Three things we learned as Bayern Munich edged past Galatasaray to qualify for the knockout stages

Bayern Munich overcame Galatasaray 2-1 at the Allianz Arena to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, it was not to be a smooth affair for Bayern. The first half saw chances come and go for both sides, but nothing of note as the game stayed at a deadlock heading into the interval. Nevertheless, most notably, Jamal Musiala was forced off with a hamstring injury just before the break, which will only frustrate Thomas Tuchel as Bayern’s injury woes continue.

As the second half got underway, Der Rekordmeister’s struggles resumed, with Galatasaray crashing the ball into the back of Manuel Neuer’s net. However, the assistant’s flag broke Turkish hearts, as Bayern were given a second chance. While the record champions would have to be patient, their pressure would eventually pay off as Kane scored two goals in six minutes to put the hosts in a commanding lead heading towards the 90th minute. A late goal by Cédric Bakambu threatened Bayern’s perfect record thus far in the Champions League group stages, but they would hold on to qualify for the knockout stages with four wins out of four.

It is one week to the day since Bayern Munich were shockingly eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by third-tier side Saarbrücken. As questions regarding Thomas Tuchel and the Bayern squad began to materialise, Der Rekordmeister knew they had to turn up against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.

With a resounding 4-0 win at the Westfalenstadion, Bayern returned to the Allianz Arena knowing three points over Galatasaray would see them qualify for the knockout stages. However, from the first whistle, Bayern struggled to find a way through Galatasaray’s stubborn backline.

Nevertheless, Harry Kane is inevitable, and as the game went on, the Turkish champions faded away as Bayern’s record signing took advantage of their tired legs. Der Rekordmeister are a different beast in the Champions League, and while it may not always be pretty, they find a way to get over the line in this competition. With only two trophies to lift come the end of the season, there will certainly be an added incentive to win Europe’s grandest prize.

After being sent off inside four minutes against Darmstadt on matchday nine, Bayern Munich knew they would be without their midfield leader Joshua Kimmich against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker. Nevertheless, up stepped Leon Goretzka and Konrad Laimer, who controlled the game at the Westfalenstadion, overseeing Bayern’s comfortable 4-0 win.

This meant that while Kimmich would be available for the clash against Galatasaray, there were no certainties that he would be guaranteed a place in Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old lined up in midfield with Goretzka as Laimer was dropped to the bench.

However, Kimmich would conduct his normal role in the base of Bayern’s midfield, as Thomas Tuchel’s decision was rewarded. With 93% pass accuracy, Kimmich conducted everything positive Bayern achieved and was the architect of Harry Kane’s first goal. While Der Rekordmeister can survive without him from time to time, Kimmich is pivotal to their success.

Bayern Munich’s season has been blighted by injuries. However, while their defenders and midfielders have had to suffer with time on the sidelines, their attacking areas have somewhat been able to avoid such a fate.

Despite the injury to Serge Gnabry, Der Rekordmeister have been able to rely on their formidable front four for the majority of the campaign. Nevertheless, after Jamal Musiala was withdrawn just before halftime with a hamstring injury, they could face issues in the attacking department. With seven goal contributions in 13 games so far this season, Musiala has been a constant force in Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Having contributed a goal in all three previous Champions League games, it is little wonder that Bayern struggled to break down a stubborn Galatasaray side until the latter stages of the game. As well as this, with the record champions looking to hunt down Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, if the 20-year-old is sidelined for an extended period of time, then their task could become significantly more difficult.

GGFN | Will Shopland