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Five observations from Bayern's 0-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid

FC Bayern Munich suffered its first defeat under Carlo Ancelotti, as they were reminded how hard it is to score against a world-class defense.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Everybody say it with me: "Possession doesn't mean squat if you don't score"

When you look at the possession statistics for this game, it looks like Bayern were playing one of the minnows of the Bundesliga, logging 67% to Atletico Madrid's 33%.  However, a glance at the shot chart tells a largely different story, where the Spaniards actually registered 16 attempts to Bayern's 15, and, obviously, outscored them by 1-0.  It's a lesson that we've learned from three years of Pep rule: possession for the sake of possession doesn't buy you anything, especially against a top team.

Was taking Thiago off the right move?

In the second half, once Carlo realized that fresh players were needed on the field, he started substituting like-for-like.  Arjen Robben came in for Thomas Müller on the wing, and Mats Hummels replaced a not-entirely-match-fit Jerome Boateng in the middle of the defense.  While those moves made sense (despite the never-sub-Müller mantra), his decision to remove Thiago Alcantara for Joshua Kimmich was a little puzzling.  The little Spaniard was probably the best player on the field for the Reds up to that point, and had been the main creative force for Bayern's attack.  Taking Arturo Vidal off, despite being in his usual warrior mode, would probably have made a little more sense, considering that Bayern were chasing a goal, and not trying to shut down the game.  In the end, Kimmich didn't do much, and Vidal both caused a very silly penalty kick, and got himself carded shortly thereafter.

Did Atletico really mean to make the field that slippery?

This is in no way meant to make an excuse for why Bayern lost, but the field at the Vicente Calderon stadium appeared to be quite slippery.  It caused Boateng to slip at a crucial moment, which eventually lead to the game-deciding goal by Madrid, and could be seen causing problems for many players when trying to keep their footing.  To be fair, Fernando Torres had his share of slips while in promising scoring areas, so it went both ways, but one has to wonder if Atletico meant to water the field a lot, and just accidentally overdid it.

Let's tap the brakes on the early euphoria

My mother has a saying in Russian, anytime anything bad occurs.  Roughly translated, it's "Anything that happens, happens for the better.", which is essentially the same as "Everything happens for a reason."  Unfortunately, she uses it all the freaking time, but maybe she's right, at least in this case.  After starting the season on a record-breaking winning streak, Carlo Ancelotti was already being praised to the high heavens as a genius, and some people were already dreaming of a Bayern steamroller, all the way to triple glory.  Some of the wins papered over the fact that Bayern was not firing on all cylinders yet, so it's probably better to be reminded in the early group stages, as opposed to later in the season (say, in the CL semifinals), that there are some very good teams out there, and playing pretty football is not enough if you don't get clinical in front of the opponents' goals.

Bayern needs a win in Munich if they want to top the group

This may be stating the obvious, but with today's result, and the expectation that both Bayern and Atletico will take care of PSV and Rostov in the other games, the winner of the group will be determined at the return game at the Allianz Arena.  Anything but a win at home, and Bayern ends up in second place, with the prospect of meeting some of the big names in the round of 16, thereby making the quest to win the Champions League that much harder.  Let's hope Carlo figures out how to crack Diego Simeone's 11-men-behind-the-ball approach.  Converting their chances would be a good start too.

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