With the international break coming to an end, Bayern Munich will be back in action on Saturday when they travel away to Fortuna Düsseldorf. With 13 players out on international duty, new Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick had very few players around to work on his tactics for this upcoming matchup. At the same time, there were some true standout performances by Bayern players for their respective countries:
Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka the stars for Germany
Serge Gnabry cannot stop scoring for Germany. The forward scored a hattrick against Northern Ireland on Tuesday to bring his goal tally up to 13 goals in 13 starts for Germany. The only other German to have a similar start? Gerd Müller 55-years ago managed 16 goals in his first 13 games. Meanwhile, Goretzka played in an unfamiliar role as part of a three-man attack for Germany. But surprisingly the role suited him well, Goretzka scored once in the 4-0 win over Belarus and twice against Northern Ireland. Finally, Manuel Neuer was excellent against Belarus, saving a penalty, and then got the night off against Northern Ireland. Joshua Kimmich was as always reliable playing the full 90 minutes in both games.
Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso and Benjamin Pavard star for France
Bayern’s French trio was called up for France’s games against Moldova and Albania. All three started in France’s 2-1 win over Moldova. In France’s 2-0 win over Albania, Coman was rested and Pavard came off the bench. Corentin Tolisso, however, opened the scoring in the 8th minute. An important goal that will give the midfielder some confidence at a time in which he has not always been the first choice for Bayern.
Robert Lewandowski rested and scorer
First, Roberto Firmino, then Harry Kane, once again Robert Lewandowski, was overlooked by the English media when it came to the obvious choice of who is the best number 9 on the planet. Not that Lewandowski seems to care much, playing through the discomfort of a groin injury, the striker cannot stop scoring. Rested against Israel, Lewandowski scored in Poland’s 3-2 win over Slovenia.
Ivan Perišić double scorer for Croatia
Winger Ivan Perišić was in fantastic form for Croatia over the international break. The 30-year-old scored the final goal in Croatia’s 3-1 win over Slovakia. Perišić then scored the winner in his country’s 2-1 victory over Georgia to help secure Croatia’s first place in Group E.
Austria back to the Euros
David Alaba has guided Austria to the second European Championships in a row. Germany’s little neighbor was a party of red-and-white on Saturday after David Alaba, and Stefan Lainer cleared the path to a 2-1 victory over North Macedonia. The festivities certainly had an impact on Austria’s final game of the group stage. Heavily rotated, the Alpenrepublik were without Alaba when they lost 1-0 to Latvia.
Philippe Coutinho stars for Brazil against South Korea
Philippe Coutinho has struggled for playing time under Hansi Flick. For Brazil, he came on in the second half of his country’s 1-0 defeat to Argentina on Friday. On Saturday against South Korea, he was in great form, however. The attacking midfielder was among the scorers in Brazil’s 3-0 victory. Perhaps a much-needed impetus to get his career at Bayern back on track?
Alphonso Davies learns a hard lesson
Perhaps the only player with a negative experience during the international break. John Herdman promised no experiments against the United States on Friday. Canada needed at least a draw to fuel their hopes of qualifying for the Hex. Instead, Herdman started Davies as a left-back. Although the role has worked for Bayern, where world-class players surround him, Davies clearly does not feel comfortable when playing in that position for Canada. With the wingers pushing far up the field, Canada were sliced open and lost 4-1, effectively burying Davies’ World Cup aspirations.