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UEFA Super Cup 2020: Super sub Javi wins it in extra time for Bayern

UEFA Super Cup: Bayern Munich
(Picture Source: Twitter) UEFA Super Cup

Last night Bayern Munich took on Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup in Budapest. It may have been the winner of Europe’s top tier competition taking on the winner of it’s second tier, but the game did not display that in the least. To add to the excitement, fans were finally back in the stadium albeit at 30% capacity.

Bayern stuck to their style of high intensity and high press that has brought Hansi Flick so much success. But Sevilla are no pushovers. After absorbing some early pressure they began to gain a foothold in the game.

Only 13 minutes in Luke De Jong was shoved in the box by Alaba. Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot and Ocampos sent Neuer the wrong way to give Sevilla the lead. As expected Bayern doubled the pressure in search of an equalizer. Sevilla hung on with Bayern coming close on multiple occasions. Bayern finally found the breakthrough in the 34th minute when a beautiful Thomas Muller cross was pulled back expertly for Goretzka by Lewandowski. With the game tied at half time, the second half had everything to play for.

Bayern came out all guns blazing and but the Sevilla defense maintained their shape a the the UEFA Super Cup final. Leroy Sane missed a glorious chance but only moments later it looked like Bayern had scored. After some chaos in the box Sane found himself facing a struggling defense and fired home. The referee once again blew the whistle to call a foul by Lewandowski in the build-up to the goal. However, replays showed that it was a rather harsh decision as there did not seem to be a foul from the talisman. The real talking point however was whether VAR should have intervened.

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Bayern continued to press and Sevilla continued to hold their shape. In the 87th minute, however, Sevilla had a huge opportunity to punish Bayern as Alaba slipped up and sent Sevilla straight through on goal. En Nesyri found himself 1v1 with Neuer. But as the German captain has shown time and again that is no easy task. Neuer came up big for Bayern once again and dived down to his right to push away an ultimately weak effort from the Sevilla forward. Sevilla had lost out on a massive opportunity and with that, the game headed into Extra Time.

In comes Javi Martinez for Bayern

This additional half-hour is always tricky. It is a test of fitness, strategy and above all belief. This extra time also showed Bayern’s lack of squad depth as compared to their treble-winning season last year. With loan deals for Coutinho and Perisic expiring, Bayern lacked quality options from the bench. As a result, Flick decided to stick with most of his starting 11 for this additional period.

Bayern controlled possession but Sevilla posed a considerable threat on the counter-attack. With Bayern unable to find the breakthrough, Flick decided to make substitutions. The electric teenager Alphonso Davies replaced Lucas Hernandez at left-back with a view of troubling the tiring Sevilla defense with his pace.

The more surprising substitution however was veteran Javi Martinez making what most probably will be his last appearance for the club replacing Leon Goretzka. Martinez should never have been in this squad. Due to a delay in his impending transfer to Bilbao, Flick had allowed him to travel with the squad.

What happened next was almost poetic. A Bayern Munich corner was cleared weakly and Alaba smashed the rebound goalward. Bono reacted and parried the shot only for it to fall to Javi Martinez who made no mistake. His header found the net convincingly and echoes of his heroics in the 2013 super cup were heard once more. Sevilla pushed for an equalizer but came up short and Bayern held out for the last 15 minutes of the Game.

With that Bayern and Flick completed the quadruple as their winning run extended to an incredible 23 games. Bayern seems unstoppable at the moment but it is fair to say that Sevilla gave them a real run for their money. This Sevilla side is developing into one of Europe’s most exciting teams. Julen Lopetegui has revived his career brilliantly after controversial and disappointing spells with Spain and Real Madrid. At the moment however, Bayern looks like a well-oiled machine that are almost impossible to beat.

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