Bayern Munich reserved themselves a spot in the Champions League knockouts after a major 5-2 win versus SL Benfica early in November. Julian Nagelsmann’s decision to rotate the team coupled with an injured-ridden backline ruled out some familiar faces from the starting XI in their last two games in the Champions League. With the first choice centre-backs unavailable for the game, Tanguy Nianzou earned himself a spot in the starting lineup for their last two Champions League games. The Frenchman delivered a commendable performance and impressed in both games he has played.
Tanguy Nianzou has had a rocky start to his Bayern Munich career. First, he had major problems with various injuries that kept him sidelined for almost the whole season. Now, since there are injury concerns in their defense, he has got a chance to feature in the starting lineup. At the very start of the season and during the preseason matches, Tanguy was a regular starter and certainly showed his talent as he left a good impression on the fans.
Nianzou has started on both sides as a right as well as a left centre-back. Since his preferred foot is right, he prefers playing as a right centre-back. When he is paired with Lucas Hernandez at the back, it becomes easier for him as Lucas plays on the left. His heatmaps indicate that he has played higher up the pitch and also moves into the opposition’s half to win some balls.
Nianzou has played in two Champions League games so far, and Bayern have won both games. He attempted 70 passes in both games and had a passing accuracy of more than 95% in them. Nianzou made 11 recoveries in each game and also won most of the aerial duels he competed for. Although, he was subbed off in the second game as he faced an injury in the dying minutes of the game.
Nianzou has attempted 10.38 defensive actions per 90 minutes and has completed 71.43% of the defensive actions he has attempted. It is still early days in his professional career, and he does tend to make some mistakes at times, but he will learn from the game time he is getting. He has attempted 5.44 aerial duels and has won 45.45% of the aerial duels.
The pass map for Nianzou indicates that he has been comfortable on the ball most of the time and has played a number of passes closer to the halfway line. He has played 69.23 passes per 90 minutes and has also played 10.38 passes into the final third per 90 minutes. Almost all of the passes that Nianzou played in the final third generated a high xT and were put in threatening areas.
The center-half has won most of his duels on the left side. Most of his duels have been ground defending duels. Bayern maintain a high line and usually attempt to win the ball higher up the pitch. The same can be seen in the above visual as Nianzou has attempted most of his duels near the halfway line. He has also won two aerial duels in the opposition’s penalty area and can be a threat from set-pieces.
The above visual shows the aerial duels attempted by Bayern Munich players in their match against Dynamo Kyiv. Nianzou won the most number of duels for his team, as he won three out of the four duels he attempted. He did not lose a single aerial duel and was rock solid in dealing with aerial balls.
Nianzou is technically very strong and wins most of the duels he attempts, but he needs to work harder on his decision-making. He is full of talent but needs a lot of growth within his game to help improve his decision-making and eliminate on-field mistakes. The more game time he gets for Bayern, the faster will be his development.