FC Bayern had a pretty good day at the office in the 3:1 win against Hannover 96. Four thoughts on the matter.
James and Müller, a golden pairing
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. James Rodriguez and Thomas Müller are made to play together and Kingsley Coman adds a strong touch of class.
As deep-lying and deep-passing playmaker, James relieves pressure off Müller, who can roam freely in the final third and look good as a right winger. Although he was only returning from injury, Tommy Boy had a solid game. He created chances, notched two assists and only saw a third one taken away on a disallowed goal.
At the same time, the pair mesh very well with Kingsley Coman, whose magic feet and crosses shone during this game. The speed, the footwork and the footballing intelligence from the three men generated solid attacks and loads of chances.
James himself almost scored on two occasions with Robben-like curling left-footed shots, only to get mad because they were just a bit wide or over the bar.
Ultimately, lack of finish and the Hannover keeper’s saves prevented a rout in a game dominated by the Bavarians.
Vidal on fire
He may not have impressed in the second half, but he set the tone early. Arturo Vidal breathed fire and created enough chances with his passing and shooting to deserve a solid round of kudos.
His pairing with Javi Martinez in midfield just worked. He handled attacking duties while leaving defensive work to no.8. The chemistry between these two is apparent, if only because their strengths are suitable complements.
Boateng and Hummels coming together
It took a long time for Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng to play together on a regular basis, but they now excel just as they do with the German national team.
This is a big relief. Boateng’s long balls and Hummels’ run-of-the-mill defensive plays, as well as decision-making, are hugely needed for Bayern to have a chance in Europe.
Was it 1:0, 1:1, 2:1 or whatever else in the first half?
Referee Guido Winkmann begged for attention in that period, using VAR to cancel a goal, calling a penalty and cancelling Hannover’s first attempt, which went in the net. Thankfully for Bayern, Sven Ulreich made a great save on the second attempt.
The problem is that the ref grabbed the spotlight on close calls and made the game crazier than it needed to be. I personally can’t stand that.