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Three Post-Game Thoughts: FC Bayern - AS Roma

Can a combination of Mario Götze and Franck Ribery work? Are Bayern the monster hiding under your bed? Does Guardiola improve his players in alphabetical order?

Matthias Hangst

This might become a regular feature where I find a place to put my random post-game thoughts into words, cohesive sentences even. They're not necessarily supposed to be controversial points but might end up being just that. Go ahead and disagree with them, I'm looking forward to any non-conspiracy argument.

1. Mario Götze isn't a winger

Tell me what you want, he just isn't. The man can play in wide positions and has done so for most of this season but that alone doesn't make him a winger, at least not in my eyes. Götze isn't explosive, he's not a headache for a defense. He isn't what Robben, Ribery and Shaqiri are. He also isn't what Müller is, a player who makes the back line move constantly.

Mario Götze is a surgeon. He doesn't need speed, I'm not sure if he even wants speed. What he needs are tight spaces, moments when a sudden pass or movement can beat the opponent.

Is that a bad thing? No. Why does it matter? Because a wide combo of Götze and Ribery is a question mark that won't be solved easily. Götze/Robben works because the former moves towards the edge of the box, causing the defense to collapse, the latter exploits the space with direct movement and an instant goal threat.

Götze/Ribery doesn't go as well. First of all it's simply because Götze plays on the right flank here so his natural movement is a wide one. He doesn't cause the defense to collapse. But that's not all. The second issue with this pairing is that Ribery isn't as direct as Robben is. Simple as that. Whatever the solution to this is, we haven't seen it yet.

2. Bayern are scary

I'm not talking about Bayern's performances. It's way too early to make such ridiculous statements. That, by the way, is also the difference between top teams and these who fight against relegation: one month can save a bad team's season but it can only ruin a good one's.

Anyway, my point is that others are scared of Bayern. Look at Roma's performance. Sure, the match in Rome hurt them a lot. Being a bit more careful after that is only natural. But Roma weren't careful, they were afraid. Scared shitless. Like an abused dog.

There was never a chance that Roma would win this match. There was but a minimal chance that they'd get a point out of it. When Ribery scored, it was already over. Bayern were in their heads. I kinda enjoyed that fear.

3. It's all about the Bs, no treble (yet)

Holger Badstuber? Currently out again but he returned from a long, long injury and looked better than ever. Mehdi Benatia? Getting better and better. But this isn't about these two, it's about two others: Jérôme Boateng and Juan Bernat.

Boateng right now is the #3 in Munich, only behind Robben and Neuer, just in front of Alaba. The potential has always been there, I've been a fan of the guy for years but he was soft, mentally and because of that sometimes physically. Not anymore. The turning point? Consulting a mental coach, at some point around the beginning of 2013. Boateng has been Bayern's best defender ever since and the only reason why you wouldn't call him world-class right now is that you haven't seen him play. Look at his pass, initiating the 2-0. Look at it.

Juan Bernat, though. Contento replacement? Part of the Spanish armada, the subversive Iberian revolution led by Guardiola? Nah. He's legit. Sure, he's only the second-best left-back on this team. But he might also be the second-best left-back in the league. Speed? Check. Balls? Check. Skills? Check. Bernat can win one-on-ones both in offense and defense. He can shoot the ball remarkably well. As raw as he still is in many aspects, there's nothing you can't fix. Except his size, that's his weakness. He's gonna be that good. Trust me.

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