Nobody was particularly strong against Darmstadt today, and the best words to describe Bayern are “painfully average”. Few players were particularly bad, but almost none were excellent.
Almost certainly the man of the match. He started the game off with a gorgeous sliding tackle to save a goal, and he maintained the high level throughout the game. But Thiago could not fully carry the team to a dominate win, and as such we really can only call his performance good instead of great. There were flashes of true brilliance though, as Thiago created several chances throughout the game, and was all over the final third, occasionally collecting balls down the wing and dribbling down the center.
Not the Brazilian’s best night in a Bayern shirt, but it is hard not to call his game great with a goal like the one he scored. Costa finally broke the deadlock late in the second half with an absolute peach of a goal which would eventually seal a win for the Bavarians. He put in an overall good shift with a few aimless crosses to nowhere and he often struggled against Darmstadt’s compact defense, but overall he did not have a bad game.
Not really called on to much during the game, so it is hard to say Neuer was spectacular. But a crucial save on a dangerous free kick late in the match to keep the game 1-0 means we cannot say there was anything average about Neuer’s game today. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, and his distribution of the ball was the start of several attacking plays.
One of Bayern’s better performers on the wing, Rafinha’s overlapping runs with an under performing Thomas Müller were one of the brighter spots on Bayern’s attack. He sent in quite a few good crosses to an isolated Robert Lewandowski, and worked tirelessly to track back and defend when required to. Nothing special from the Brazilian, but he was not a liability and he may have worked better with an actual winger on the wing.
Alonso started the game off rather poor with some misplaced passes that were almost big chances, but the Basque midfielder recovered and had a decent game, distributing the ball well and making a few good interceptions to keep the ball in Bayern’s possession. If he had been able to start off strong, there would be a case for Alonso being one of the best players on the pitch but as it stands we can only call it a good performance, not an excellent one.
A great performance from Bayern’s other Basque player, Javi looked very comfortable in a more advanced role. At times he was almost in the midfield (which we all love) and his passing was the start of many of Bayern’s attacks both down the middle and on the wings. He also used his positioning to snuff out attacks early and keep the counter-attacks at bay. Javi has been one of Bayern’s most consistent and best defenders this season, and this game was no exception.
The man who just extended his contract did not have a great first day back in the office. To be fair to Robert, there is not much he could have done. Darmstadt’s defense kept him at bay, and any crosses his direction were immediately snuffed out by the fact he was being marked by multiple players. If only there was another presence in the box to help alleviate some of the pressure, Lewandowski may have been able to contribute more.
The Austrian left-back was mostly invisible aside from a few crosses and overlapping runs here and there. But his efforts were almost all ineffective. Alaba was not a liability and worked hard in both defense and in offense, but his hard work did not mean much when it really did not add up to anything.
Hummels is really starting to look more settled in a Bayern trikot despite not really starting off fantastic. It is a bit hard to give him a rating, and really the only reason we can call him average is because Javi Martínez outperformed him in terms of distribution and just played a more crucial role. Hummels was hardly bad, but he was also rarely tested and did not offer much in the box except for one header that he could have a claim was a penalty.
Subbed on for Arturo Vidal in the 69th minute, Franck Ribéry did not have much time to perform but he also did not use the time he had to the best of his advantage. The Frenchman just returned from a slight injury though, so we should not be expecting much. He had a few decent runs with Alaba, and his presence did allow Bayern to shift their formation ever so slightly. But overall, nothing remarkable.
There were honestly times where it was easy to forget that Vidal was on the pitch. An incredibly rare performance for the Chilean midfield machine, Vidal was simply off today and contributed very little.
Another one of “those” performances from Tommy. He cannot seem to catch a break. Despite scoring last week and finally breaking his goal drought, Müller was once again chained to the right wing and rendered ineffective throughout the whole game. Please, Carlo. Stop this madness. Play literally anyone on the right wing if it means putting Thomas Müller back in a central position. We are begging you.
Rentato Sanches, Joshua Kimmich