Bayern’s tough win against the amateur side in the first round of the DFB Pokal was a very dark cloud with the slightest silver lining. Lewandowski deflected Goretzka’s shot ten minutes before the end to edge Bayern to a late victory. What we saw:
Kovac is not messing around
Starting the season bad does not seem to be an option for Kovac, as he fielded what is currently his starting line up while some players are still injured or building up to being at 100%. Taking an amateur team seriously fits in perfectly with Kovac’s no nonsense approach that we have seen all through the preseason. When the camera flashed to him throughout the game, he did not look happy. Understandable, especially because his team did not seem to seem to have the intensity of a side taking it seriously. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he fielded a side that has played in the same constellation in the Champions League as a signal that he plans not to mess around.
Bayern vs the stacked box
It appears that Bayern’s struggle against the stacked box is due to continue this season, and it doesn’t matter what league their opponent is from. The attack was weak and lacked creativity against opposition who are not even professional footballers. Bayern had what felt like 99% possession of the ball, 11 corners and 27 shots, but only managed to put 6 shots on target. On the other side of the pitch, they could have been 1:0 down, because the best chance of the first half was not by Bayern. The second half didn’t get much better. This has been a serious issue for Bayern over the last few seasons against opponents who sit deep and needs to be addressed.
1 vs 1 anyone?
A little extension on the above point: hardly any of the Bayern players, who are undoubtedly individually better footballers, tried to go at Drochtersen with speed and 1 vs 1 as much as they should have. Ribery tried several times, but it is a bit worrying to see how much even he was struggling. The only ray of sunshine in this department came with Coman late in the game.
Toilet paper protest
This is also only a little side note, but while the protest from the Bayern fans was apparently directed at the DFB/DFL, I couldn’t help but think that it could have just as well been directed at Bayern. Quite simply because for most of the game they were literally playing sh*t.
Subs more exciting than starters
In the 73rd minute, there was an excellent quote about Lewandowski from the German commentator on Sky Sports 2, which roughly translates as this: “His performance so far is little more than participating.” Quality-wise, this is a quote that could have been applied to most of the team for the game. The one player I would take out from that is Ribery, who showed intensity and presence throughout the game and was also one of the most decisive factors in the goal.
However, I wanted to end this article on a positive note, in a game where there weren’t many positives. What I really liked was the change that Goretzka and Coman brought when they came on as the game immediately got more dynamic.
They were also involved in the important actions of the game. In the 79th minute Coman’s assist to Muller would have been a goal if Ribery hadn’t been running around in front of the goalkeeper. Then in the 81st, Lewandowski only had to stick his foot out after a Goretzka shot.
Goretzka commanded the center in a way that Thiago was nowhere close to and showed flashes of what a leader he could become. Coman’s showed that he is returning to his healthy self which is leaps and bounds better than Robbery, and the only reason why I can imagine him not playing from the beginning is fitness issues. As soon as he comes onto the pitch, he is one of the most lively elements.