Bayern Munich 1-0 Bremen: Report, Ratings & Reactions as Unlikely Hero Süle Extends Title Charge

?Bayern Munich opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table thanks to their 1-0 win over SV Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

It was actually Florian Kohfeldt’s Bremen who started the better of the two sides in Bavaria, causing problems in the final third through the pace of Milot Rashica and leaving Bayern Munich without a chance of note until beyond the 20th minute.

Serge Gnabry was denied the opening goal due to Ji?í Pavlenka’s quick reflexes at his near post, but the hosts struggled to create any other clear goalscoring chances for the remainder of the first half.

Robert Lewandowski,Max Kruse

It was much of the same after the break, but the game suddenly turned on its head when defender Miloš Veljkovi? was sent off for a second bookable offence just before the hour mark.

Thomas Müller sent a close-range header inches past the post as Bayern continued to push for the opening goal, while substitute Leon Goretzka couldn’t convert at the far post from a corner.

It looked like it was going to be one of those days for Bayern as chance after chance went begging, but they finally found their way through when Niklas Süle’s long-range effort took a wicked deflection before rolling past the wrong-footed Pavlenka.


Lewandowski went on to hit the crossbar in Bayern’s search for a second goal, and although they couldn’t double their lead in the last few minutes, Werder Bremen’s tame attacking ensured Kovac’s side were able to see out the match with relative ease.


Bayern Munich

Key Talking Point

It was far from vintage Bayern Munich on Saturday, made all the more surprising given their outstanding form over the last few weeks.

The Bavarians struggled to find a way through Werder Bremen’s lines throughout the match, and even when they did, goalkeeper Ji?í Pavlenka was on hand to keep the likes of Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski from finding the back of the net.

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Even when Bremen were reduced to ten men, Bayern struggled to make the extra man count as Kohfeldt’s’s side looked to shut up shop, relying on a heavily deflected shot from their centre back to eventually find a way past Pavlenka.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ulreich (4), Kimmich (6), Süle (7), Boateng (6), Alaba (6); Thiago (7), Martinez (7), Müller (6); Gnabry (9*), Coman (7), Lewandowski (7).

Substitutes: Goretzka (6), Ribéry (7), Sanches (N/A).


STAR MAN – There was little to no invention from the majority of Bayern Munich’s attacking players, but Germany international winger Serge Gnabry took the game by the scruff of its neck and looked to make things happen for Niko Kovac’s side.



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The 23-year-old drove Bayern Munich throughout the game and offered a constant threat on the right wing, combining well with Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich to keep Bremen’s defensive players on their toes.

For all of Gnabry’s work, their win ended up coming thanks to a freak goal, but it was the former Arsenal star’s hard work which helped keep Bayern Munich in charge of the game and it gave them the platform to snatch all three points.


Werder Bremen

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Pavlenka (9), Gebre Selassie (6), Veljkovi? (3), Moisander (6), Augustinsson (7); Eggestein (7), ?ahin (7), Klaassen (6), Möhwald (6); Rashica (9), Kruse (7).

Niklas Suele,Kingsley Coman,Leon Goretzka

Substitutes: Langkamp (6), Osako (6), Pizarro (6).


Looking Ahead

Both sides will face each other once again in midweek in the DFB-Pokal, where Werder Bremen are unbeaten in their last 37 cup matches at the Weser-stadion.

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Hakim Ziyech Hints at Ajax Stay Beyond This Season Amid Links With European Giants

Ajax star Hakim Ziyech has hinted he could stay at the Eredivisie giants beyond the end of the season amid transfer speculation surrounding the club’s top performers.

The 26-year-old Moroccan has bagged 15 goals and 12 this season in the league and it comes as no surprise that Europe’s biggest clubs are waiting in line to sign Ajax’s free-flowing attacking, young players.

Frenkie de Jong, the 21-year-old midfielder, has already agreed a move to Barcelona next season, and players such Matthijs de Ligt and David Neres are also being eyed up by Europe’s giants.

David Neres,Hakim Ziyech,Lasse Schone

However, Ziyech, linked with Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Manchester United, has revealed  he is no hurry to leave the Johan Cruijff Arena and will only consider an alternative option if the move was right.

Ziyech told Inside Ajax, as quoted by ?Goal: “Anything is possible. I am always someone who is very picky and there must be a club that I want to trade in for Ajax. That doesn’t just happen.” 

