Euro League Takeaways: Vinícius better than Mbappé, change of order Bundesliga, Thuram is world-class
Is Real Madrid’s current superstar forward Vinícius Júnior better than Kylian Mbappé? Is this the beginning of the end for Bayern Munich? And why aren’t more people calling Inter Milan’s new star striker Marcus Thuram world-class?
Here are the biggest takeaways from Saturday’s action in Europe’s top five leagues.
Marcus Thuram is legitimately world-class
Inter Milan passed their latest test on the road to the Scudetto with flying colors, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to defeat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico 4-2, cutting new manager Daniele de Rossi back down a size.
Although Lautaro Martínez is the Ballon d’Or candidate striker in Milano, Marcus Thuram took center stage on Saturday afternoon with two goals, proving to be a step ahead of the Roma defense every time.
Thuram has been one of the most intelligent strikers in European football for years, yet his work at Borussia Mönchengladbach went largely underrated despite a few big-game performances against the likes of Bayern Munich and even Real Madrid.
With Inter, Thuram is truly flourishing on a team stacked with world-class talent in the midfield, as well as a tremendous striker partner for him in Lautaro.
Thuram scored twice against Roma, but his all-around game truly separates him from the rest. The Frenchman has seven assists and 2.2 combined dribbles completed and fouls drawn per game in Serie A this season, placing him on a different echelon.
Seriously, Thuram deserves more world-class shouts, because there may not be a more well-rounded No. 9 – besides Harry Kane – than the ex-Guingamp man.
Bayern Munich deserve a downfall
Speaking of Harry Kane, his trophy curse may very well continue.
Although the English icon is in the realm of upending Robert Lewandowski’s goal-scoring record, he earned a German grade “6” (equivalent to an “F”) in an anonymous display during Bayern Munich’s dud performance against Bayer Leverkusen.
Die Werkself thoroughly dominated Munich from start to finish, with Xabi Alonso showing the more hyped Thomas Tuchel levels, as Tuchel continues to draw the ire of Bayern supporters.
Bayern only have themselves to blame. Their team is loaded with stars, as they signed two of the best players in Europe this past summer in Kim Min-jae and Kane.
The problem is that they don’t feel like a time. Infighting, background rumors, and nonsensical transfer rumors plague Bayern every single year.
There is no real support in the front office, and Tuchel, well, he should have never gotten the job in the first place.
With Tuchel, it’s not an issue of competency. Far from it. The problem with the 2021 Champions League winner is that he was hired because the club haphazardly gave up on Julian Nagelsmann, blaming him for problems the board created.
That board is out the door, while the solution, a true top striker in Kane, is in the building for Tuchel to work with. Bayern fans can only imagine where they would be with Nagelsmann and Kane together.
Bayern are paying the price for their lack of prudence. They dominated the Bundesliga on the backs of everyone else’s incompetence, namely Dortmund’s idiotic transfer moves (beyond lucking into a few generational talents).
Now that they are up against a true juggernaut with an actual top coach, Bayern are realizing that their hold on the Bundesliga was more perilous than they initially thought. And they have to finally start being smart to stay on top.
Why Vinícius Jr. is better than Kylian Mbappé
Vinícius Júnior has a knack of stepping up when the spotlight is on him.
Coming into this weekend’s match against Girona, Real Madrid knew they’d have to bring the fireworks against an exciting attacking side that does not hold back against the top opponents.
The title was on the line at the Santiago Bernabéu, but you wouldn’t have guessed it with the way Real Madrid played. In the sixth minute, Vini Jr. scored one of the curlers of the season from range, showing the full gamut of his shooting abilities.
Vini has improved so much as a scorer since his laughable misses in 2020/21, and that world-class goal showed it, giving Real the early lead over Girona and setting the tone for a 4-0 romp.
Yet the funny thing is that the Brazilian’s other two plays on the 2-0 and 3-0 goals for fellow superstar Jude Bellingham were somehow even more impressive than his actual opener.
The assist was something out of the Luka Modrić cookbook of dreams – a delightful Trivela that was weighted so perfectly, Bellingham could only help but gallop onto it and round the keeper for an easy Madrid second.
Then on the second, Vini Jr. embarrassed new transfer target Yan Couto, cutting him up with his fleet feet before delivering a nutmeg shot that could only be parried directly to Bellingham for an easy tap-in.
As transfer rumors swirl around Kylian Mbappé, Madridistas and even Carlo Ancelotti are fed up, driving home the point that they already have the best players in the world.
Vini Jr. has a case for being the best, because, as Carlo noted after the match, when he is on his game like this, nobody can touch him.
Mbappé does not make these kinds of plays consistently enough. He does not work for his team as a progressor or defender like Vini. If he doesn’t think it is all set up for him, Mbappé coasts.
Vini never coasts. He sets the tone. He leads by example. He works and works. He drives and drives. Mbappé needs it to be one-on-one to try. Vini will give his all even if the game feels like one vs. one thousand.
Girona stood no chance because even coming into the game at less than 100 percent due to an injury, Vini was going to make sure Real Madrid won this match. Until Mbappé bleeds for his teammates like Vini, he will never be as good.