CL Semi-final Review: Bayern prove their worth

A Bayern-Manchester City tie would’ve had football fans everywhere salivating; two free-scoring behemoths going toe-to-toe for a place in club football’s biggest fixture. Lyon were apparently not willing to play along though, finishing their chances with a ruthlessness that City couldn’t mirror. This changed the prospect of the second semi-final significantly, to a more tactical affair.

Bayern have scored 42 goals in this year’s competition. That puts them three goals behind Barcelona’s 99/00 team that scored 45; that is despite this Bayern team having played SIX fewer matches. Lyon have proven mightily proficient at buffering attack after attack, first beating Juventus over two legs and then pushing past City in the quarter finals. This would prove to be a game of chess – could Lyon hold out and hit Bayern on the counter to any effect? Could Bayern find a way through without leaving themselves too exposed?

As it turned out, Bayern were able to do what Manchester City could not. Lyon looked lively but were unable to find the net before a moment of brilliance from Serge Gnabry in the 18th minute, as he evaded a couple of challenges before firing the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box. The German forward scored another and Bayern had a firm foothold on the game. Lewandowski rounded proceedings off with a pinpoint header late in the second half.

Gnabry would go on to win SuperStack, paying out 82p on the back of two goals and bit of defensive work. Gnabry’s explosion served as a reminder of how dynamic this Bayern attack is – Thomas Muller was disappointing and Lewandowski was late to the party, but by the time he got his goal, Gnabry had already put the game to bed and was chilling on the bench (below).

Our obsession with Robert Lewandowski continues, and it’s not just after his late goal last night. Prior to finding the net, the Polish forward was already on a payout of 57p. It’s fair to say he should’ve been on the scoresheet much earlier – his effort from a couple of yards out was fumbled to Serge Gnabry’s feet for his second goal. As it was, though, Lewandowski’s involvement was came in fits and starts but was sufficient for a base payout of 37p. His chart below shows there were several chances in-play to buy Lewandowski for around 60p before he did grab his goal.

Joshua Kimmich (below) filled in at right-back again for the recovering Benjamin Pavard and he was absolutely superb. He had 11p for passes made, 10p for CBIs, and 6p for ball recoveries, as well as registering two assists. The first was a bit of a gift, as he lifted the ball up the line before Gnabry produced his moment of magic. The second was a wonderfully flighted delivery onto Lewandowski’s head. Kimmich’s performances here and in the previous game, where he scored and assisted against Barca, highlight the danger with shorting Bayern players. The team can pull goal involvements from pretty much anywhere on the pitch, turning a good short into a bad one in a matter of seconds.

Given the flow of the game, it’s not surprising that the Lyon players struggled to amass any impressive payouts. Anthony Lopes paid out 47p, the highest of any Lyon player. Despite conceding two in the first half, Lopes was paying out 42p at half time, and could be traded for roughly the same price as his final payout.

Karl Toko Ekambi proved a surprised package up front for Lyon (right). He had a glorious chance to give Lyon the lead moments before Gnabry opened the scoring, but he was only able to hit the post. He was a constant threat on the counter before he was subbed in the 62nd minute. Playing as a central striker in a largely one-sided game, Ekambi earning a 42p payout (23p base) was impressive, particularly given the variety in his contributions. Three ball recoveries, two CBIs, two dribbles and 2p from passes made all add up very nicely. Particularly given the performance of his strike partner.

Memphis Depay certainly came into the game garnering a lot more of the focus than Ekambi did, and he was priced accordingly (around 5p more expensive). He struggled to contribute on either end though. He spurned an early chance having been played in right through the middle of the Bayern centre-halves, and managed only one shot on target. He was caught offside and tackled twice, with 2p for passes made his only other positive contribution (below). He was hooked for Moussa Dembele in the 58th minute, and while the Frenchman didn’t score, he was able to must three CBIs and a couple of dribbles.

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