Ziyech added pace and creativity during Ajax’s eliminations of Juventus and Real Madrid and has been used on both flanks and in midfield this season, but has often lit up games from wherever on the field. 

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Ajax now face a busy summer transfer window but have a Champions League semi final against Spurs that will see two fast-paced teams go head-to-head in what is sure to do the European stage justice.

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90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 29

?Following a week where, I mean Jesus, what didn’t happen? Seriously, Jesus, on this Easter weekend, please tell me what didn’t happen in the world of football this week, because I’m at a loss. Essentially:

– Ajax did it again.

– Juventus cratered as an institution. No seriously – ?they did.

– United Jose’d again.

– Tottenham DIDN’T Tottenham.

– Liverpool Liverpool’d.

– Chelsea didn’t Chelsea, then drastically did.

– Europa League Unai Emery Europa League Unai Emery’d.

But that was just a tiny portion of what went down, so to help us explain the rest, we’ve employed dramatic comedy and soul-searcher extraordinaire, Noah Baumbach, and all his filmography, to help us slog through it. Never been to Prague? Let’s go. 


15. Paris Saint-Germain (Down 5)

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“Dear Starbucks, in your attempt to manufacture culture out of fast food coffee you’ve been surprisingly successful for the most part. The part that isn’t covered by ‘the most part’ sucks.” (Greenberg)

How are Paris Saint-Germain still kicking around in these here rankings? Well, they’re still Ligue 1 champions in waiting, and their French Cup final is coming up. 

The part that isn’t that? The part where they endured consecutive losses to Lille (5-1) and Nantes (3-2)? The part where they’ve attempted to manufacture culture out of football?

Yeah, that sucks.


14. Atletico Madrid (Re-Entry)

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?“I found myself writing ‘wake up’ and ‘go to bed’ in my day planner as if they are two different events.” (Kicking & Screaming)

It’s true. Atletico Madrid don’t have much to play for these days after their Champions League exit to Juventus and subsequent loss to Barcelona, which all but ended their La Liga hopes too. 

But still, a 2-0 win against Celta Vigo…that’s good going, guys! Whack that one in the diary. 


13. Valencia (New Entry)

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“‘So what do you do?

‘Eh…It’s kinda hard to explain.’

‘Because what you do is complicated?’

‘Eh…Because I don’t really do it.” (Frances Ha)

A new entry! And at this late stage! How exciting!

And Valencia have earned it, truly, by reaching the semi finals of the Europa League. What an achievement!

How did they do it, you ask? Have I watched a second of this vaunted Europa League campaign, you ask? No, but I’m certain they did do it. Good enough for me. That quote’s become meta now, hasn’t it? 


12. Chelsea (Up 2)

Pedro

“Oh, I’ve been to Prague. Well, I haven’t ‘been to Prague’ been to Prague, but I know that thing; that, ‘Stop shaving your armpits, read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, date a sculptor, now I know how bad American coffee is’ thing.

‘They have good beer there.’

‘Now I know how bad American beer is thing.’” (Kicking & Screaming)

?Chelsea have now definitively been to Prague. And they discovered just how good Petr Sevick’s right foot is, and how bad they can be with a 4-1 lead at half-time. 

Still, European semi final number 14 is on the way.


11. Lille (New Entry)

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“It’s like their apartment is full of everything we once threw out, but it looks so good the way they have it.” (While We’re Young)

Another new entry! What exciting times. And, again, this is fully deserved. 

Lille absolutely spanked the soulless Ligue 1 leaders 5-1 to delay their (still inevitable) coronation.

And they cherry-on-topped it with a goal from Jose Fonte. Sure, they have probably-generational youth talent like Nicolas Pepe, but still, Jose Fonte!!! And he looked so good, didn’t he?


10. Eintracht Frankfurt (Up 5)?

Timothy Chandler,Mijat Gacinovic

“If Plato is a fine red wine, then Aristotle is a dry martini.” (Kicking & Screaming)

I could say something equally faux-profound about Eintracht Frankfurt’s remarkable 2018/19 season, but I won’t.

I’ll just say that Luka Jovic is very good. As is Ante Rebic. As is Filip Kostic. Blues beware. 


9. Juventus (Down 5)

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“What I used to be able to pass off as a bad summer could now potentially turn into a bad life.” (Kicking & Screaming)

Another year, another European dream shattered right in front of the Old Lady’s eyes. Juve are now broken. Seriously, seriously broken. 

