Match Recap: Bayern Munich clinch a thumping win over Werder Bremen

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 14: Philippe Coutinho (C) of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates his third goal with teammates during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and SV Werder Bremen at Allianz Arena on December 14, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)
MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 14: Philippe Coutinho (C) of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates his third goal with teammates during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and SV Werder Bremen at Allianz Arena on December 14, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern) /

Bayern Munich put six past Werder Bremen courtesy of a brilliant hat-trick from Philippe Coutinho.

The defending champions got back to winning ways in the league with a cracking 6-1 win against Werder Bremen. This win came for Die Roten after two consecutive defeats against Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

Hansi Flick used a 4-3-3 formation using Joshua Kimmich in the center-midfield role as a defensive option. Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka lined up laterally slightly ahead of the German midfielder.

Manuel Neuer started between the posts as he was shielded by Benjamin Pavard, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, and Alphonso Davies in the defensive zone. The attack comprised of Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and Philippe Coutinho.

The visitors started with an attacking 3-1-4-2 formation but used an expected defensive approach to keep Bayern at bay. Florian Kohfeldt used a 4-4-2 template, which often turned into a 5-3-2 as the reigning champions started the match in an archetypal “Bayern” style.

The Bavarians launched an attack from the outset when Davies sprinted forward connecting with a through ball on the left as Coutinho arrived in the half-space behind him. The Brazilian curled one over the bar within the first 40 seconds courtesy of Davies’s pass.

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Bayern controlled the game extraordinarily, playing with a high defensive line, and had approximately 70% of the possession for the first 15 minutes of the game. It was a wake-up call for Bayern in the eighth minute, when Milot Rashica received the ball on the break, following Bayern’s corner-kick. However, the Albanian failed to finish it as he slipped erroneously in the box.

Bremen drew first blood as 15 minutes later Rashica received the ball from Davy Klaassen after Bayern lost possession deep inside the visitor’s half. Bremen’s number seven made a run from the halfway line and slalomed past an already cautioned Boateng with a top-right corner finish. The Albanian forward nearly doubled the lead in a similar encounter with Boateng at the 37th minute as he blasted his shot wide.

Things turned in Bayern’s favour following a tactical positional switch on the pitch. Kimmich, who was earlier defending on the left side moved to the opposite zone, providing cover for Jerome Boateng. It was this move that gave Bayern some breathing space in defense, allowing Kimmich to create the opening goal for his team.

With a few seconds remaining of the first 45 minutes, Kimmich found Gnabry from the right-half space with pin-point chipped pass, who then mirrored Kimmich’s pass with his chipped effort, which was tapped-in by Coutinho arriving on the far post.

Three minutes into the stoppage time, leading goal-scorer, Robert Lewandowski closed the first half with Bayern making it two goals to one. Bayern regained possession, and Coutinho lobbed the ball for the Poland international, who scored this time having missed a one-on-one chance against Jin Pavlenka in the 39th minute.

The second half began with Flick bringing on Ivan Perisic for Jerome Boateng. The German defender was an evident weak link in Bayern’s side. Boateng failed to win a single challenge during the first 40 minutes of the game.

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This move from Hansi Flick proved to be the turning point later in the game. Perisic’s introduction heralded Kimmich moving in the right-back spot with Pavard working as a center-half in Boateng’s stead. Thiago took the duties for anchoring the play, and Perisic was positioned on the left flank, leaving room for Coutinho to thrive in his habitat as a number ten.

Both the goalkeepers were forced to make a save within the first eight minutes of the second half, courtesy to strikes from Coutinho from the center, and Michael Lang with a grounded effort after cutting inside from the right-hand side. A minute later, Were Bremen’s danger-man, Milot Rashica caused a loud uproar in the away stands, when he side-netted a long diagonal ball received in the left-half space.

At the hour mark, Perisic came close to making it three for Bayern when his strike from the outside of his weak foot went sniffing past the far post. It was, nonetheless, a beautiful pass from Coutinho, and was a sign of better things to come for Bayern.

David Alaba showcased his brilliance from the back-line when he spotted Coutinho making his run, in behind Bremen’s defense. The Austrian delivered an inch-perfect diagonal long-ball, which was lofted calmly by Coutinho as his cheeky effort “ping-ponged” between the turf and the ceiling of the net. There was no chance for Pavlenka to save that and the scoreboard displayed three goals for Bayern.

The game went from a comfortable two-goal cushion for Bayern to a total humiliation for Werder Bremen as the visitors conceded three more in six minutes. Lewandowski scored his second goal of the game in the 72nd minute when he astutely played a “one-two” passing with Thomas Muller and made it four-one with a sublime finish. Three minutes later, the provider for Lewandowski’s goal turned the scorer for the fifth goal. It was Ivan Perisic who released a through-ball for Coutinho’s run on the left side of the box as the Brazilian cleverly cut it back for Muller to slot it into the net.

To end the game in style, Philippe Coutinho completed his man of the match performance with 12 minutes remaining on the clock. The Brazilian completed his hattrick with a signature goal by curling the ball in the top right corner from the left-half space on the edge of the box. While the scoreboard read Bayern Munich six-Werder Bremen one, Coutinho had three goals from eight shots and two assists to his name.

Although Bayern bounced back with perfection and dominated the game, their defense remains a serious matter of concern. With Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez out through injury, Hansi Flick needs to find an effective solution in the center-back role to partner Alaba as Boateng and Martinez’s sluggishness in a high defensive-line structure can cost Bayern the title.