A slow start sees Bayern go down early
Gladbach have historically played well against Bayern, and the first ten minutes made it seem like today wouldn’t be any different. They applied pressure, forced Bayern into mistakes, and actually went ahead on a nice counter that was finished off by Josip Drmic with a well placed shot into the left corner, after a nice move to get past Niklas Süle on the right wing. They looked as though they weren’t afraid of the Bavarian giants and looked like they were trying to take a page out of RB Leipzig’s book.
Sandro Wagner took the wind out of Gladbach’s sails
After Bayern got through Gladbach’s pressure period, they showed their class and made things difficult for them. A lovely chip over the defense from Thiago almost saw Thomas Müller equalise mid-way through the first half. Müller was, in general, very active early on and was constantly on the end of attacking moves. It seemed only a matter of time until Bayern would find their equalizer, and roughly ten minutes before the break, they did. Once again, it was Thomas Müller getting involved, and his pass across the box found Wagner infront of an empty net, with the German international needing only to tap the ball into the net.
Minutes later, it was once again Müller’s looping cross that found the head of Wagner, who did excellently to head the ball with pace into the bottom left corner. Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer certainly didn’t look good on the play, diving to the spot in time but being let down by his hand placement, putting his team into, what then already seemed like, an insurmountable hole.
Gladbach ran out of steam quickly
Maybe it was their early pressure that caused this, or maybe it was Bayern’s passing, but Gladbach looked tired very early on, especially in the second half. Counter after counter amounted to very little, mainly due to players not transitioning up the field quickly enough. On multiple occasions, Raffael found himself with room to move forward, only to be chased down and surrounded by multiple Bayern defenders before he had any teammates to pass to.
After Bayern got their third and fourth goals through Thiago and David Alaba, respectively, Gladbach basically mailed it in, staying on the pitch only because they had to.
Bayern’s reluctance to give youth a chance is disappointing
I understand that Bayern are still chasing two titles, and keeping all their players fresh and in form is, right now, the number one priority. While I would love to see more youth player’s involved, Bayern are three-deep at basically every position, and playing them over established veterans could certainly lead to a few upset players on the roster.
I have nothing against Juan Bernat, and he’s a good left-back, but what exactly is he giving you out on the left wing? He certainly won’t be seeing any playing time there during the important games coming up in the DFB Pokal or Champions League, as Franck Ribery, James Rodriguez, and probably Thiago, would all see playing time at the position ahead of him. Keeping him sharp to play meaningful minutes at left-back also can’t be the reason, as Rafinha has seemingly established himself as Alaba’s back up ahead of Bernat.
Why not give someone like Timothy Tillman, Oliver Batista Meier, or Franck Evina a chance at first team experience? They have, by all accounts, had good seasons, and rewarding their hard work throughout the season could go a long way towards not only keeping them motivated, but wanting to stay at Bayern long-term.
For a club that boasts about wanting to bring players through to the first team, they sure have been unwilling to let their academy players experience the atmosphere of the Bundesliga. If this doesn’t change, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if more players follow in the footsteps of Manuel Wintzheimer and Lukas Mai, top prospects who look certain to leave Bayern this summer in search of first-team football elsewhere.