Sure, they have an eighth consecutive Scudetto to look forward to in the next fortnight (at most), but look around, there are no other Serie A teams in these rankings as it stands. And that tells you all you need to know. 


8. Borussia Dortmund (-)

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“Sometimes it’s good to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it.” (Frances Ha)

Finally, FINALLY, ?Borussia Dortmund did what they’ve supposed to have been doing during this Bundesliga title race run-in – win. And comfortably, too. 

A Jadon Sancho brace was just what the doctor ordered. More of the same, please. You know how much faith we placed in you. Some confirmation that this wasn’t misplaced would be nice. 

Thanks.


7. Arsenal (Up 1)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles,Allan

“For the first time in my life I’ve stopped thinking of myself as a child imitating an adult.” (While We’re Young)

All of a sudden, Arsenal look like a team of grown ups, especially in Europe. Of course, the stewardship of Europa League savant Unai Emery must help, but still, the improvement in their midweek continental maturity has been stark. 

Brandon Stark? Yes, ‘Game of Thrones‘ is still a thing, and if I had the time to insert Bran into this picture – cause, you know, he’s everywhere man! – I would.


6. Bayern Munich (Up 1)

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“You know, me and Jamie, always wondered, ‘how are we gonna get old?’ And the answer is…just like everyone else.” (While We’re Young)

At times this season, Bayern have looked just like a team of their age should look: bedraggled, off the pace, out of touch etc. 

But at others, they’ve appeared as ageless as a bunch of boys from Neverland.

The only way we’ll find out which assessment is true is by waiting for the sands of time to do their work. How profound. 


5. Manchester City (-)

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?”Josh, you know the world isn’t a giant conspiracy against you.” (While We’re Young)

Replace Josh with Manchester City and, yep, you’ve got it. A bitter, bitter, way to lose? Sure. A Var-spiracy hell-bent on keeping your plucky side of misfits from touching European glory? Give over. 

That may have been harsh. Because I genuinely did feel for City fans on Wednesday night – there can’t be many worse ways to lose than that, after a game like that. So here, have another Baumbach quote, on the house:

“How do you make God laugh? Make a plan.” (Kicking & Screaming)

Feeling better yet?


4. Barcelona (Down 2)

Lionel Messi

“It was like walking barefoot through broken glass to get a milkshake. I loved the milkshake, but, you know, my feet were bleeding.” (‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’)

Yes, it’s only a matter of time before Barcelona win La Liga, and yes, they won their Champions League quarter-final second leg with ease. 

So why the bleeding feet?

Well, it can’t be pleasant playing 180 minutes against Manchester United, can it? 

In other film-milkshake related news, ?Lionel Messi is coming for your milkshake, Europe, and he wants to drink it all up.


3. Tottenham Hotspur (Up 3)

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“It’s huge to finally embrace the life you never planned on.” (Greenberg)

In their wildest dreams, ?Tottenham fans would never have ‘planned on’ reaching the Champions League semi finals. They may have hoped and dreamed and prayed. But never ‘planned’. They’re not like that. 

Fortunately, that’s not how their club were thinking. That’s not what their players were thinking. That’s not what their manager was thinking. For years, they’ve been plotting this moment. Sure, there’s been some praying on the way too, but Wednesday night wasn’t the result of prayers.

It was planning at its best. 


2. Liverpool (Up 1)

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“I haven’t had that thing yet, where you realise that you’re not the most important person in the world.” (Margot at the Wedding)

Sure, Liverpool vanquished some demons when they dispatched of Chelsea on Sunday at Anfield, and then vanquished Porto altogether in their ?Champions League tie, but are they the most important club in the world?

They may feel like it, but clearly, given their runner-up medal in these here rankings, they’re not. 

Sorry.


1. Ajax (-)

Matthijs de Ligt,Daley Blind,David Neres,Lasse Schone

?”Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to get your attention.” (Frances Ha)

Well, by God, De Godenzonen, you’ve got it. Ten times over. Christ, we love you. We love your style of football. We love your infectious youthful naivety, your generational talent, your once in a lifetime collective, your never-say-die-attitude. We love it all. 

The fact that these words are uttered by the God Adam Driver should not be ignored, either. Driver was an up-and-comer for a millisecond, and then, deservedly, he was an A-grade actor. There was no in between. No stint in Hollywood purgatory. He’s just great, in everything does. 

A lot like Ajax.

Let’

Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen: Niko Kovac’s Best Available Die Roten Lineup

Bayern Munich host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga this Saturday as the champions push for a seventh straight Bundesliga title.

