Bayern Munich ended their cold streak as Serge Gnabry’s brace helped the Bavarians register a narrow win over Werder Bremen.
Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac managed to see out another week, as the Croatian mastermind guided his team to a convincing win over Werder Bremen on Saturday. The 2-1 scoreline may suggest otherwise, but the Bavarians were dominant throughout the game, ultimately easing their way through to a rather comfortable victory.
The German champions started the game on a positive note, despite the absence of the midweek’s star performer Arjen Robben. Former Hoffenheim winger Serge Gnabry scored around the first quarter of the game, although Bremen responded quickly as Yuya Osako levelled the score just after the half-hour mark.
Bayern, however, maintained their sheer dominance for the rest of the game, though, notably missing some clear-cut opportunities. Gnabry eventually restored Bayern’s lead just five minutes after the restart to seal all three points for his side.
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The win means Bayern remain seven points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund, although they still have a mountain to climb in the second half of the campaign if they are to catch up to the Black and Yellows. In the meantime, here are Kovac’s men rated in their narrow yet convincing win over die Grun-Weissen.
Manuel Neuer: 6/10
Once again failed to keep a clean sheet as his struggles in the league continue. However, the German international couldn’t have done anything to save Osako’s header. Luckily for him, though, Bremen’s goal in the first half did very little to disrupt Bayern’s flow.
Another reliable performance from the Brazilian, who replaced Joshua Kimmich with aplomb, on the right side of the Bayern Munich defence. Although he wasn’t as effective as Kimmich going forward, Rafinha remained solid throughout the game, restricting Bremen’s attacking flow from the flanks.
Niklas Sule: 7.5/10
An impressive performance from the German international, whose imposing presence in defence was crucial to Bayern’s solidity at the back. Despite conceding a goal in the first-half, Sule recorded the most number of aerial duels won as well as making six clearances and three interceptions – making him the most active defender for the visitors.
Jerome Boateng: 7/10
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Boateng’s performance has starkly improved in recent matches, which could be a boon for Niko Kovac, especially considering his reported rift with Mats Hummels. The former Manchester City star was a composed presence at the back, attempting 74 passes with an accuracy of 84 percent.
David Alaba: 7.5/10
Made a couple of well-timed tackles and interceptions, with his defensive solidity helping Bayern maintain their dominance over Bremen. But, it was his combination with Ribery on the flanks, which wreaked havoc in the opposition defence.
Serge Gnabry: 9.5/10
Vindicated his inclusion in the starting lineup, despite just returning from an injury, as he left the Bremen defence back pedalling. He served as the main creative spark for Bayern in the final third, often drifting into central areas of the pitch to combine with the likes of Thomas Muller and Leon Goretzka.
The German international completed four dribbles, attempted three shots and scored two goals, ending the game as Bayern’s best player against Bremen.
Joshua Kimmich: 9/10
Kovac’s decision to include Joshua Kimmich in midfield has been nothing short of marvellous. The former Stuttgart midfielder ran the show with his excellent passing and ball circulation, which kept Bayern in the driving seat for large parts of the game.
In addition, his combination with Muller was eye-catching as the duo linked up well in midfield, evading Bremen’s high press whilst creating numerous chances in the final third.
Leon Goretzka: 8/10
While Kimmich did his best to control the midfield, Goretzka complemented his work with his excellent work-ethic and tackling prowess. He also remained a threat from long-range.
Franck Ribery: 6/10
Failed to replicate his performance against Benfica in the midweek but that’s not to say he was ineffective this weekend. His time on the pitch, though, was cut short because of an injury in the first half as he made way for Kingsley Coman.
Thomas Muller: 9/10
Maintained his excellent form with yet another brilliant performance. Muller was influential in his role as the lone attacking midfielder, although he received adequate support from Gnabry and Goretzka from time to time.
Along with Kimmich, Muller created the most number of chances in the game whilst attempting three shots on goal, making him one of the most proactive players on the pitch.
Robert Lewandowski: 7/10
It was surprising to see Lewandowski wasting a few good opportunities especially after his excellent performance against Benfica. The Polish international could have scored at least twice, but provided a good service nonetheless.
Kingsley Coman: 8/10
It was nice to see Coman return to full fitness as he replaced Ribery in the first half. He made a host of runs from the wide positions whilst combining well with Alaba on the left flank.
Thiago Alcantara: N/A
Another player to return from injury, Thiago Alcantara replaced the highly influential Serge Gnabry in the 80th minute.
Javi Martinez: N/A
Replaced Thomas Muller in the dying embers of the game as Kovac opted for an extra defensive body.