Before I commence into my intended point(s), I first want to make a clear statement. I am not "right."
The following text is a rambling monologue on why a loss at Augsburg is not all that bad, in the grand scheme of things. That the overarching narrative of this Bayern campaign is incredible, beautiful, and astounding, and that one unfortunate loss takes nothing away from that.
With that said, I want to specify that supporters of clubs are entitled to any and every reaction under the sun (short of violence/vitriol to one another). Some fans may still be steaming over what was, ultimately, a likely preventable loss. Some may have taken it in stride and chalked it up to an inevitability, or an acceptable tactical decision with a mid-week Champions League match on the horizon. Others may be somewhere in the middle, or volleying between stances by the hour.
Every single approach is fine, and I take nothing away from those who disagree with my points below. It's OK to be angry over this result -- that's one manifestation of passion. Those who have perhaps shrugged off this loss, or did not find it as infuriating... they are no less passionate, and I encourage both approaches to respect one another's viewpoints.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's proceed.
Bayern has lost. The streak that felt like it would never end has come to a grinding halt. After 53 consecutive Bundesliga matchdays without a defeat, a small, local rival was able to accomplish that which Arsenal, Barcelona, Juventus, and a number of traditional, domestic powerhouses could not.
When the whistle blew at the conclusion of this past weekend's match, I rode an emotional roller coaster over peaks and dips and loopdy-loops. Why did Pep start three reserve players? How could we not capitalize against an opponent to which Bayern had never lost? Is something seriously wrong with the team, which has been unable to collect a full three points in the past few competitive matches?
After a bit, I calmed down some. I took a few moments to think back on the last time I really felt the sting of a loss. Was it the glorified exhibition in the DFL Supercup to Dortmund? Nah. Was it the second-leg Champions League defeats to Manchester City this year or to Arsenal in the prior campaign? Nope; not since we advanced, regardless. The last memorable loss I can recall was to Bayer Leverkusen. On October 28, 2012. That's two calendar years ago. That's one year, five months, and nine days ago. It's been 526 days since a match ended and I felt as upset as I did on Saturday.
That's not too shabby.
Before this season began, I made a mental note to myself -- as many people did -- that this season was not likely to be as successful as the prior one. You can't have a better season than winning your league, league cup, and the Champions League (with the Club World Cup as the cherry on top of our victory sundae). There was likely to be a regression to the mean. Surely we'd experience growing pains with a new manager and more starting talent than we could properly field at once.
Personally, I anticipated that Bayern would suffer a loss much earlier in the season than they did. And when that happened, I figured there would be some panic. The fact of the matter is that the prolonged unbeaten period simply upped the ante with each and every match. Opposing teams had more film to analyze tactics. The value of Bayern's scalp became greater and greater, and the team to eventually topple these giants would have a tremendous amount of pride on the line.
We're experiencing an era with the club that is simply unfathomable. The team has already won the league, is poised for further advancement in the DFB-Pokal, and is in solid position to advance in the Champions League against a mid-table Manchester United team, at home, with an away goal advantage.
And that Augsburg loss made many of us angry. It made some of us scared. Questions were raised as to whether this team and its manager have what it takes to give us ALL THE TROPHIES once again.
I don't necessarily think that the concern is over trophies, all of which are still achievable. They are in regard to pride. Bayern could have toppled a record that they, themselves, set only a year ago. The Bavarian giants have seized the Bundesliga earlier than ever before, and followed that up with three less-than-convincing results.
That's all fine. I can sympathize with those frustrations.
For me, I recognized that last year's success would, more than likely, never be accomplished ever again. I'm not suggesting that it's OK to settle. We all want the best from our team. Players should run their butts off, targets should be set high, and poor performances should be addressed accordingly. But in the end, I knew a loss was coming. Whether it was early on, in der Klassiker against Dortmund, or this previous weekend against "lowly" Augsburg. There are injuries, there are dips in form, there are extraordinary performances from opponents. The odds are not in Bayern's favor to continue to win, week in, week out.
So in the end, I encourage every visceral feeling that came from this past weekend's defeat. Whether it's frustration, confusion, fear, indifference, or otherwise. Mia San Mia. We are who we are -- from the board, to the players, to the individual supporter. In embracing our reactions to this match, I personally try to keep the perspective that we will always and forever have 2012/2013, that the club is on a trajectory to perform comparably to last year, and that it's been one hell of a stretch since I've last experienced genuine angst from a Bayern match. I mean, heck, this team surpassed "The Invincibles" of Arsenal by four additional matches.
For now, let's all hope that Bayern puts on a display this Wednesday at the Allianz Arena to make us forget all about Augsburg. The remedy for a loss is a victory, and I can't wait for the next one.