Niko Kovac’s side whalloped Borussia Dortmund 5-0 to overtake their rivals at the top of the tree at the start of April, with a comfortable 4-1 victory at Fortuna last weekend maintaining their lead. They now hold a slender one point advantage over the Yellow Submarine with five fixtures left to play this season.

They face a resurgent Werder outfit who are unbeaten this calendar year, the visitors’ 2-1 triumph over Freiburg a week ago keeping them in seventh position, with qualification for next year’s Europa League still very much on the cards.

Here’s the side Kovac could select for the encounter. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Sven Ulreich

Sven Ulreich (GK) – With first-choice goalkeeper ?Manuel Neuer limping off against Fortuna, Kovac will call upon experienced understudy Ulreich to fill the void between the sticks. He has made just six appearances for ?Bayern in 2018/19, failing to keep a clean sheet in any.

Joshua Kimmich (RB) – Touted as one of the finest right-backs in world football, Kimmich is an accomplished defender who also possesses masterful talent on the ball.

Mats Hummels (CB) – The former ?Dortmund colossus towers over opponents, incessantly clearing the danger for his side. His illustrious career and supreme defending capabilities have helped garner a reputation as a wonderfully consistent ?Bundesliga giant.

Niklas Süle (CB) – The 23-year-old’s recent dismissal against Heidenheim in the DFB Pokal will serve as a learning curve, aiding his development in the long run. He has ousted ?Jerome Boateng in Kovac’s preferred backline, suffocating the opposition and dominating aerially. 

David Alaba (LB) – Just as comfortable in a midfield role, the Austrian has become a firm fans favourite at the Allianz Arena after progressing through the ranks at Die Roten. A noteworthy total of seven goals and assists this term stands testament to his threat going forward.


Midfielders

Serge Gnabry

Thiago Alcântara (CM) – ?Barcelona still rue the departure of Thiago in 2013. His decision to link up with Pep Guardiola – the man who helped hone his talent in Spain – has been hugely beneficial for both Bayern and his own progression.

Javi Martinez (CM) – Thiago’s fellow Spaniard is a rock in the Bavarians’ engine room. Together the pair have forged a partnership that is simultaneously diligent defensively and effective in an attacking sense.

Serge Gnabry (RW) – ?Gnabry struggled to leave a tangible impact when plying his trade at ?Arsenal, but has flourished since returning to his native Germany. He was decisive in the reverse fixture against Werder, grabbing both goals in a serendipitous 2-1 win.

Thomas Müller (CAM) – With just six league goals it has been far from the most productive campaign for the World Cup winner. However, his role in the champions’ side has altered since his free-scoring heyday, ?Müller switching to a deeper position where he can be more involved in build-up play.

Kingsley Coman (LW) – The ageing duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry no longer have the searing pace that used to terrify Bundesliga defences. With that being the case, Kovac has increasingly used the ex-?Juventus wideman to get in behind the opposition.


Forwards

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Robert Lewandowski (ST) – Spearheading the Bayern attack is the fifth most potent striker in the league’s history. Lewandowski has reached the immense tally of 201 Bundesliga goals in just 285 matches, only the legendary Gerd Müller having reached that total in a quicker time; Werder be warned.

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Champions League: Ranking Who’s Had the Most Disappointing Campaign as Manchester City Crash Out

We’re at the semi final stage of the Champions League, and neither Zinedine Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo are anywhere to be seen. Come again?

It does really feel like the start of something new, as Real Madrid’s vice grip on the trophy comes to its merciful end. Gone, perhaps, are the days of the same rotation of four or five teams making the semi-finals, year after year after year.

Since few of the tournament’s favourites have any hope of lifting the trophy, then, we thought we’d at least give them something to fight for. Who has been the most disappointing in the Champions League this season?


8. Atletico Madrid

Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

?After bloodying the nose of one of the tournament’s favourites? in the first leg of their last-16 tie, securing a 2-0 victory over ?Juventus, Atletico built on an impressive group campaign, and made an statement about their intentions in European football this season. 

And then Ronaldo showed up in the second leg and sent them home in time for dinner. 

By no means a disastrous campaign, but the submissive manner in which they crashed out after an exciting start means they edge into the periphery of this list. 


7. Borussia Dortmund

Julian Weigl

?It’s difficult to be too harsh on Dortmund, considering how they stormed their group with four wins and a single defeat. Especially since ?Tottenham – who knocked them out in the round of 16 – have just made the semi-finals. 

