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You've Seen It Once, You've Seen It All: Bayern's Idea Problem

Stagnation and mediocrity are two terms not typically associated with Bayern Munich, but this season certainly has taken a turn towards the predictable. And not the good kind of predictable like throughout 2013.

Lennart Preiss

I know I can't be alone in thinking that just about every Bayern match since about the beginning of March, and for that matter just about every attack or move forward, has looked the same. If you'll humor me, here's 90% of FC Bayern offensive moves. Bayern are attacking from right-to-left on your television screen:

Pressure in the middle third of the field by Götze gives Bayern possession once more. Götze finds Kroos on the attacking end of the center circle. Kroos picks out Ribery to his left and the Frenchman fakes going outside but makes his run with the ball to the inside of his defender. Roughly 5 yards from the penalty box, Ribery lays off for an overlapping Alaba, who takes one touch too many and sends in a cross just as the defending team has a clear man advantage in the box. The header is won by the opposition's centerback, but straight to Ribery at the top of the area. With little space, he manages to find Kroos. Kroos sprays a beautiful semi-lofted ball to the right side of the field to Arjen Robben. Robben cuts in but then hits a through-ball back to the outside for Rafinha. Rafinha sends in a cross but besides Müller and Mandzukic, the box is full of the defending team's players and this scenario basically repeats itself for the entire match.

The problem with this is that you're hoping for a mistake from the opposition. A moment of brilliance that will break down 11 men in front of goal is so rare that not even a talented team like Bayern can rely on it against the better teams. Real Madrid's defenders are not going to whiff on a clearing header hit right at them, like a defender from Hertha Berlin or Werder Bremen may.

The most accurate analysis I can make is that this team has run out of ideas within this current system of play. No tactical adjustments seem to be coming down the pike, but the one thing that could break the spell, like against Manchester United, is absolutely needing a goal or two in the face of elimination.

This in contrast with the first months of the season when the team looked to actively be trying not to send in crosses, going so far as to play short corners. Very odd to see an attacking philosophy change like that mid-season, when in both instances Guardiola has been criticized for being stubborn.

Out of curiosity it would be interesting to see how the team plays should they concede early to Real once more, then needing three themselves. Maybe that's not a question I want to know the answer to, though.

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