Arturo Vidal delivers to hide defensive flaws at Besiktas
player ratings
Arturo Vidal delivers to hide defensive flaws at Besiktas

Arturo Vidal held the team together from attack to defense in a performance that was defensively poor in FC Bayern’s win over Besiktas at the Vodafone Arena in Instanbul.

Excellent

Arturo Vidal

Box-to-box? Yeah, I think so. Vidal played solidly and won several tackles that broke up Besiktas’ attacks. The team was sluggish in 2017 Champions League away games but Vidal has been at the height of this revival. His tempo in play, both in defense and attack, matched the speed of gameplay from the get-go, and sustained his energetic performance all through the game. He was involved greatly in attack and in defense. This game was the first in a while that the Chilean outperformed his Spanish midfield cohort in Javi Martínez.

Great

Thiago Alacantàra

The Magician buried all of Beskitas’ already non-existent hopes when he scored a smooth tap-in to register Bayern’s 100th goal (all comps.) this season. It was truly a delightful team goal that set him up in the 18th minute. This is the third season running in which the number six has scored in the Champions League round of 16. Bayern became poor when he left the field. He unfortunately had to be subbed for James in the 32nd minute for what I am hoping was only a precautionary measure.

Injury crisis stay away from me.

Sandro Wagner

He probably should have started this match, but it matters not. What I love about Sandro is that he is the most fired-up backup striker you’ll see, and his introduction was no different. A striker scores goals, so I rate him as great for picking up one from the bench and dusting up this weak Bayern showing with a third goal. He got a taste of the action midway through the second half in place of Robert Lewandowski and outperformed his replacement with a chested goal from an Alaba cross.

Boss positioning.

Good

David Alaba

Alaba had an excellent showing on the night. He played with the experience you would expect from him after these years at the top. He was strong in the tackles, and strong in staying on his feet to keep the ball during attacks. His set-pieces, just like last weekend, could have been better. But his crosses were dangerous enough, picking up a late assist and he enjoyed chemistry with Franck on the left. He had the poorest touch you’ll see this week that led to an easy goal for Besiktas.

He gets away with that in the ratings after picking up an assist for Wagner.

Thomas Müller

The Captain has been involved in 22 goals in all competitions this season. He picked up his 10th assist of the season after great teamwork that led to the opener. He had previously been inaccurate with his attacking play but took his time to fire in a wonderful cross for the well-placed Thiago to finish up. He also tracked back often to help shore up the defense, since Besiktas were trying really hard to impress their fans.

Javi Martínez

He was his usual juggernaut self in the middle. He held up the ball excellently, passed fluidly and never panicked, which is something I cannot say for Mats Hummels and company. He was very quiet at the start of the second half when Bayern collectively went to sleep and lost the clean sheet.

Sven Ulreich

He did not have much to do in the first period, but as always answered every call that was required afterward. He was solid in the first 20 minutes of the second half when Bayern generously decided to let Besiktas take control of the game. It’s a shame his run of four clean sheets came to an end through David Alaba’s poor touch.

Average

Franck Ribéry

Electric start. Franck went into the game with confidence and youthful speed that led to multiple chances being created from his flank. He even began the attack that led to the fine first goal finished off by Thiago. That fire died down in the second half, though as well as his rating.

Rafinha

His cross immediately at the start of the second half was turned in for a quick-fire own-goal. Rafinha’s speed in attack helped out Bayern scare Besiktas defense into confusion at times. His defending again left quite a bit to be desired, and he even put in a clumsy tackle that got him booked in the 62nd minute.

Was this not supposed to be a match where Bayern avoided yellow cards?

James Rodríguez

He came into the game to replace Thiago and did well with his positioning. He had an easy chance to give Bayern a three-goal lead in the 55th minute but slipped and could not capitalize. He was largely missing in the game. He needs game time to get back to his best. He did create the chance for Alaba to cross in the last goal, a silver lining.

Niklas Süle

He came into the game to relieve Mats Hummels of a weak showing. He was average generally, not doing much to stabilize the defense but also not giving anything away either.

Bad

Mats Hummels

What was that about, Mats? I stand to be disagreed with but Hummels’ first half was the worst I have seen from him in all of 2018. It was nothing short of a panicked, shaky, and defensively misfiring display. He missed an easy tackle by his usually stellar standards, and got himself booked. He was then subbed off for Niklas Süle at the start of the second half, something that led to a collective sigh of relief for Bayern fans worldwide.

Robert Lewandowski

I was not impressed. He was barely on the ball, and when he was, he struggled. His positioning did not match his thirst for a goal on the night. He was subbed off for Sandro Wagner in the 67th minute, a great call considering his yellow card from the previous game (and his non-performance).

Jérôme Boateng

He had a poor first half along with Mats Hummels that culminated in a needless but suspiciously incorrect yellow card. He looked shaky at the back just like Hummels, and misplaced passes that needed Arturo Vidal and Javi Martínez to clean up. It was not an impressive shift.

What a list in the Bad category. I’m almost tempted to scream, “shame!”.

Not rated

Tom Starke, Juan Bernat, Joshua Kimmich, Sebastian Rudy.

Red Odyssey