In truth, however, we expected a little more from the side who won the Bundesliga before Christmas, but now sit in second place. ?It looked as if Spurs had drawn a very difficult tie at first, but they made such short work of the esteemed Germans over two legs that they may as well have been playing Huddersfield. 

A 3-0 win at Wembley in the first leg preceded a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Harry Kane strike at Westfalenstadion, and now they look to have chucked the Bundesliga, it looks set to be a disappointing season all round for Lucien Favre’s men. Well, sort of. 


6. Napoli

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Few expected Napoli to go the distance in the Champions League this season, especially after landing in the group of death with Liverpool and Paris Saint-German, but given how impressive they’ve been domestically under Carlo Ancelotti, you can’t help but be slightly underwhelmed by their showing.

Many will point to their narrow defeat at Anfield – which in itself wasn’t a horrific result considering Liverpool’s home form of late – as the reason behind their demise, but all in, they only managed to win two of their six matches (one of which at home to Red Star Belgrade) and bowed out in third place. 

Yes, Arkadiusz Milik could have sent them through at the death against the Reds, but he was bested by the human door that is Alisson Becker, and he didn’t. What’s more, they look in perilous danger of meeting a similar fate against Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday. 


5. Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer,Rafinha

It’s worth noting that ?Bayern, by all means, actually had a pretty good Champions League campaign before coming up against Liverpool in the round of 16. They went undefeated in the group stage, and after a 0-0 draw at Anfield came amid the beginning of their domestic revival,  the suggestion was that there could be life in the old dog(s) yet. 

It wasn’t to be, however. Coming up against their old foe in Jurgen Klopp and his formidable Liverpool side, they fell some way short in Bavaria, losing 3-1, and it became abundantly clear that some regeneration is needed if they are to return to European glory. 

To that end, they’ve already started. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez have already signed, and are expected to be the first of many new arrivals for FC Hollywood over the coming months. 


4. Real Madrid

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?It speaks volumes about how poor a season it has been all-round for Real Madrid that the winners of the last three Champions Leagues crashed out in the last 16, and still haven’t been anywhere near the biggest disappointment. 

By their own high standards, their defeat to Ajax was catastrophic. To the rest of us who live in the real world, it was surprising, but it had been coming, given how far they had fallen since Zidane’s summer departure. 

Still, they were very disappointing, and deserved no better than they got. 


 3. Manchester City

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?Even with Spurs winning 1-0 from the first leg, no-one really expected City to go out. Not with 90 minutes still to play at the Etihad. ?And when Raheem Sterling struck on four minutes of the second leg, it seemed like order would be restored, and Pep Guardiola’s team of genetically perfect robots would bulldoze their way to their 500th win of the season. 

The tide would go on to change a further three times before Spurs eventually lost 4-3 and advanced on away goals, but for City, the end result was the same; disappointment in Europe at the hands of an English side. 

It was an especially tough one to take for Guardiola’s side, because it was supposed to be the year in which they pressed on and realised their European ambitions after two record-breaking domestic seasons, but it wasn’t to be, as they fell short on the big stage again.


2. Paris Saint-Germain

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?The peculiar case of PSG consistently failing in the Champions League despite spending more money than anyone else rolls onto yet another season. We’re not angry, we’re just disappointed. 

They seem to be terrified of progress past the round of 16. Two years ago they chucked a four goal lead from the first leg against Barcelona, last year they were bodied by Real Madrid, and this? time around they lost 3-1 at home after a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford to once again bow out at the first knockout stage.

They’re embarrassingly poor at the first sign of pressure, and their predictable track record for bottling it is the only reason they’re not ranking first. 


1. Juventus

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Juventus spent north of £100m to land Cristiano ‘Mr. Champions League’ Ronaldo, in the summer, and couldn’t even make the semi-finals with a favourable couple of draws. 

No disrespect to Atletico Madrid or Ajax – they’re both tidy sides capable of beating anyone on their day – but a team with Juve’s aspirations, pedigree and personnel should be able to negotiate that run to the last four. 

They were bailed out by Ronaldo in the last 16, as he scored a hat trick in the second leg to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and despite him netting a further two against Ajax over both legs, they find themselves out of the competition. Realistically, what more do they need before they actually begin to show it on the big stage? Is Aaron Ramsey the catalyst to take them to the next level? He’s good, but we doubt it.


Let’