Benjamin Pavard endured a miserable afternoon as Bayern Munich were made to work hard for a narrow 2-1 win over 1.FC Koln in the Bundesliga.

It was an inspiring start to the game for 1.FC Koln who tried to create an early opening and even managed thread some nice long balls to trouble the Bayern Munich defence. However, Marius Wolf conceded an unfortunate penalty around the ten-minute mark, allowing Thomas Muller to break the deadlock, against the run of play.

The goal made things easier for Bayern, who then started to dominate possession as they eventually doubled their lead through Serge Gnabry, just before the stroke of half-time. That was pretty much the last time the Billygoats allowed themselves to be ripped open, as an interesting second half saw the Bavarians struggle to create too many clear cut opportunities.

And just when it seemed like the Bundesliga giants were heading for a comfortable 2-0 victory, Koln pulled one back through substitute Domenick Drexler, whose deflection led Jan Thielmann’s shot into the back of the net. It opened the game up more as the final ten minutes saw the away side desperately trying to cling on to their slender one-goal advantage.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Bayern Munich stars in their narrow win over 1.FC Koln.

Manuel Neuer 6.5/10

Manuel Neuer was called into early action when Jerome Boateng slightly misplaced his pass. The goalkeeper dealt well under pressure, as always, but will be disappointed to have missed out on the clean sheet and surpass Oliver Kahn’s record of most clean sheets in the Bundesliga.

Benjamin Pavard 4/10

It was a difficult game for Pavard, whose duel with Ismail Jakobs on the right flank was one of the key aspects of this game. Unfortunately, it was one where the Frenchman lost, failing to keep up with Koln attacker and his darting runs into the byline. Pavard was, in fact, lucky that Jakobs could not manage to slot in one of his crosses straight to Sebastian Andersson.

Niklas Sule 6/10

Niklas Sule’s intimidating figure was quite effective for Bayern Munich in dealing with the threat of Andersson. He was virtually unplayable in physical duels, up against the Koln forward. Aside from that, however, Sule struggled to offer much solidity at the back, often getting overrun by the opposition.

Jerome Boateng 6.5/10

Jerome Boateng was relatively solid for Bayern Munich this afternoon. The German international remained strong and composed, though there were a few clumsy moments from the experienced centre-back. It is fair to say that he and Sule were lucky that Koln failed to find the second goal.

Bouna Sarr 7.5/10

Starting ahead of Lucas Hernandez at left-back, Bouna Sarr raised a few eyebrows with a polished performance. His forays down the flanks were particularly impressive as one of them led to an excellent opportunity for Muller, though the German failed to make the most of it. The full-back was defensively solid as well, keeping Marius Wolf and Dimitris Limnios at bay.

Javi Martinez 7/10

Javi Martinez orchestrated the midfield with his brilliant ball-distribution throughout the course of the game. It is, however, fair to point out that the veteran Spaniard was helped by Koln’s willingness to sit back and defend the Bayern Munich and the Billygoats would only change gears when Martinez was already taken off.

Joshua Kimmich 7.5/10

Kimmich did find it a bit difficult to impose his authority as he did against Lokomotiv. However, it was he who created a turnover which eventually led to Bayern Munich’s second goal of the night. The German was active throughout the game, winning back possession for his side, moving forward, threading key passes and leading his side from the front. No doubt one of the best midfielders in the world.

Serge Gnabry 7/10

Serge Gnabry produced a moment of magic with his amazing solo effort to score Bayern Munich’s second goal, which turned out to be the winner. Did make one or two decent runs and often interchanged positions with his teammates, thus making it difficult for Koln to put place a proper marker on him. It wasn’t his liveliest of performances though.

Thomas Muller 7.5/10

Thomas Muller was one of the most active players in an otherwise dire performance from Bayern Munich. The German was involved in almost every good chance the away side enjoyed, including the penalty to score the opener. He was always on the lookout for spaces to exploit, though the German should have put the game to bed with an easy chance from a Bouna Sarr cross.

Leroy Sane 5/10

Leroy Sane had an uncharacteristically bad day at the office, failing to make his presence felt. The ex-Manchester City star was, in fact, anonymous for the most part, even when Bayern Munich were dominating possession. However, having just returned from an injury layoff, one shouldn’t expect too much too soon from the winger, who made way for Douglas Costa around the hour-mark.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting 5/10

With Robert Lewandowski given the day off, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was asked to lead the Bayern Munich. And the forward was unbelievably bad, failing to sync in with the quality of his teammates and often ruining good moments with a host of poor touches. The disparity of quality between him and his teammates was pretty much evident.

Substitutes

Joshua Zirkzee 6/10

Joshua Zirkzee offered a bit more quality in the number nine slot after replacing Choupo-Moting around the hour mark. He had a couple of good link-up moments with Muller, but it wasn’t enough to further unsettle the Koln backline that remained strong after the interval.

Douglas Costa 6.5/10

Douglas Costa was much more effective than Sane on the wings. The Brazilian made a host of runs to the byline, trying to provide a telling cross. But as one would expect from the winger, his final product was missing.

David Alaba 6/10

David Alaba offered some much-needed discipline, composure and leadership on the pitch for Bayern Munich after coming on for Martinez in the 79th minute. The Bavarians did concede a goal shortly after though.

Marc Roca N/A

A late replacement for the tiring Gnabry. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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