On Saturday, an injury-riddled Bayern Munich team travelled to the WWK Arena to take on mid-table side Augsburg. With somewhat of a makeshift lineup, the defending Bundesliga Champions managed to do just enough on match-day 19 to come away with all three points and trim Leverkusen’s lead at the top of the table to just two points. In an eventful and hard-fought game, the following three players stood out for Die Roten (Stats courtesy: Sofascore).
Once again Aleksandar Pavlovic delivered a performance that justified the decision by Bayern’s top brass to postpone the pursuit of a new number six beyond the current transfer window.
Making just his fourth Bundesliga start, and playing for the first time alongside Leon Goretzka as the midfield double pivot, the 19-year-old defensive midfielder showed a great awareness of his surroundings throughout the game, which was reflected by his sense of positioning, and his 96% pass completion rate. The German Under-20 international also opened the scoring for the visitors in the 23rd minute. His goal helped Bayern to settle into the match after a nervy opening 20 minutes. However, it was quite unfortunate for him and Bayern that he had to be substituted near the end of the match due to injury. Bayern have confirmed that it was just a cramp.
After being an unused substitute in the 1-0 victory over Union Berlin on Wednesday, Alphonso Davies was restored to the starting lineup since Bayern are dealing with multiple injuries in defense. The 23-year-old Canadian full-back made the most of this opportunity.
His daisy-cutter strike, with his weaker right foot in first half stoppage-time, to make it 2-0, was a thing of beauty. With Augsburg taking the game to Bayern at every opportunity, the second goal gave Bayern breathing room at the half-time interval. Davies remained solid throughout the second half without being spectacular. However, based on this performance, it appears that the Roadrunner has regained his focus amidst speculation about his future.
The third name on the list was not an easy choice. Either of Bayern’s starting attacking quartet could have made the list. However, Leon Goretzka deserves to be on this list due to his quality performance in midfield in the absence of Joshua Kimmich.
Goretzka’s reading of the game was key to Bayern’s midfield not being overrun by the home team’s aggression. The German midfielder's work rate and positional awareness allowed Pavlovic to thrive in a slightly deeper role. Goretzka also filled in for Pavlovic when the youngster was moving into the number eight position. It was his neat pass with the outside of his right foot that sent Davies on his way for Bayern’s second goal. Despite only completing 79% of his passes, Goretzka provided solidity and steel to the midfield. Overall, it was another strong showing from him and further justification to, at least, temporarily hold off on acquiring that new number six.