On Matchday 25 of this Bundesliga campaign, league leaders Bayern Munich was hosted by ninth-place Bayer Leverkusen. Coming into this game, Leverkusen had just found great form, winning their last four games in all competitions, and finding their way into the Europa League Quarter-finals. In a similar suit, Bayern had won their last five games straight, securing their spot in the Champions League Quarter-finals.
From a series of unusual events throughout the game that saw two Leverkusen penalties and only one Bayern shot in the first half, Bayern continued to deliver a convincing performance to get anything from the thing. Despite the defeat, few players stood out for Bayern in this game. Let us look at the three Die Roten players that thrived at Bay Arena on Sunday.
Playing from the wingback position, Alphonso Davies had an excellent defensive performance against Leverkusen. Two instances that stood out the most were during Leverkusen’s fast breaks. In the 13th minute, Davies displayed some excellent defensive awareness to cut out the cross during a three-on-two situation in Leverkusen’s favour. In the second half, Davies showed off his strength as he wrestled and bodied Jeremie Frimpong off the ball in attempts to streak down the sideline.
In the final third, Davies had an incredible effort at goal in the dying moments of the game. From a long way out, Davies released a rocket of a shot, drawing an outstanding save from Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky, keeping out the goal that would’ve tied the game. Overall, Alphonso Davies delivered a good, well-rounded performance.
Matthijs de Ligt
Coming up against the number one counter-attacking side in the Bundesliga, Matthijs de Ligt showed off his pure defensive skill to steer away the Leverkusen breakaways. Using his height, strength, and pace, de Ligt was able to steer almost all of the attacking opposition away from the left side of the pitch. On quick turnovers, de Ligt was always the first one to the ball– whether it was a sturdy tackle or a diving lunge.
Another thing to note from this game was that de Ligt was the only Bayern center back to not concede a penalty in this match. He was able to stand strong and make sound, smart tackles all game long, along with a job well done in clearing the ball out of the box. Against this Leverkusen side, Matthijs de Ligt was Bayern’s best defender.
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Joshua Kimmich played extraordinarily well in and out of possession against Leverkusen. In the dominant first half that Bayern had, Kimmich was the best player for either side. His passing was precise, his tackles were perfectly timed, and his vision in the final third was superb.
Kimmich also scored a great goal in the 22nd minute to give Bayern an early lead. A pass from Leon Goretzka found Kimmich running from deep at the edge of the box. Kimmich showed great composure to bury the ball into the back of the net. Even though Bayern was unable to walk away with the victory, Joshua Kimmich still deserves to be crowned as Bayern’s Man of the Match.
A loss here sees Bayern fall to second place in the table. With International Break kicking up over the next two weeks, Die Roten will have to wait to fight their way back to the top in the Der Klassiker on April 1.