How did Bayern score against Schalke?
Short answer: Thomas Müller. Long answer coming up.
Two goals within a few minutes, both involving Thomas Müller who, as I’m sure you’d all agree, was quite a disappointment in the 50 minutes or so before. Let’s start with the, shocker, first goal which fortunately offered some things to be analyzed.
Throw-in Bayern, Arjen Robben throws the ball to Toni Kroos (green line with dot). While Robben mainly did that because Kroos was unmarked, it turned out to be a great decision. The yellow lines indicate that Robben himself is marked and so is Thomas Müller at the edge of the box by three(!) Schalke players. The option for a long ball to Mandzukic is destroyed by a defender as well.
The problem for Schalke is that the man responsible for Kroos (looks like Farfan) is too far away (red line), leaving that entire red area for Kroos to move to with the ball. He does exactly that and, while Farfan finally catches up, Müller shows some key off-the-ball movement.
The red line shows you that Müller left the box to become a better passing option by escaping the S04 lockdown. Had one defender followed him, the attack would’ve been over. But they didn’t so Toni Kroos played a (perfect in power and accuracy) pass to Müller (green line with dot). Although perfect, the only option was still doubtful since 1-2 steps by a Schalke man (Neustädter I think, yellow dotted line) could’ve been enough to intercept the pass. That didn’t happen either, I assume the lack of intensity made the hosts lose that deciding bit of focus for a bit. Meanwhile, Toni Kroos’ smart post-passing route is displayed with the red dotted arrow.
Müller got the ball and somehow beat Matip (the guy in the Comic Book Guy pose). Another Schalke player, again Neustädter I think, doesn’t really attack him, forcing center back Papadopoulos to ignore Kroos and face Müller (yellow arrow). This creates tons of space inside the box for sneaky Toni who knows what’s up and is heading (no penis jokes) to that area, having the advantage over his direct opponent Höwedes by being closer to the ball.
Thomas Müller does the only good thing he could do in this situation which is to play that pass to Kroos right as Papadopoulos is leaving his position. The green line shows the direction. Toni Kroos with a direct and perfectly placed shot, 1-0 Bayern out of nowhere.
Just a couple of minutes later, Müller did it again. If you’re reading this, I hate you for making me try to analyze that.
Nobody attacked Dante so he moved forward a bit. Nonetheless, there’s (again) not much initial danger for Schalke. Schweinsteiger and Mandzukic are marked by two defenders, Müller and Lahm by one each (yellow lines), Robben moved inside and is too close to Dante for a pass to make any sense (not to mention that opponent right behind him). Still, as the green lines show you, there’s not enough pressure on Dante. His options would be to stop, turn and play a pass to the unmarked Gustavo or, the theoretically best solution, a pass to the left flank. The problem with that is that, as I already said, Robben is in a central position and Holger Badstuber surely didn’t wanna risk storming forward, leaving Boateng exposed. So Dante tries some desperate long ball to the Mandzukic/Müller area which is deflected by a Schalke player.
The ball is rolling to the right wing and Thomas Müller is the only one who reacts. This is the only noteworthy issue here, Mandzukic is surrounded by four(!) opponents and thus completely harmless so Christian Fuchs should have every blessing to focus on Müller and Müller only. The green lines indicates that he, however, is too far away.
Not only is Fuchs too far away, he’s easily beaten by Müller seconds later. The German international is now inside the box with the ball and looking for options which are practically non-existent. As the yellow circle shows you, yet another Schalke player doesn’t attack him seriously enough. And mistake number three surrounding Müller leading to the goal is the man in a central position waiting for a move instead of exerting pressure on Thomas Müller (red line). That he can take the absolute perfect shot (green line with dot) and score remains a miracle but Schalke allowed the miracle to happen with passivity.
To say that Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller won this match single-handedly would be ignorant but it’s not too crazy to say that, without those two players, these goals wouldn’t have happened. For Schalke, the positioning was very good but they apparently lacked focus to adjust to and mark the opponent.