It was game of firsts, and none of the firsts were positive.
Bayern Munich lost its first league game in 2014, a 1-0 defeat against FC Augsburg in the final Bavarian Derby of the season. The loss snaps a prolific 53-match unbeaten streak, five behind AC Minan's 58-match run in the early '90s.
Die Roten failed to score for the first time in official competition since March 13, 2013 when Arsenal held Bayern scoreless in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. The clean sheet for Augsburg was the first of a Bayern opponent in the league since April 14, 2012, ending a 65 match run where Bayern have scored at least once.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Ylli Sallahi and Mitchell Weiser all started the first Bundesliga match, a blatant attempt from Pep Guardiola to rest his players for the conclusion of the Champions League Quarterfinal on Wednesday. Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were kept off the team-sheet as a result.
With oodles of turnovers in the midfield, Augsburg was able to break forward often, manufacturing seven shots on target in what was an exhausting day for Manuel Neuer. Sascha Mölders inevitably produced the only goal of the match, sliding by Javier Martínez and shooting from point-blank range after Daniel Baier thieved the ball away from Weiser.
Here are thoughts on the match, a very somber one for the Rekordmeister:
- The reserves looked like what they were, teenagers, their adolescence apparent in their frames, skill-sets, and decision making. They looked out of their depth, the make-shift Augsburg midfield overwhelming the youngsters as one would expect. The assumption that some of these players would slip into the side is misguided, which is not a stigma on them by any stretch. That being said, Guardiola electing to go with those three speaks volumes on his opinion of them.
- Electing to play Højbjerg and Shaqiri on the flanks left Guardiola's set up very narrow. That left his one-touch striker, Mario Mandžukić, with minimal touches, something that stagnated the attack. As good as Claudio Pizarro is as a facilitator at the top, he is an average one at best in the hole. Normally the fullbacks add an element of width that forces the opponent to respect the flanks, but Sallahi and Weiser did not warrant that respect.
- Martinez's performance at center back has not warranted his use in high-leverage situations. His physical attributes are on par, and his midfield passing package is what Guardiola wants from his center backs. What lags behind is the mental aspects of the position, like releasing Mölders to attempt an off-sides trap in an inopportune moment. Guardiola will have to live with his growing pains if he wants Martínez there long-term, but the Champions League is not the the place for the Spanish international to learn the craft.
- Guardiola playing his reserves is not what bothered me, for the early title has given him the right to prepare his squad any way he sees fit. The troublesome part is him changing his personnel so quickly into the second half as if he suddenly cared about the result. While the play was better with Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, and David Alaba coming off the bench, but if his goal was to rest his players, then that is what should have happened. Perhaps a greater plan was in the works, but it appeared Guardiola wanted his cake and to eat it too.
The match replay is on GolTV USA at 2:30 and 8:30 EDT for those who want to relive the end of Bayern's unbeaten run.