Leipzig 1: 1 against Bayern: waiting in vain for the national player to whistle

ENot so long ago, referee Manuel Gräfe, once one of the best in the Bundesliga, broached a tricky question. “Yes”, he said in an interview with the “Zeit Magazin” in the summer of 2021, “it takes more spine to show Joshua Kimmich red than an Arminia Bielefeld player.” would be treated with more respect.

“I denied this bonus for a long time,” Gräfe said. “Given the loss of quality of the referees, however, I sometimes feel that certain players and the name of the club could have been taken into account when deciding.” It was more of a coincidence. that he chose Kimmich for his example, the star player of FC Bayern.

And so to the probably decisive scene of this first Bundesliga match in Leipzig since the interruption of the World Cup.

In the 52nd minute, Kimmich, who was standing in his team’s penalty area, carelessly flicked the ball through the middle, where Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg caught it. The ball immediately returned to the Bayern penalty area. There Kimmich sprinted neck and neck with striker André Silva, suddenly fell – and shortly afterwards looked at referee Daniel Siebert.

Choupo-Moting scores for Bayern

He was probably expecting what usually happens in those moments when he, the national player, falls: a whistle. But that night he waited in vain. Because Siebert didn’t whistle. Instead, he saw how Silva drove the ball through the penalty area, how Dominik Szoboszlai headed it through the penalty area and how Halstenberg then halstenberged it into the goal.

And Kimmitch? Why had he come across a little body contact? Because he really couldn’t keep his balance? Or because he’s used to the referees whistling in his favor in duels like this? Anyway, it was no longer 1-0 for FC Bayern, but 1-1.

On Friday evening, FC Bayern scored a point in the Bundesliga in Leipzig. “We can do things better, but we also did things well,” said coach Julian Nagelsmann later. They were better in the first half, when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (37th minute) made it 1-0 for his team. In the second half of the match, when Halstenberg made it 1-1, it was weaker. “For the first match after two months off, I am not unhappy with the result.” That was the main thing. And otherwise ?

There were no major stories that night, but several smaller ones that could potentially become bigger over the next few weeks.

There’s the story of Joshua Kimmich, who was even allowed to lead his team on the pitch as captain that night. His position in Munich is very high. In Germany it was probably higher. Kimmich has never been criticized as often as in recent weeks. One of the critics: Philipp Lahm, the world champion captain, who said in September that Kimmich needed to “work a bit on the way of thinking, think a bit more defensively”. As we have seen once again, there is something in this review. When he asked himself later in an interview, Kimmich responded with a lot of confidence. When asked if the duel with Silva in the 52nd minute was a foul, he simply replied: “No”.

There is also the story of Thomas Müller, who no longer seems untouchable not only in the national team but even in Munich. Jamal Musiala played in his place at Leipzig. And while he certainly didn’t play his best game, he should still be fixed. When asked about it later in an interview, Müller, who had only been substituted in the 82nd minute, replied very confidently: “I’m in good contact with the coach, good exchange. The most important thing more important is that we win as a team. Each individual must submit to the team. The same applies to me.

And then there’s also that story: the table leader scored a point against third in the table – and defended their six-point lead in what was perhaps the toughest away game of the season in the Bundesliga. If it weren’t for Bayern, you would probably call them rulers.

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