Following the disappointment of the 2-2 home draw against Leverkusen, Bayern Munich would have been hoping to win impressively against an under-pressure Manchester United side to get their Champions League campaign off on the right track.
Both teams lined up in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Bayern made one change to the side that drew against Bayer Leverkusen. Jamal Musiala’s welcomed return as the starting number ten meant that Thomas Muller would have to be content with a place on the bench. Die Roten also had to make a forced coaching change for the game with assistant coach Zsolt Loew filling in for Thomas Tuchel, who was serving a one-match suspension from last season.
Sloppy start for Bayern and a fast start from Manchester United
As if to say ‘We miss you coach’ Bayern started the match cold and disjointed. In as early as the fourth minute, a giveaway at the back presented United’s Christian Eriksen with the chance to put the visitors in front from the left side of the six-yard box. It took a great save from Sven Ulreich to deny him. In the same passage of play just seconds earlier Alphonso Davies somehow managed to nudge the ball away from Facundo Pellistri who was shaping to score from inside the six-yard box after being fed by Eriksen.
Following the scare from Eriksen, the Bavarians continued to be off the pace as they went through a phase of inaccurate passing which helped the visitors maintain their early thrust. Before too long though, United were being wasteful with their passes as well, which allowed Die Roten to seize the initiative with more possession.
Rekordmeister eventually warmed to the task and in the 28th minute, with their first shot on target, took the lead through a rather innocuous-looking Leroy Sane left-footed effort, from just outside the box, after a nice interchange with Harry Kane.
After scoring the opening goal, Bayern took control for the rest of the half. Four minutes later, Jamal Musiala turned brilliantly on Casemiro in midfield before setting off on a powerful run into the left side of the 18-yard box to set up Gnabry for the second goal from 12 yards out.
Despite some shaky moments in defense, the half ended with Bayern’s midfield and attack in the ascendency and good value for a two-goal lead.
Second half Bayern expected to kick on but déjà vu
In the second half, Die Roten were again off to a cold start. Four minutes after the resumption of play Rasmus Hojlund halved the deficit for the visitors, but Harry Kane restored Bayern’s two-goal cushion when he converted a penalty in the 53rd minute.
Leroy Sane struck the post in the 56th minute after being beautifully set up with a through ball from Musiala as Bayern once again asserted their authority on the game.
Another telling impact from Mathys Tel
An eventful final ten minutes, inclusive of stoppage time, saw Casemiro pull one back for the visitors in the 88th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2. Substitute Thomas Muller then hit the post in the 91st minute after being set up by fellow substitute Mathys Tel, but the young Frenchman made it 4-2 to Bayern, a minute later, with a right-footed rocket into the roof of the net, from inside the box, after being picked out by Joshua Kimmich.
With Casemiro netting a third for the visitors, a minute before the final whistle, it meant that for the second time in three games, Mathys Tel had delivered the winning goal for Die Roten.
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The game was a thrilling encounter that showcased Bayern’s riches in attack but unfortunately also exposed the Bavarian side’s defensive insecurities and lack of cohesion between midfield and defense.
Thomas Tuchel would have even more reason to continue his campaign for a number six in the January transfer window should performances like this continue to be the norm.