Bayern Munich 0-0 RB Leipzig: Hits and Flops | Bundesliga 2019-20
First versus second in the Bundesliga, the top two goal scorers going head-to-head - Bayern Munich’s meeting with RB Leipzig on Sunday evening certainly promised much, but eventually failed to live up to expectations. Neither side could find a way past the opposition defence in a cagey 0-0 draw at the Allianz Arena, as Bayern emerged with their one-point lead atop the Bundesliga standings intact.
History, as well as recent form, was on the side of the hosts, who had lost just one of their seven games against Leipzig, and came into this match with six league wins on the bounce. In contrast, Leipzig had lost all three of their league games against Bayern and had been comprehensively beaten by Frankfurt last time out.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho looked on with interest as his side’s Champions League opponents were thoroughly dominated by Bayern in the opening exchanges of the match. However, despite retaining the lion’s share of the possession, the hosts failed to create an opportunity of note as Leipzig seemed content to soak in the pressure and utilise their pace on the break. The visitors slowly gained a foothold in a largely uneventful first half, but the score was 0-0 at the half time break.
The second half started off in sharp contrast to the first, with Leipzig making the early running while Bayern looked sluggish. After a couple of near-misses from Leipzig, however, the momentum suddenly swung in Bayern’s favour as they were awarded a penalty. Robert Lewandowski turned on a six-pence in the box and was upended by Dayot Upamecano, only for VAR to notice an offside in the buildup and rescind the award of the spot-kick.
The game grew increasingly tense following that close call, with both sides seeming determined not to make the only mistake that could decide the game. Bayern looked to be trying to slow the pace of the game while Leipzig were trying to force the issue, which created the game’s next big chance. Leon Goretzka was sent clean through on the Leipzig goal, but his shot was read well by Peter Gulacsi who pulled off an excellent diving save.
Both teams were probably pleased with the goalless draw when the final whistle blew, as neither side could claim to have clearly outperformed the other. However, there were some individual performances of note on the night - here are the hits and flops from the game.
#5 Hit: Christopher Nkunku
The young French attacker was Leipzig’s brightest spark in attack, constantly getting in behind Bayern’s defence and creating more than a handful of decent attacking opportunities. His intelligent runs down the Leipzig flanks offered his defence a perpetual out ball, and always seemed to be the target when his team’s defenders played out from the back.
By the time Nkunku was replaced by Ademola Lookman with about 10 minutes to go, he had absolutely run himself into the ground for his team.
#4 Flop: Timo Werner
Much was made of the fact that the Bundesliga’s two highest scorers this season would be in action in this match, but neither Robert Lewandowski nor Timo Werner was able to add to their respective goal tallies.
While Lewandowski was kept quiet by Dayot Upamecano, Werner was far more wasteful, failing to find the finish despite getting into some promising positions. He was also guilty of missing Leipzig’s best opportunity of the game, firing past the post with just Neuer to beat after Nkunku had found him on the penalty spot.
#3 Hit: Dayot Upamecano
Playing as the only recognised center back in a back three, Upamecano showed exactly why so many of Europe’s top clubs are after him with a colossal display. Not only did he repel pretty much every attack Bayern threw at him, Upamecano also practically had Lewandowski in his pocket for the 90 minutes, barely offering the Pole a whiff of goal. He was also the starting point for a few of Leipzig’s attacks, striding forward from defence and playing intelligent passes behind the Bayern defenders.
The only blemish on his performance was fouling Lewandowski for the penalty that never was, as VAR saved his blushes. With displays like these, surely a Euro call-up is in the offing for the 21-year-old, and a bidding war is set to follow in the summer.
#2 Flop: Jerome Boateng
It’s no secret that Jerome Boateng is only starting games for Bayern Munich because of their injury-hit defence. Boateng showed exactly why he isn’t part of Joachim Löw’s Germany plans as he was given a torrid time by Leipzig’s pacy forwards. Leipzig clearly had a plan to target Boateng by running in behind him and were caught offside multiple times throughout the match. Had they timed their runs better, they might have created many more goal-scoring opportunities.
Being surrounded by pacy players like Werner and Nkunku, as well as Alaba and Davies on his side, didn’t paint him in the best light, as his lack of pace was found out time and time again. Boateng was hooked on 67 minutes for Lucas Hernandez, who was making his return from injury, which might signal the end of Boateng’s run in the first team for some time.
#1 Hit: Alphonso Davies
While players like Boateng have been found out by the spate of defensive injuries Bayern is dealing with, one player who has emerged with an enhanced reputation is Alphonso Davies. The 19-year-old Canadian winger has been forced to fill in at left-back during Bayern’s injury crisis and he used his pace and physicality to bomb up and down the left wing.
Davies was the stand-out player in the first half, delivering a number of crosses into the box while also performing his defensive duties with aplomb. His influence was somewhat muted in the second half as Leipzig went on the offensive, but he still popped up in the opposition box on occasion, showing great desire and fitness levels.Published 10 Feb 2020, 01:55 IST