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Thomas Müller, the quintessential big-game participant
Unconventional, awkward, and oh-so-lethal — Thomas Muller as soon as once more proved why he’s the quintessential big-game participant for Bayern Munich. Lastly deployed in his most well-liked place behind the striker, der Raumdeuter confirmed versus Barcelona what the Bavarians have been lacking in previous Champions League video games in opposition to top-tier opposition — the X-factor.
Two targets and one help fail to explain absolutely the havoc Müller wrought on the Barcelona protection, as he put the concern of God into the hearts of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet. Blessed with the power to know when to maneuver into the suitable areas, the 30-year-old veteran eviscerated a hapless Catalan again line with relative ease. It’s no marvel they couldn’t mark him — no participant on the earth exudes the spatial intelligence and tactical consciousness of an on-form Müller. His type, his approach, his physicality are all lackluster, however Müller’s supreme footballing mind is an asset on par with Leo Messi’s dribbles or Cristiano Ronaldo’s clutch targets.
And the person we’ve to thank for that is Hansi Flick. It wasn’t way back when it appeared like Müller was on his method out at Bayern. Beneath Niko Kovac, he was relegated to the bench and barely bought an opportunity within the beginning XI. Nevertheless, issues modified as soon as Flick took over. The very very first thing he stated in his first press convention was “Müller will play.” That began the chain response resulting in immediately’s thumping 8-2 victory over one of many largest groups within the sport.
Hansi Flick, maintain your head up excessive! You rescued a legend, and introduced Bayern’s most particular participant again to the forefront.
Barcelona, a staggering waste of cash
Barcelona (together with Manchester United, most likely) is a case research of how NOT to spend tons of of tens of millions of euros. Antione Greizmann and Ousmane Dembélé, every of whom price €120 million, didn’t even begin the sport. Luis Suarez, as soon as a deadly striker, appeared outdated and sluggish as he confronted Bayern’s far fitter and higher drilled protection. In the meantime Frenkie de Jong, one in every of Barca’s stars of the longer term, appeared out of his depth in opposition to a midfield that price a 3rd of the quantity he did (Thiago Alcantara + Leon Goretzka + Thomas Müller = €25 million in switch charges).
It have to be worrying for Barca that, other than Frenkie and Ansu Fati, they don’t have any actual younger expertise to talk of. And what expertise they do have, they’ve squandered. Exemplifying this was Philippe Coutinho, the Barca loanee, who got here on to help Robert Lewandowski and rating 2 targets of his personal. That isn’t a feat the Brazilian had ever achieved in his disappointing time with the Catalans.
Barca have simply performed a trophyless season for the primary time in over a decade. WIth Leo Messi getting old quick and main monetary issues on the horizon, one should marvel how for much longer they’ve left on the high. In the event that they don’t arrest the slide earlier than it occurs, they might change into one other AC Milan story.
Bayern’s protection stays too shaky
Whereas Bayern Munich solely conceded two targets, and Alphonso Davies shone like a supernova in his blistering run-and-assist for Joshua Kimmich’s aim, Hansi Flick shall be anxious by his defenders’ momentary lapses in focus.
Earlier than Barca collapsed like a home of playing cards that had been set on hearth, they really managed some good through-balls that sliced by Flick’s precarious excessive line of defense. Whereas the excessive line was a tactical alternative by the coach to assist offset Barca’s dominance in midfield (and it clearly labored — take a look at the scoreline), in opposition to a extra technical crew with higher wingers, reminiscent of Manchester City, Bayern’s excessive line may depart the crew uncovered.
Particularly worrisome was the acres of house left behind Joshua Kimmich as he bombed up the pitch to hitch the assault. Whereas his attacking contribution is invaluable (he bought one more aim and help on the night time), Josh’s proclivity to push up leaves the crew weak on his aspect of the sector, as he lacks Davies’ tempo to get well. This allowed Barca a transparent path to aim as soon as they made it previous Bayern’s midfield press.
The Bavarians have been truly underneath the hammer for sure parts of the sport, which the dramatic scoreline obscures. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng weren’t half as strong as they’ve appeared all season, which could make Hansi rethink the notion of beginning Niklas Süle within the semifinals. In any case, the efficiency was not excellent by any means. Bayern Munich nonetheless have much more work to do. Let’s get it accomplished. Mia San Mia.