pass accuracy as well. He certainly looks like a solid addition to the Bavarians this summer!
James Rodriguez: N/A
Came on for a tiring Ribery with just six minutes left on the clock. The Colombian made a couple of key passes, helping Bayern breach the opposing defence.