The reactions following the draws against Schalke and HSV unpleasantly surprised me, for, they were mostly different from my own thoughts. I expected a few moans and groans; however, I did not expect Bayern to beat Schalke. As far as HSV was concerned, I did not know what to expect considering the changes HSV has recently undergone.
Pep Guardiola, as I understand, is expected to deliver the domestic double this season. Every Bayern coach, as it goes without saying, is expected to deliver the domestic double. However, sometimes, these expectations seem unreasonable. For, using the reverse argument, if money and the quality of the squad were enough to guarantee trophies, then external factors, such as injuries and weariness as well as ambition would have no bearing on the outcomes in May and June of each and every competition.
However, Bayern is coming into this season without two players who were integral parts of the squad. The dramatic pass maker, whose name shall not be mentioned, has moved on to hotter and more glamorous pastures while the instrumental Spaniard, Javier Martinez is out for almost the entire season. The World Cup stars are mentally and physically drained. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara are yet to be part of a single match day squad. Also, Bayern's chief attackers have mostly been out of the picture in Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
Aside from these factors, there is the added issue of adjustment of new stars. Robert Lewandowski has yet to adjust to a new style of play and a new team. Mehdi Benatia has only one match under his belt. Luckily for the club, Xabi Alonso seemed part of the Bayern package from the first second.
Mario Götze is only learning how to be responsible on a weekly basis. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Gianluca Gaudino are also learning newly to adjust to the senior team. Also, the lack of form of players who are expected to perform such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Dante Bonfim is not helping Bayern's cause. The reason behind Sebastian Rode's lack of minutes escapes me though, I must admit.
Seven matches in a span of 22 days is a lot to ask for in a World Cup year from a depleted squad. The winter break will only help Bayern. Also, while weariness is a complaint at this point, we cannot ignore the fact that Bayern has been dominating matches without looking too weary. They also create decent chances. A poor conversion rate hurts them from time to time. During the weekend against HSV, lack of penetration through the defense hurt them.
I cannot say I have not seen this pattern before. I saw this in 2007 and 2011. But this time, unlike those years, they have actually played well enough but not necessarily gotten the results their performances merit. A victory by a single goal at Hamburg for example would not have been undeserved. Also, a look at other Bundesliga giants such as Dortmund, Schalke and even Leverkusen show that no side has emerged unscathed from the World Cup.
Thus, this might be a perfect time to be forgiving towards the team and reserve judgement for the new year. After all, the big prizes are not handed out in April (as we had mistakenly thought last season) but in May and June.