Juan Bernat had a surprisingly good match, but that was not enough to help Bayern overcome some horrible, and avoidable mistakes.
Welp, this is the one way you do not want to be reminded of the 2012-13 Triple-winning season: a completely inexcusable loss in Eastern Europe on a frigid pitch to a team wearing blue and yellow.
There is not much to coat with sugar from this one. There were massive flaws from one end to the other within the Bayern team, a side that was understandably not at full strength for various reasons. First, this fixture was sandwiched between two massive Bundesliga matches, against Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.
Second, the rash of injuries that have sprouted up since the most recent international break claimed Manuel Neuer, although his mild calf injury is expected not to keep him out past this match.
Anyways, let’s get to the ratings:
This was a very encouraging match from Ribéry, who was stationed on the left flank as usual. His movement was fantastic, and his assist on Juan Bernat’s goal displayed not only his vision within a crowd, but his ability to maintain control of the ball around defenders.
We are probably right to not expect too much out of Bernat, at least not relative to David Alaba, but he surprised many with his performance. As usual, the Bayern full-backs got forward with some regularity, which is why a storming run from Bernat into the penalty box was rewarded with a superb pass from Ribéry. Bernat did not leave the strike to chance as he buried it in the roof of the net at the near post. Honestly, it was a forward’s finish.
Also of importance, Bernat cleared a sure goal off the line after miscommunication with Holger Badstuber put Sven Ulreich well out of position to deal with a header off of a long ball. Bernat was the last man back and the only thing preventing this scoreline from being any uglier.
Given a full match, I think Sanches accounted for himself quite well. He was, for my money, the best of the midfielders for Bayern on the evening. He proved to be more of a threat that Philipp Lahm or Thiago. With Arturo Vidal’s injury and a crowded fixture list from now until the end of the Hinrunde, I would look for Sanches to get a proper run-out with the first team two or three more times. No need to rush Vidal back, since playing through pain for his native Chile is why he is still sidelined.
As one of the most reliable reserve full-backs in the world, you can kind of guess what you will be getting from the Brazilian each appearance. This time, however, he figured into the passing game more that I would have imagined, and sent in some good crosses.
Scored the team’s first goal, sure, but it was one of the easier ones he will get in a Bayern shirt. Not that the technique was lacking, but he was pretty much unpressured and he capably hit the target. On the bad end, though, was his giveaway that in large part caused the first Rostov goal.
Ho-hum another 100-plus pass night, though if we are being honest, one has to struggle to remember a key pass he made into a threatening area. Had some defensive positioning issues, as well, when Rostov got off the odd counterattack. Worst of all he conceded the free kick from which Rostov scored the winning goal.
Before Jérôme Boateng’s knock, he picked up around the hour mark, one has to assume the plan was to take Badstuber off in favor of Mats Hummels. Instead, the often-injured centre-back was forced into playing a full match. He had a few nervy moments, and one communication error with Sven Ulreich that nearly cost the team a goal. However, we will not hesitate to take some positives away from this one.
Not particularly creative in the midfield, much like Thiago, but played a solid game overall. The biggest negative for him tonight was his missed header on 47′ which only required him to hit the target for a goal.
Manuel Neuer’s replacement for the evening can only really be blamed for one of the three goals, and even that may be harsh on the ex-Stuttgart man. He gets a free pass on the collective defensive failure that was the first goal, and the second came from the penalty spot. The third goal, however, was from a free kick that I think Neuer may have gotten to, but that is purely hypothetical. If you want to blame Ulreich for something, let it be his error in judgement that forced Bernat into a goal line clearance just ten minutes in.
Maybe his worst match in a Bayern shirt. We all remember when he got turned inside out against Lionel Messi in 2015, but it happened again tonight on the first goal. It was also Boateng who conceded the penalty from which Rostov scored the 2:1 just after the halftime break. I do not want to dwell on this too much because he is a fantastic player who offers so much to the team, but this was a very, very, very bad game from Boateng. It was made worse by the fact he had to come off with an injury on the hour mark.
Even though he played over an hour, I cannot think of a single thing he did. Bayern were chasing the game for most of his time on the pitch.
Brought on to find the equalizer, Müller hardly sniffed a chance at goal in his 20 minutes or so of playing time.