Bayern Munich: Tactical takeaways from 2-1 win over Galatasaray

Bayern Munich players celebrating Harry Kane's goal against Galatasaray. (Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)
Bayern Munich players celebrating Harry Kane's goal against Galatasaray. (Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images) /

After an impressive 4-0 Der Klassiker victory away at Signal Iduna Park in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich hosted Galatasaray on Wednesday in match-day four of the Champions League. The Turkish club went toe to toe in the reverse fixture a few weeks ago, so it was going to be a challenging game for Die Roten.

Both teams lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made just one change to the side that hammered Dortmund on Saturday. Konrad Laimer made way for Joshua Kimmich to partner Leon Goretzka in central midfield.

Since Bayern were playing at Allianz Arena, they were expected to dominate the Turkish side and get a much more comfortable victory. However, that wasn’t the case as the visitors kept Bayern at bay until the 80th minute. Bayern had to dig deep and clinch a late win courtesy of a brace from Harry Kane. Galatasaray never showed any signs of quitting and made it interesting near the end with a goal in stoppage time. Let us look at the key tactical events and takeaways from a closely fought game at Allianz Arena.

Bayern looked much better in build-up play but lacked cutting edge in the final third

Similar to the first game between the two sides, Galatasaray consistently pressed high.  Bayern did a much better job of escaping the press and advancing the ball into the opposition’s half. As a result of successfully beating the press, Die Roten had the greater share of possession, unlike the first game between these two sides.

In the fifth minute, Harry Kane tested Fernando Muslera with a long-range effort, which was pushed over for a corner. From the resultant corner, the ball fell to Upamecano to open the scoring but his shot was well over the target.

Muslera made another good save in the 30th minute to deny Die Roten. Leon Goretzka released Leroy Sane on the counter with an accurate through pass—however, the Uruguayan goalkeeper managed to parry the shot from Sane to safety. Bayern lost momentum with the substitution of Jamal Musiala late in the first half due to injury. Tuchel didn’t change the system as Thomas Muller was the direct replacement of Musiala in the number ten position.

The visitors came close to stunning the Allianz Arena at the end of the first half. Manuel Neuer made a fine save to deny Mauro Icardi. Hakim Ziyech played the perfect through ball in the 43rd minute to find Icardi in the center of the box. Such was the dominance of Die Roten in the first half that Galatasaray’s only chance came at the end of the half.

Bayern wore down Galatasaray in the second half to clinch victory

Bayern played on the front foot early in the second half, but they couldn’t get the opening goal to reward their efforts. Thomas Tuchel made some personnel adjustments in the 72nd minute as Mathys Tel and Konrad Laimer came on for Sane and Upamecano, respectively. Goretzka moved into central defense, while Laimer assumed duty in central midfield.

The breakthrough finally came from a set-piece as Kimmich delivered a perfect freekick from the right for Harry Kane to nod in and open the scoring. Despite a VAR review for offside, the goal stood and Allianz Arena erupted in joy.

The home side capitalised on a mistake in midfield from Galatasaray six minutes after scoring the first goal. Kane showed his class by finishing a move that he had started. Tel squared the ball to the England international from the left flank to double Die Roten’s lead. Bayern’s patient approach in and out of possession eventually helped them to take the lead. They eventually wore down Galatasaray to score two goals.

The visitors were in no mood to give up just yet. Sergio Oliveira intercepted a poor pass from Muller in the stoppage time to play an inch-perfect pass to Cedric Bakambu. The DR Congo striker applied the finishing touches to the counter-attack with a neat finish. Bayern managed the game well in the final few minutes to see out the victory.

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Combined with the other result in the group, the hard-fought win against Galatasaray meant that Bayern had not only secured qualification for the round of 16 but also won the group with two games to spare.