When perusing the pessimistic work of my colleague and BFW’s own Ineednoname, I was inspired to offer a different take to his fatalistic viewpoint. In the wise words of ‘90s Pulp Fiction hitman Jules Winnfield: “Well, allow me to retort.”
It is no secret that Ineednoname is a bit of a new-age curmudgeon; a millennial version of Arsene Wenger if you will. His recent hot takes on Bayern Munich’s “inherent” flaws have propagated a little fury in our comment section and on social media, so in the spirit of fair play, I have decided to provide a little different insight on his recent post (which, admittedly, is a VERY good read, so read it here).
Bayern Munich are not as good as you think
—But they only need to play to their potential to achieve some lofty goals
The Bayern fan base has every reason to feel optimistic about its roster and potential. The fans, after all, provide that spark necessary—especially inside the arena—for the team to draw inspiration. Aside of that, the roster is chock-full of world-class players, both young and old. The combination of exuberant youthful players like Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Corentin Tolisso, and Kinglsey Coman (when he returns! be positive!), Champions League-hungry players like Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski, and treble-winning veterans like Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, David Alaba, and Jerome Boateng gives Bayern a unique mix that can compete with any side when it is at the top of its game.
#1: The Bundesliga is no longer the top league it once was
—But why should a team be knocked for dominance?
Because of Bayern’s identity and reputation, the squad will always get the opposition’s A+ effort. Sometimes the result is an uneven 2-1 win over Sevilla, while other times it may be an underwhelming 0-0 draw against Hertha Berlin, as we saw on February 24th. However, that same reputation can result in an outcome like the 6-0 annihilation of Borussia Dortmund last week, where BVB got smashed early and lost all confidence of its ability to recover against the mighty Reds.
With the nature of today’s game and the demeanor of its players, it is virtually impossible for teams like Bayern, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, or Manchester City to always be amped up for every opponent. As Peter Gibbons so aptly stated in Office Space, “It’s not that I’m lazy; it’s that I just don’t care.” With so may big games to play, the thrill of a November game against Hamburger SV may not have the same motivational allure as a May date with Real Madrid.
Bayern can only play the teams on its schedule. While it is true that the Bundesliga is not overflowing with powerhouse teams, many of the upper-tier squads offer something that can challenge Bayern. The lower table teams also present the problem of having to solve packed-in defenses and neutralize individual talents with match-ups.
#2: Jupp Heynckes is coaching a team built for Carlo Ancelotti
—But Jupp has the aptitude to mold the talent to his own vision
If we have learned anything this season, it is that Jupp’s mind is as sharp as ever. The 72-year-old has made very few personnel missteps since taking over for Ancelotti. At a minimum, Jupp has shown the creativity to vary his personnel and keep the roster relatively happy while doing so. The main reason for that contentment is TRUST. The Bayern players might all have massive egos, but they have bought into what Jupp is selling, and despite some inconsistent rotation for a few high-level players, there has been very little complaining. Jupp has won the locker room and, in doing so, bought himself the confidence of players to accept the roles that he needs them to fill on any given game day.
#3: Bayern’s European competition, especially Real Madrid, has improved dramatically since 2013
—But they are not invincible
Real Madrid is a squad built for the Champions League and has dealt with its own domestic motivational problem while maintaining top European form. It’s also true that clubs like FC Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sevilla, and so on all contain enough top-notch talent to beat Bayern. As Thomas Muller said after beating Paris Saint-Germain, however, “We are Bayern.” That awareness reinforces the belief that the team has in itself and its leader.
Any match-up among the final eight Champions League contenders was destined to be difficult (just ask Pep Guardiola!). Each remaining team has its own internal strife, injuries, or tactical weaknesses (despite how unbelievably strong Real Madrid looks right now). And while the end goal is to capture the Champions League crown, a loss to any of those aforementioned sides does not necessarily mean Bayern isn’t good enough . . . just that they were not the better team that day.
I would never disparage the fine work and viewpoints of a talented and insightful writer like Ineednoname, despite his forecast for gloom and doom. His work, in fact raises some excellent points based on how Bayern has performed in the 2017-2018 season. However, the time has finally come for the boys from Munich to bear down and put their focus on the three championship goals that lie ahead.
- Goal #1: The Bundesliga. This title can be wrapped up with a win over FC Augsburg tomorrow.
- Goal #2: DFB Pokal. A crown which can be captured with a win over Bayer Leverkusen on April 17th and another win on May 19th over the winner of Schalke 04 and Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Goal #3: The Champions League. There are many roadblocks on the path to glory, but why not just put some faith on Jupp and the boys to navigate this course with aplomb?
So while Ineednoname hunkers down in his shelter of pessimism, away from the oncoming storm of big games, the rest of us can ease back, enjoy the scenery, and appreciate the quality of games we have coming our way.