It took 75 minutes for things to get interesting in today's game against Braunschweig. The entire first half performance from Bayern Munich bordered somewhere between pitiful and coma inducing. The team looked inept and devoid of ideas in attack and were constantly under threat in defense. The halftime whistle was a brief spell where we hoped that the team would find some magic tactical spark for the start of the second half. So naturally, the second half was basically more of the same until the 73rd minute.
It took 70+ minutes of pointless, frustrating soccer for Pep Guardiola to make a move, substituting Thomas Müller and Mario Mandzukic on for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. And the game changed immediately as within two minutes a run from Claudio Pizarro saw Mario Götze deliver a great through ball for the opening goal of the game. 10 minutes later and a long goal kick from Lukas Raeder met Mario Mandzukic who took it one-on-one past this defender before nutmegging a surprised Daniel Davari to make it 2-0.
Some thoughts from today's match:
- While Bayern Munich looked like they had no ideas in attack for almost the entirety of today's match, some of that credit has to go to Eintracht Braunschweig who were rocks in defense. Furthermore, their early season issues in their inability to attack seems to have dissipated in the Rückrunde. This team is a lot of fun to play against and if Bayern Munich hadn't been inept this would have had been a rocking good time of a match. We should be rooting for them to avoid the drop this year.
- It's hard to tell what to make of Pierre Hojbjerg from today's match. He was fairly invisible, but in many ways for a young prospect that's a good thing. While nothing he did really helped Bayern Munich, he was also not a liability in defense or possession.
- One of life's little keys in soccer is partnerships. Little combinations between players who are extremely familiar with each other; and the combination of Thomas Müller and Mario Mandzukic has that chemistry. The two of them together on the pitch are absolutely fantastic together and I think Pep Guardiola is starting to realize the value of that partnership. Their introduction fully altered this game. Before the substitution Bayern Munich had 5 shots to Braunschweig's 5 shots. In the last 15+ minutes, Bayern Munich put up 7 shots to Braunschweig's 2.
- I don't know if it's time to be worried about Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. While they don't look like the same players after returning from their injuries, it's tough to tell how much of that is tactical play-style not fitting their skillsets great and how much of that is them.
- Please get healthy David Alaba! Watching Jerome Boateng play leftback was nerve-wracking to say the least. While the German international did settle well into the role by the time halftime rolled around, it wasn't fun before that. The idea of him going up against Gareth Bale on Wednesday is not an entertaining thought.