Very few expected Bayern Munich to come out as a dominating force in the UEFA Champions League this season. Many tipped the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City as the favourites, but the Bavarians have come leaps and bounds meaning sites like are tipping them for the title if the season resumes. The two dominating wins over Tottenham were only a start as a sparkling win over Chelsea established them as a candidate. One of the main reasons for that thrust has been Thiago Alcantara.

He is one man who has always been underrated at Bayern. A lot of it could be down to how well Robert Lewandowski has been and how Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery were in the past. But Thiago has become a world-class performer who is one of the best in his position.

He’s made 22 Bundesliga appearances and has scored three goals only. But Thiago’s approach is from being about goals only. He does like a few of them, but he’s the complete midfield package who does everything a player of his position should. And those abilities have shined through in the Champions League, with leading casino making the player favourite for the player of the tournament.

In European competition, Thiago has played six games so far. One was an appearance from the bench against Spurs in North London. Even in that game, his introduction changed the game for Bayern almost completely.

In that dominating 7-2 win, Bayern were 2-1 up at halftime. Thiago came on from David Alaba in the second-half and he began controlling play like he had a magnet for the ball in his feet. In the second-half itself, he came up with 39 accurate passes and had a passing accuracy of 89 percent. He made two interceptions, playing an important role in breaking up play.

This had come weeks before a brilliant performance against Red Star Belgrade. He won as many as eight tackles and completed two dribbles, while playing as many as 97 passes on the pitch. He had two key passes to his name and picked up a single assist to be the man of the pitch. He did everything, proving his supreme technical ability and reading of the game.

He was vital in breaking up play in deeper midfield and moving the ball forward with immense creativity. Against Spurs at the Allianz Arena, Thiago was a pillar once again. Playing in a slightly forward role in a 4-3-3, he completed 87 passes and had three key passes to his name. Apart from completing three dribbles, he also won two tackles to never allow Spurs any control in the heart of the park.

But his most attention-grabbing performance came against Chelsea themselves. Alphonso Davies did grab a lot of headlines, but Thiago did everything silently.

He had a brilliant passing accuracy of 92 percent, as he played in a more advanced role ahead of Joshua Kimmich. In the box-to-box position, he won three tackles and made interceptions. Despite a diminutive size, he won two aerial duels and kept playing ticking like he always does.

He was key to setting the likes of Davies and Lewandowski through, as Chelsea’s midfield was overrun on a consistent basis. It is these complete performances in just about every Champions League game that has propelled Bayern to potentially the next round of the competition already. While they could’ve done that without him too, but Bayern can’t afford to see Thiago at another club.


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