Back to the 4-2-3-1
With Müller in the middle, behind the striker. Hallelujah!
That was a big question that was being discussed in recent weeks: Was Carlo Ancelotti bringing back the trusted and successful 4-2-3-1, or was it a one-off experiment, forced on the Italian by injuries in midfield? Well, the answer is, sort of. This marks the second game in a row that the coach started both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, and went with the system that everyone knows makes the German international much more effective (and happy). And now that Thomas finally scored his first goal of this Bundesliga season (not to mention two more from Lewy, after a lengthy drought), how can Carlo go back, right?
But, it seems unlikely that Ancelotti would just do a wholesale switch, abandoning his preferred 4-3-3. Based on personnel available, and individual opponents, expect to see a healthy rotation of systems as the season rolls along.
How is Wolfsburg this bad?
You look at their roster, and you would expect them to at least be fighting for a European spot, if not specifically Champions League. There's quality throughout, with internationally experienced and steady goalkeeping in Diego Benaglio, top class defending in Swiss international Ricardo Rodriguez, and a mix of savvy veterans (Luiz Gustavo, Marcel Schäfer, Kuba, Vierinha, and Mario Gomez), along with exciting young players (Max Arnold, Julian Draxler, and Daniel Didavi). Yet they manage to not make it work. What used to be a perennial title contender, even pulling off the championship in 2009, and finishing as runner up as recently as 2015, shows a complete lack of confidence on the field. Getting your coach fired, and having him replaced with an inexperienced Valerien Ismael certainly doesn't help, and that is why the Wolves find themselves even on points with HSV, only staying out of the relegation playoff spot on goal differential.
Sloppy play, and not just by the visitors
Although the final result would indicate that Bayern completely outplayed Wolfsburg (which, to a certain degree, they did), it was nevertheless an uncharacteristically sloppy game by the Bavarians. Inaccurate passes, slow movement into space, sloppy first touches (I'm looking at you, Vidal) and what kicker called "playing with a partially engaged emergency brake" after taking the early lead, all led to a game that wasn't the most attractive performance by Bayern, despite scoring five goals, and allowing none.
Can we just call that type of goal a "Robben"?
As in, "...the winger cuts back to the inside from the sideline, glances up, and pulls off a Robben, curling the ball into the far corner, as the goalkeeper watches the ball sail by." Let's face it, who else has consistently pulled off that move, all while the entire opposing team knows he's going to do it, and still can't stop it?
Robben is rounding into form after another injury absence, and is showing everyone, once again, that his demise has been greatly exaggerated.
The word of the day is "deflection"
To go along with the sloppy play, this was a game of deflected balls resulting in goals. Except for Robben's first goal, every other score today came about after another player (either friendly or opposing) got a glancing touch. Lewandowski's first goal fell to him after Arturo Vidal's shot caromed off a Wolfsburg defender, Lewy's second goal was a quick redirection on a shot by Müller that was going wide, Müller's goal (YAY!) dropped to him because Robben's shot was partially blocked, and, last but not least, Douglas Costa's hammer under the crossbar came off a Rafinha cross that changed course through a deflection from a defender.