Bayern Munich continued their unbeaten Bundesliga campaign with an emphatic 8-0 win against Darmstadt on Saturday. Manuel Neuer enjoyed a rapturous welcome at Allianz Arena as he was playing his first competitive match for Bayern since breaking his leg in a skiing accident last December.
As expected, Bayern lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The only change to the team that started against Galatasaray on Tuesday was that of Neuer in goal for Ulreich. Meanwhile, Darmstadt lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Let us now take a look at the key tactical events and takeaways from the match.
Bayern continues to struggle at playing out from the back
Four minutes into the match Neuer chose to play a short pass to Joshua Kimmich who was positioned just outside the centre of the box. Kimmich failed to safely control the ball and that allowed Marvin Mehlem to pick his pocket. In an attempt to regain possession, Kimmich pulled down the Darmstadt attacking midfielder and was shown a straight red for the last-man foul on Mehlem.
Bayern have struggled in the past few games when it comes to playing out from the back. They didn’t have to pay for mistakes in previous games, but they had to on Saturday in the form of Kimmich’s dismissal. The German midfielder will miss the crucial game against Borussia Dortmund on matchday ten of the Bundesliga.
Bayern showed strength of character despite being reduced to ten men
Die Roten didn’t buckle after being reduced to ten men. They traded punches with Darmstadt despite being a man down. In the sixth minute, Neuer held comfortably as Luca Pfeiffer tested him with a left-footed shot from just outside the box. Less than a minute later Leroy Sane unleashed a shot from outside the box with his weaker right foot, which was palmed away for a corner by Marcel Schuhen.
In the 13th minute, Davies saw his cross cum shot turned behind for a corner. From the resultant corner, Harry Kane unleashed a volley which brought another fine save from Schuhen. Five minutes later Alphonso Davies was dispossessed at the back with the resultant shot for the visitors being blocked by Matthijs de Ligt for a corner. The hosts showed a lot of resilience and character in attack and defense after losing Joshua Kimmich early in the game.
Konrad Laimer rises to the challenge and Manuel Neuer looks as sharp as ever
With Kimmich back in the locker room early in the game, Konrad Laimer was tasked with being the defensive-midfield anchor. The Austrian rose to the challenge and helped Die Roten to maintain balance in midfield. In the 19th minute, the Austrian burst forward to get on the end of a through ball to draw Darmstadt’s first red card as he was fouled just outside the box. The referee initially penalised Klaus Gjasula with a yellow card for the infringement. After VAR intervention, it was changed to red which meant both teams were now playing with ten men. Laimer also set up Sane for Die Roten’s second goal on 56 minutes.
Neuer punched away Tim Skarke’s close-range effort from the right side of the box in the 27th minute. Six minutes later Neuer made the save of the half as Mehlem was played through in the box with only the keeper to beat. Neuer raced off his line in typical fashion to block the attempt on goal. The German goalkeeper delivered a decent performance in the first half considering it was his first game in ten months. Meanwhile, the visitors were reduced to nine men late in the first half for another last-man challenge.
A second half of sheer domination from Bayern
The second half was as eventful as the first for different reasons. Rekordmeister stamped their authority in the game and made the most of having an extra player by scoring eight times. Despite having the advantage of an extra man, the quality of the goals cannot be downplayed.
Harry Kane scored three times with goals in minutes 51, 69 and 88. The English forward deservedly took the match ball after the game. He scored Bayern’s opener with a diving header following an excellent cross from Mazraoui on the right. His second from within his own half is an early candidate for goal of the season. Leroy Sane got a brace with goals in the 56th and 64th minutes. His second was a peach of a strike from outside the box. Jamal Musiala also completed a brace by scoring in the 60th and 76th minutes. Thomas Muller also grabbed a goal after coming off the bench midway through the second half.
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Kimmich red card further depletes an already thin roster ahead of Der Klassiker
Since Kimmich is suspended for the clash away to Dortmund next Saturday, Laimer would be the only established defensive midfielder available for this big game unless Goretzka recovers from his hand injury.
With the roster already thin, Thomas Tuchel made good substitutions on Saturday when the three points were sealed. Youngster Frans Kratzig and veteran Thomas Muller replaced Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman in the 65th minute, respectively. It was also refreshing to see 19-year-old defensive-midfield prospect Aleksander Pavlovic get his first-team debut. He replaced Matthijs de Ligt whilst Mathys Tel and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Konrad Laimer and Jamal Musiala, respectively.
With injuries now compounded by Kimmich’s suspension it would not be too surprising if the likes of Kratzig and Pavlovic were to be called into action during Der Klassiker.
Thomas Tuchel will have to be clever in managing the minutes of key players in defence and midfield over the next two weeks as Bayern are scheduled to play four games. In the first of those four matches, the Bavarians travel to Saarbrucken for the second round of the DFB Pokal on Wednesday.