Bayern Munich vs VfL Wolfsburg: Five Talking Points As Bayern Defeats Wolfsburg 

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There were various subplots for the Bayern Munich match against VfL Wolfsburg, but the one between current and past head coaches Julian Nagelsmann and Niko Kovac was the most captivating.

Of course, there was also the minor issue of Bayern Munich starting without Robert Lewandowski, the player who previously scored five goals in nine minutes against the Wolves. Despite this, the Bavarians didn’t lose a beat and put on a highly composed display.

Here are five talking points related to the game:

Musiala goal

1. Nagelsmann set up.

Nagelsmann set up the team similarly to how he did against Frankfurt. However, Niko Kovac seems to have done his homework since this Wolfsburg team came out firing rather than playing his usual “park the bus” Kovacball (Simeoneball 2.0).

The team drove Bayern into their half for the first 15 minutes with a lot of attacking intent. Throughout, Benjamin Pavard in particular was the target, and he appeared to be rather uneasy.

Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg

The game’s dynamics abruptly changed 180 degrees after the Bayern Munich coach shouted a few instructions. When Alphonso Davies began taking advantage of the openings in the middle of the field, the Wolfsburg midfielders were powerless to stop him.

By using deft one-twos, through balls, and dummies to put himself in advantageous positions, Jamal Musiala appeared to be using this as a screen.

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2. Saving energy.

Bayern Munich
Musiala in action

The level of attack dropped off in the second half. As Wolfsburg sat back, Bayern Munich players went into cruise control and continued to dominate while passing the ball and looking for openings. 

There was no need for the squad to press for the full 90 minutes, in contrast to the situation under former coach Hansi Flick. An intense pressing system will undoubtedly wear down the players, who need to be rested for the following game.

Also crystal obvious was Nagelsmann’s “smart-pressing” in pockets. The players isolated Wolfsburg players and caused turnovers by forming triangles and executing tiny, deliberate presses. The other eight players, including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who is also a midfielder, might conserve energy as a result, though.

Bayern Munich need not perform spectacularly in every game. Sometimes all the squad needs to do to win is score a few goals. And that’s okay because champions operate in that manner.

3. Currently, Jamal Musiala is the top player in the Bundesliga.

Indeed, Musiala has received a lot of appreciation lately, both on this website and elsewhere. The coach, current players, previous Bayern players, and supporters are all jubilant, and for good reason. 

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This player is enchanted. He once again put up the man of the match performance, completing 92% of his passes, scoring a fantastic goal, and displaying tremendous passing and otherworldly dribbling in confined places. It is becoming more and more clear that Musiala intends to claim that wing position as his own with each passing game.

The hybrid winger/half-space playmaker position played by Nagelsball, 19, seems to be created for him. The Wolfsburg defense just had no response, and Musiala once again dominated. 

He was good at making decisions, found teammates in excellent positions with wonderful passes, and could have added one or two more goals but for some sloppy passing from Müller and Sané.

Musiala has suddenly appeared on stage, he’s prepared to take this season as his own, and right now he’s unstoppable.

4. Marcel Sabitzer

This is one of the major plotlines of the first half of the season, and I’m enjoying it. It’s the ideal time for Sabitzer to be having a remontada. Given how effective the Austrian has been, Leon Goretzka might no longer be a definite starter.

The dude was everywhere with a 91.7% passing success rate, 4 successful tackles, and a crucial pass. He served as the defense’s front line of defense, making it difficult for players to penetrate the midfield block.

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Sabitzer more than made up for any shortcomings in the middle of the field in a game where Joshua Kimmich was underwhelmed with his defensive duties, work rate, and build-up play.

His constant ability to win back balls outside of the opposing box was what I admired most about his performance tonight. When the Austrian panzer prevented the Wolfsburg midfield from leaving their area, the situation turned depressing.

Will Gravenbitzer take over for Kimmetzka? It’s too early to tell, but if the Germans don’t step up their game, both players may very well earn that starting position. Finally having such fierce competition in the middle feels nice.

5. The clean sheet.

Bayern Munich maintained a clean sheet, which merits its celebratory post, but for the time being, a spot in the game analysis will have to do. Bayern’s defense was excellent.

Both Lucas Hernandez and Upamecano performed flawlessly. The latter has had a strong start, therefore Matthijs de Ligt might find it more difficult to make the starting XI. Due to his dedication to his difficulties, Lucas’ performance stood out from the crowd.

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