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Back to Work for Bundesliga's top teams

Bayern returned to work immediately after their remarkable win over Leipzig on Saturday, with a match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, followed by a weekend fixture against Bochum. The biggest story of the week was Leon Goretzka's contract extension through 2026. While it was to be expected, Bayern's ability to secure their two key midfielders this year will help to secure the club's future stability.

On the injury front, Kingsley Coman came off the bench in Tuesday's 0-3 win, allowing even more players to return to Julian Nagelsmann's squad. Serge Gnabry was also able to overcome his injury issues from the Leipzig game and play against Barcelona. Due to a little irregularity in his heart beat, Coman will be forced to miss the weekend encounter following heart surgery on Friday. Hopefully, everything went smoothly and he'll be back soon with no further issues.

Bayern's match against Barcelona on Tuesday was definitely crucial. Bayern's major threat in their Champions League group appears to be Barcelona, at least on paper. If Tuesday is any indication, that does not look to be a significant threat. Barcelona was a team that lacked bite. Given the amount of turnover at the club and the financial troubles that have led to them effectively dismantling the team, we should have expected this, but it was still painful to watch at times. Apart from Musiala starting in place of the injured Gnabry, Bayern started with what has become their normal lineup. The starting eleven was completed by Neuer, Pavard, Süle, Upamecano, Davies, Kimmich, Goretzka, Sane, Müller, and Lewandowski.

In fairness to Barcelona, Bayern did not get off to the best of beginnings. The team struggled to break down Barcelona and even dominate the game in the first half hour, despite the Catalan side doing everything they could to give them as much space as possible. Poor passes and miscommunications were a problem once again. Errors were especially common among Leon Goretzka and Benjamin Pavard. Pavard is, of course, returning from a lengthy injury layoff, which may explain some of his blunders, but Goretzka's continual errors and poor play are becoming concerning.

The German midfielder has shrunk significantly from the player he was the last time these two teams played. His passing has become unpredictably unpredictable, and his positioning appears to be equally perplexing. Perhaps the change to Nagelsmann's approach has hit him especially hard. The midfield is the most complicated location on the field, with the greatest variation in how different tactics affect it.

In attack, they got off to a sluggish start, with only a few good runs by Davies and Sané standing out. It would take a LONG range shot from Müller in the 34th minute that was significantly deflected by a Barcelona defender to put Bayern 1-0 up. The teams would go into halftime with the same score, but the second half would be a very different tale, and it would happen quickly. Kimmich found Musiala on the edge of the box in the 56th minute. The youthful winger took a touch and slammed it against the crossbar. The rebound was intercepted by Lewandowski, who buried it to make it 0-2.

Barcelona seemed to lose whatever life they had after that. Bayern thoroughly dominated the game and seemed as if they could have scored a lot more goals if they had wanted to. However, in the 85th minute, they would only add one more goal to their tally. This time, Gnabry intercepted a ball near the 6-yard box and struck the post with his shot, but as you might anticipate, Robert Lewandowski was on there to clean it up and score his second of the night to put the game to rest.

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Barcelona Bayern Camp Nou Leipzig Serge Gnabry


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