World Cup Bayern-watch. Russia 2018, quarter-finals

As Russia 2018 heads into the final straight, the theory was that there would be at least eight FC Bayern München players still left in the tournament, with Leon Goretzka becoming a Red on July 1st. Alas. However, our one remaining name is still there.

Go Coco

FC Bayern had one player left in Russia after the second round. As the tournament reaches the semi-final stage he is still there. He actually got a start for France in their last eight tie against Uruguay, too.

Coming in for the suspended Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso was solid without being particularly effective. Against an obdurate and highly defensive Uruguayan side, Coco saw a lot of the ball but was unable to dominate. He did, however, win the free-kick that led to the opening French goal, scored by Raphaël Varane.

One might have hoped for a full 90 minutes, but with ten minutes remaining the Bayern man was replaced by Steven Nzonzi.

With Matuidi available for the semi-final against Belgium, Tolisso is likely to be back on the bench. He is unlikely to get another start in the tournament, but has been a go-to option off the bench.

Mandzu still in the mix

He may have left Munich in 2014, but Croatian striker Mario Mandžukić is a player many Bayern fans are looking out for. Probably because we still feel pangs of regret at letting him go.

The Croats were taken the distance by hosts Russia, winning a tense penalty shootout after an exciting 2-2 draw in extra time. Mandzu was not needed for the shootout, but was involved in his team’s opening goal. After a typical charge into the box, the former Bayern man played the perfect pass for Andrej Kramarić.

Back in München…

Back in Munich, Niko Kovač is following his country with interest. However, he is still cracking on with what has been an intense start to pre-season training. According to reports, one of the standouts has been Portuguese youngster Renato Sanches, back at Bayern after a season in the Premier League with Swansea City.

Is Niko working his magic already?