Niko Kovac continues his impressive start to the campaign as Bayern Munich register a thumping win over Bayer Leverkusen to regain their place at the top of the table.
Bayern Munich recorded their second 3-1 win of the season as they eased through to a victory against a hapless Bayer Leverkusen side. The win helps the Bavarians regain their place at the top of the table while Leverkusen still remain point-less after three matches.
It was an awkward game for the audience, however, as the visiting Leverkusen scored the opener within five minutes. Wendell converted the penalty in the fifth minute after Thiago Alcantara was deemed to have handled the ball inside the box. The resultant spot-kick was missed by Kevin Volland but the referee Tobias Welz was forced to order the penalty to be retaken, which was successfully converted by the Brazilian international.
But, Bayern were quick to come up with a response as Corentin Tolisso equalized through a stunning finish in the 10th minute. However, that was before Arjen Robben decided to join the party with a stunning thunderbolt in the 19th minute to hand his team the lead. The Dutchman pulled out a sumptuous volley from a miscued Jonathan Tah clearance and buried it at the back of the net.
After grabbing the lead, Bayern dominated the game throughout the rest of the proceedings, which might have infuriated Leverkusen substitute Karim Bellarabi. The former German international failed to resist his composure, making an awful tackle on Rafinha, which ultimately handed him a straight red with just ten minutes left on the clock.
Bayern made the numerical advantage count as James Rodriguez added further gloss to the scoreline by heading home in the 89th minute.
And here, we will run the rule over the Bayern Munich players, in their incredible performance against Bayer Leverkusen.
Manuel Neuer: 7/10
Was extremely unfortunate to concede the penalty despite making two consecutive saves from the initial spot kick. The German international bested Kevin Volland on the first attempt but showed incredible reflexes to also save the rebound. Apart from that, it was a fairly quiet afternoon for the Bayern Munich shot-stopper.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 15, 2018
Joshua Kimmich: 7.5/10
As you would usually expect, Kimmich once again showed his true colours by playing a key role from the right flank. The German international camped himself on the opposition half, pillaging Leverkusen with a series of dangerous crosses whilst his link-up play with Arjen Robben was also very good. A top-drawer performance from the youngster.
Niklas Sule: 7.5/10
Sule was very solid defensively, winning three aerial duels while completing 119 passes with a stunning accuracy of 95%. He also moved forward whenever necessary to help out his team in the build-up phases. Put simply, Bayern never really had to rue the absence of Mats Hummels this afternoon.
Jerome Boateng: 7/10
Experienced a few wobbly moments when the Leverkusen attack came at him at full tilt. But, the former Manchester City star kept his composure and complemented Sule really well to help Bayern remain solid at the back throughout the game.
Reliable as always, Rafinha was once again a calming influence on the left flank. Though not as dynamic as David Alaba, the Brazilian was quite decent in dealing with the threat of the Leverkusen attackers.
Thiago Alcantara: 8/10
By far the most influential player on the pitch, Thiago Alcantara continued his fiery form with another outstanding performance. The former Barcelona star operated as the orchestrator of the Bayern midfield, often rotating possession and switching plays in order to keep the opposing defenders occupied.
He made a total of 136 passes, with an accuracy of 93%, more than anyone else on the pitch. But, it was his clever movements in half-spaces, which appealed the most as he also racked up three tackles, one key pass and completed three dribbles. Definitely deserved a goal at the end. Did concede the penalty though, which could have, on another day, cost Bayern dearly.
Corentin Tolisso: 7.5/10
Showed exactly what he’s capable of by providing an impressive performance before being taken off just before the half-time whistle. His excellent finish to score the opener laid the groundwork for a period of sheer dominance from Bayern that followed. He was replaced by James Rodriguez in the 42nd minute.
Arjen Robben: 9.5/10
One of few players in the world who gets better with time and Arjen Robben proved it once again with an incredible performance against Leverkusen. The Dutchman exploited the space on the right flank extremely well by making constant runs in behind the defence, which took the opposing defence by storm.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 15, 2018
Robben made two dribbles and took five shots but his thunderbolt to give Bayern the lead in the 19th minute has to be a contender for the best goal of this season.
Thomas Muller: 8/10
Continued his excellent growth under Niko Kovac, who seems to have extracted the best out of Thomas Muller this season. The German international was once again influential in his role as a Ramdeuter as he ran across the defensive lines to create space for his teammates whilst taking a couple of shots for himself.
Serge Gnabry: 7/10
Not as influential as his partner in crime – Arjen Robben. But, he did make a couple of fiery runs across the Leverkusen defensive backline to create some serious havoc.
Robert Lewandowski: 7/10
It wasn’t one of the most productive outings for Robert Lewandowski, who was devoid of clear-cut scoring opportunities, largely thanks to a tight marking from the Leverkusen defence.
James Rodriguez: 8/10
Replaced the influential Corentin Tolisso with ease as the Colombian was involved in almost all of Bayern’s attacking moments in the second half. He also looked pretty dangerous from his set-piece deliveries and made a plethora of darting runs into the Leverkusen defensive lines.
Javi Martinez: 7.5/10
It was a smart move by Niko Kovac to introduce Javi Martinez around the hour mark, who not only screened the defence with some well-timed tackles but also circulated possession at ease.
David Alaba: N/A
Came on for Rafinha in the 82nd minute to gear up for an important midweek clash against Benfica.