Bayern Munich continued their impressive early season form by dismantling VfB Stuttgart 3-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Saturday.
Following a nervy win against TSG Hoffenheim in their opening fixture, Bayern Munich looked to be back in their groove as they swept aside a hapless VfB Stuttgart 3-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The German champions had an excellent opportunity to take an early two-point lead over arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, who dropped points on Friday and they made full use of that by producing a clinical performance against Tayfun Korkut’s men.
It wasn’t, however, an easy game for the Bavarians as Stuttgart remained compact throughout the course of the first half. The hard-working Schwaben were well prepared and often nicked the ball from the opposition, largely thanks to their industrious midfielders.
That didn’t stop the mighty Bayern Munich, however, as Leon Goretzka drew first blood in the 37th minute. The goal gave the visitors a much-needed boost and Niko Kovac’s men took full advantage of their 1-0 lead at half-time to come out all guns blazing in the second half.
Müller ➡️ Goretzka ➡️ GOAL
Goretzka ➡️ Lewandowki ➡️ GOAL
Lewandowski ➡️ Müller ➡️ GOAL
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) September 1, 2018
The German champions did struggle to find regular openings, Robert Lewandowski showed tremendous quality to sneak out the second before Thomas Muller capped off an excellent performance by slotting in the third in the 76th minute. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Niko Kovac’s men.
Manuel Neuer: 6/10
Neuer was merely a spectator as Stuttgart managed to muster only four attempts on goal, one of which came from set-pieces. He did, however, conjure up 24 passes, which is more than 11 of 14 Stuttgart players managed on Saturday. A quiet day at the office for the German shot stopper.
Joshua Kimmich: 8.5/10
Kimmich was involved in basically every Bayern Munich move in the final third this evening, thanks to his excellent ball circulating qualities. His ability to rotate possession at a quick rate coupled with his accurate crosses made life hard for the Stuttgart defenders.
The German international made three key passes, a tally bettered only by Robert Lewandowski. Aside from that, he also took four corners and was a constant threat from the flanks.
Jerome Boateng: 8.5/10
It was surprising to see Jerome Boateng starting ahead of Niklas Sule, especially after a nervy game against Hoffenheim. But, the experienced defender did manage to silence his critics with an immaculate performance against Stuttgart.
Boateng was a key feature in Bayern’s build-up play, mustering 82 passes, including one key pass. Defensively, he also remained solid, making three tackles with a success rate of 100% along with one interception and one clearance.
Mats Hummels: 7.5/10
It was an excellent outing for Mats Hummels, who complemented Boateng quite well to build a formidable defensive partnership. A mishap to gift Mario Gomez a clear-cut opportunity was a minor blip in an otherwise solid defensive performance that stood its ground till the very end.
David Alaba: 8.5/10
It was one of those days when David Alaba did actually manage to overshadow Joshua Kimmich. Indeed, the Austrian played an important role in Bayern Munich’s offensive game on Saturday.
Unlike Kimmich, Alaba was not only restricted to providing crosses or rotating possession. But, he made a plethora of forward runs which caused a lot of trouble for the opposition. He also took three shots, one of which hit the post. A valiant effort from the Austrian Player of the Year.
Thiago Alcantara: 9/10
By far the most influential player on the pitch, Thiago Alcantara is finally looking like his former self, which was reflected in his excellent performance against Stuttgart. The former Barcelona star orchestrated the play from the middle, key in not just rotating possession but also making well-timed tackles and interceptions.
He made 102 passes – more than anyone else on the pitch. Thiago also made six tackles with an accuracy of 100% along with three interceptions and two clearances. The only thing that was lacking from his contribution on Saturday was a goal.
Leon Goretzka: 8.5/10
A strong display on full league debut with Bayern Munich for Goretzka, who was involved in most of his side’s offensive work. Although initially operating as a central midfielder, the former Schalke man made frequent runs into the opposition half.
In fact, he mustered six shots this evening, more than any other player on the pitch. And his offensive contribution was evident as he not only scored the opener but also provided an assist for the goal that Lewandowski scored, although it should have been deemed as a solo effort, more than anything else.
Arjen Robben: 7/10
Not the most enjoyable game for Arjen Robben, who was rather quiet as compared to most of his teammates this evening. He completed only two dribbles, though his work-rate is something that should be admired, especially at this ripe old age. He was subbed off in the final stage of the game.
Thomas Muller – 9/10
Saturday’s outing was one of the most accomplished performances from Thomas Muller that we haven’t seen for a very long time as the German international was integral in most of Bayern Munich’s attacking moments this evening.
Muller made a host of clever runs in and out of the opposition half to not only create spaces for his teammates but to also unsettle the opposing defence. His effort was paid off when he produced a neat finish to snatch his second goal of the campaign in the 76th minute. Muller is really looking like the real deal under the leadership of Niko Kovac this season.
Franck Ribery: 7/10
Much like his partner in crime, Robben, Franck Ribery also had a quiet day at the office, failing to sync in with his teammates in the final third. That being said, his partnership with David Alaba on the left flank was a key reason to Bayern Munich’s success.
Robert Lewandowski: 10/10
An all-round performance from Robert Lewandowski, who was absolutely faultless on Saturday. The Polish international was seen tracking back to help out his teammates in chance creation in the final third. But, most importantly, he also looked sharper when pressing the ball.
And it was evident, as he made four key passes and won two aerials duels before showing incredible individual quality to churn out a mesmerizing finish for Bayern’s second goal of the evening. Also assisted Muller’s goal in the 76th minute. The Kovac effect is really influencing his overall gameplay, and how.
Serge Gnabry: N/A
Replaced a tiring Arjen Robben in the final phase of the game and had very little time to make a difference.
James Rodriguez: N/A
Made no notable contributions after replacing Franck Ribery in the 78th minute other than pulling off a wild shot on goal, which did just enough to amuse the crowd in the stands.
Corentin Tolisso: N/A
Was finally given the chance to play against his national teammate Benjamin Pavard when he replaced Thomas Muller in the 80th minute. Didn’t do anything of note during his short stint on the pitch.