Football Features

Tottenham 2-7 Bayern: Three ways the Bundesliga champions dismantled Spurs

By CJ Smith

spurs 2-7 bayern, champions league

Published: 22:02, 1 October 2019

In a night of shame and embarrassment, Spurs were dismantled 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Bundesliga champions were absolutely ruthless, homing in on each of the Lilywhites’ biggest insecurities and taking them apart with cold-blooded efficiency.

So, just how did Bayern do it? We’ve taken a look.

1. Riding the storm

The opening 12 minutes of this clash were absolutely dominated by Spurs, with Tanguy Ndombele and Heung-Min Son, in particular, looking like real threats for the home side.

Ndombele was dynamic, winning the ball high up the pitch at the head of their midfield, then using his expert passing to slip the likes of Son and Harry Kane in behind Bayern’s defence. It was only a matter of time until this paid dividends and Son’s opening goal in the 12th minute was well-deserved.

But from that point on, Bayern called upon all of their experience to first ride the storm, then go on and win the game in style.

Instead of trying to play out from areas of intense pressure, where the likes of Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko were turning the pitch into a battleground, Bayern called upon the ball-playing expertise of Manuel Neuer, drawing Spurs up the pitch before the German stopper chipped the ball beyond midfield, allowing acres of space for the lightning-fast Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry to run into.

The Bundesliga champions were harder in the tackle and once they won the ball back, the likes of Corentin Tolisso – making up for his mistake for Spurs’ first goal – and Joshua Kimmich controlled possession, taking the wind right out of Spurs’ sails.

Once the goals started going in, it became men against boys as Spurs tried to swim without a paddle and Bayern simply toyed with them like a predator cornering its prey.

2. Width and pace

Once Bayern finally got a foothold in the game, you could see them targeting what Niko Kovac must have highlighted as a real weakness in Spurs’ armour: the full-backs.

Time and time again, Benjamin Pavard, David Alaba — then Kimmich once Alaba was subbed – pushed aggressively in support of Gnabry and Coman.

The full-backs interchanged passes quickly with their wing partners, choosing either to overlap and outnumber the Spurs full-backs or drive inside, overload the middle and draw men in.

Either way, the end result was always the same: Danny Rose and Serge Aurier were forced into one-on-one battles which they were simply not equipped for. Neither are as fast as Coman and Gnabry, and we all know just how rash Aurier is – perfectly highlighted with how eager he was to go to ground for Gnabry’s first goal just after half-time.

Even when the ball was played centrally, Gnabry managed to race away from Aurier to meet a beautiful Thiago Alcantara pass before sliding the ball home for his well-earned hat-trick. Cue the Bayern supporters’ chants of “football’s coming home” and a fourth goal from Gnabry to make it 7-2. Seven!

Aurier will be having Gnabry-shaped nightmares after this match and full credit must go to Kovac for highlighting Spurs’ weak underbelly and going for it without mercy. Why, oh, why didn’t Mauricio Pochettino adjust to this is one we’ll be scratching our heads over for some time.

3. Individual brilliance

A.) Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski

Of course, even with the best-laid plans of mice and men, you’ll still always need that bit of individual, off-the-cuff brilliance from a world-class individual. Step up, Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern hit back just three minutes and 14 seconds after going behind thanks to a stunning solo effort from Kimmich. The Germany international took down Jan Vertonghen’s clearance and shifted to his left before quickly twisting onto his right foot, leaving Ndombele flat-footed and unable to recover. The finish into Lloris’ bottom-right corner from 25 yards was fired home with the precision of a well-seasoned forward rather than a full-back.

Tuesday’s match had been billed by many as a clash of the world’s two best centre-forwards – Kane vs Lewandowski – it’s safe to say, the Poland international won.

Up until the final minute of the first half, Lewandowski had actually been relatively quiet, but then Spurs took their eye off him for one second.

First, he flicked the ball over Jan Vertonghen as if the Belgium international were a training dummy then, moments later, after a goal-mouth scramble, Lewandowski took the ball onto his right foot and, on the turn, unleashed a missile into Hugo Lloris’ bottom-left corner. The World Cup-winning goalkeeper never stood a chance.

The 31-year-old then went quiet again for much of the second half but, with Bayern already 5-2 ahead, there he was again slotting home after the Germans had pounced on a Toby Alderweireld mistake – Philippe Coutinho this time had the pleasure of providing the assist.

B.) Manuel Neuer

During the opening 25 minutes, this really could have been anybody’s game. With both defences being carved open, Bayern needed to call upon the brilliance of Neuer on a number of occasions.

The former Schalke man was on his toes to stop a rasping Son effort in the 19th minute and found himself in the way just seven minutes later when Ndombele found himself free in the Bayern penalty area.

Even once the Bavarians had taken a hold of the game, they didn’t have it all their own way and at 4-1 down, Spurs actually rallied and pulled a goal back via a Kane penalty.

But once again, Neuer was there as substitute Christian Eriksen cut inside onto his right foot and delivered a piledriver at the Bayern goal. The 33-year-old took flight as if he were still a fresh-faced teen, tipping the ball over the crossbar to maintain the visitors’ two-goal lead.

This fantastic save from Neuer provided the platform for his team-mates to press on and truly embarrass Spurs, running out 7-2 winners in north London.

Bayern look like a new animal this season and if Tuesday night is anything to go by, they’re going to take some stopping.