The final month of matches for FC Bayern Munich II in the Regionalliga Bayern was a tough one for manager Erik ten Hag. He watched his mostly young team struggle to one win and three losses in their final four matches, and they saw their eight point lead over FV Illertissen 1921 shrink to only one point. FCB II does still have on match in hand.
Ten Hag has been working in the winter break on getting the team to work on maintaining their focus, dealing with setbacks, and being tougher on the pitch. A big part of this is individual responsibility for all 90 minutes, especially in defense. As we covered last week, Bayern Munich made an important defensive signing in brining over Matthias Strohmaier from FC Augsburg II. They had one of the best defensive records in all four divisions of the Regionalliga, and Strohmaier was a big part of that. He'll provide great competition for fellow youngsters Daniel Wein and Edwin Schwarz, while immediately being able to challenge for a starting position.
Bayern II scheduled several friendlies this winter against tough competition, and they've had a rough go of it so far. Losses to Austrian Bundesliga side SV Ried (0-2) and 2.Bundesliga sides FC St. Pauli (1-3) and FC Ingolstadt (0-2). They managed draws against 3.Liga clubs SSV Jahn Regensburg (2-2) and SV Wacker Burghausen (1-1), and their lone win came against the Regionalliga Nord's TSV Havelse (2-1).
Mixed in with those matches was a week long training camp in Belek, Turkey. The focus while at the camp was improving fitness and working on tactics. A point of note was improving the team's transition play. With FCB II controlling large portions of their matches, improving their transition defense when losing the ball is a big part of getting the side prepared for the Rückrunde.
Unfortunately for Ten Hag, he was without many of his players for large portions of the winter break, as Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola called them up to train with the first team. The list of players is quite large. Pierre Hojbjerg, Mitchell Weiser, Julian Green, Ylli Sallahi, Alessandro Schöpf, and Lukas Raeder all spent time with the senior team during their winter break training. Another two, Schwarz and Vladimir Rankovic have been out with injuries, but both look like they'll be available once the season restarts.
FC Bayern II have friendlies remaining against SpVgg Unterhaching, SSV Ulm 1846, FC Liefering, and SV Pullach before returning to Regionalliga action on March 1 against SV Schalding-Heining. The club set out to get the reserves promoted into the 3.Liga at the end of the current season, and this group of players have them on a trajectory to get there.
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