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Five observations from Bayern Munich's scoreless draw with Bayer Leverkusen

5 observations from a rather uneventful game.

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The officiating was quite poor today

In the 84th minute, Xabi Alonso was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. I don't have a problem with the two cards, but the fact that Alonso was the only player booked today is laughable. There were at least two or three Leverkusen players that could have picked up yellow cards in the first half, getting away without one time after time. Again, the two cards for Alonso weren't the problem, it was the lack of cards given to Leverkusen players for fouls of equal harm in the first half that has me annoyed.

Bayern struggled to deal with the high pressure from Leverkusen

For about 60 minutes, Leverkusen pressed high and often, forcing players into bad touches and bad passes that prevented Bayern from getting into their usual passing rhythm in the oppositions half/final third. While this could have been a result of Bayern playing with personnel that wasn't fit to pass their way out of constant pressure (namely, Arturo Vidal), credit needs to be given where its due, as Leverkusen did a superb job of disrupting any attack that Bayern tried to stage before it could really get going.

Arjen Robben seems to have lost a step

There was a moment in the second half where Bayern cleared that ball after a corner and it fell right into the path of Arjen Robben with nothing but daylight ahead on his way to goal. But for what seemed like the first time in a long time, Robben wasn't fast enough to keep the separation he had from the defense, as he was chased down and dispossessed rather quickly. Speed is a critical part of Robben's game out on the right wing, and if he's lost some of that speed and acceleration, it will certainly force Robben to adjust his game a little bit. Maybe his speed comes back with time, considering he hasn't been healthy for an extended period of time in some time, but its something to keep an eye on over the coming weeks/months.

Joshua Kimmich put in another great shift at centerback

Playing only the second game of his career at centerback, Joshua Kimmich once again played extremely well next to Holger Badstuber and, at times, Philip Lahm. He looked confident in possession (as usual), and did a good job (along with Badstuber) in keeping Javier Hernández and Stefan Kiessling quiet. He did have some bad first touches and gave away a silly corner early in the second half, but his performance was excellent for a player of his age and positional experience.

Opponents have been more physical with Bayern lately

Hamburg two weeks ago, and Leverkusen this week. Opponents have been very physical with Bayern, and maybe even a bit dirty in how they are approaching challenges. While it's obviously not fun to see, it has been effective, and it'll be interesting to see if other teams start taking a similar approach. It prevented Bayern from getting into any kind of rhythm today, and they struggled to get three points against Hamburg two weeks ago,

Other observations:
  • Bayern were lucky to walk away from this match without any serious injuries. While Arturo Vidal was taken off early in the second half, it seemed like that was as a precaution more than anything else.
  • First touches were poor all game long, something that could be blamed on the worn out pitch.
  • The wingers were quiet all game, only breaking into open spaces after Leverkusen seemed to get tired after 60 minutes of constant pressing.
  • Bayern really seemed to start taking control after Leverkusen stopped pressing. This also coincided with Thomas Müller being subbed on, and the combination of the two finally allowed Bayern to create some chances. Unfortunately, they lacked the ability to put one in the back of the net today.

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