With the disappointment of the DFL-Supercup 0-3 loss to RB Leipzig still fresh in the minds of players and fans, Bayern Munich would have liked to lay down a marker when they arrived in Leipzig on Saturday. However, after trailing 2-0 at the end of the first half, Bayern did well in the second half to earn a draw.
With Sven Ulreich in goal, Bayern lined up in a customary 4-2-3-1 formation with Konrad Laimer, Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae, and Alphonso Davies in defense. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka formed the midfield double-pivot. In attack Kingsley Coman started on the left, Leroy Sane took up duty on the right, and Jamal Musiala slotted behind center-forward Harry Kane.
The hosts lined up in their typical 4-2-2-2 formation ready to play on the counter-attack as they kept it narrow in midfield. Let us look at the key tactical events and takeaways from the game.
RB Leipzig survived a bright start from Bayern to take a commanding halftime lead
In the third minute of the game, a quickly taken short free-kick by Joshua Kimmich allowed Harry Kane to set up Musiala before the Leipzig defense could react. Surprisingly, Musiala failed to beat keeper Janis Blaswich in a favourable situation.
As the half wore on the hosts became more alert and denied the visitors any further clear-cut chances. Leipzig’s tactics paid off in the 20th minute. Following a seemingly innocuous throw-in, whilst Bayern were pressing high up by the half-line, defensive-midfielder Xaver Schlager played a through ball to forward Lois Openda who just managed to beat Min-jae to the ball. The Korean defender did well to get a piece of the ball without fouling the opponent, but the deflection helped the ball into the net after wrong-footing Ulreich.
After taking the lead Leipzig sat back waiting to play on the break and neutralised Bayern’s efforts to increase the tempo. In the 26th minute, Leipzig were gifted a goal as Ulreich misjudged the flight of a corner, allowing center-back Castello Lukeba to hammer home to double Leipzig’s lead. Once again Bayern conceded a goal from a set-piece but this time it was all down to a poor mistake from the goalkeeper.
After the second goal, neither team got a shot on target for the remainder of the first half as it ended with the host team well on top. From Die Roten’s perspective, the half ended with fans wondering what had happened to the magical upbeat tempo displayed in the 7-0 thrashing of Bochum just a week ago.
Importance of Musiala and Impactful Substitutions
Thomas Tuchel replaced Leon Goretzka with Raphael Guerreiro and Kingsley Coman with Mathys Tel at half-time. In the 57th minute, after a Leroy Sane free-kick was adjudged to be handled in the box, Harry Kane stepped up to trim the deficit to 2-1 from the penalty spot.
Kane’s goal from the spot breathed new life into the Bavarian attack as the substitutes injected pace. In the 60th minute, from outside the box, Guerreiro unleashed a left-footed rocket that just brushed the right post. Seven minutes later Tel tried his luck from the edge of the box but Blaswich held comfortably. Tuchel made the right substitutions at the right time to bring Bayern back into the game.
By this stage, the momentum was clearly with Bayern. Somewhat surprisingly though the equaliser came from a ruthless counter-attack as Harry Kane headed the ball clear, from a Leipzig corner, which found its way to Musiala. In the blink of an eye, Jamal Musiala set off on a run from his own penalty area into the Leipzig half to set up Leroy Sane with a perfect pass.
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During added time Benjamin Sesko could have won it for Leipzig, but goalkeeper Sven Ulreich denied the Slovenian with a perfectly timed tackle outside the box to make amends for his earlier blunder.
In a game in which neither side outshone the other in terms of tactical superiority, it served as a reminder of why there is significant scope for improvement at Bayern despite having an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign.