When former Bayern Munich prospect Felix Götze scored the game-tying goal late in the Match Day 5 fixture between Die Roten and FC Augsburg, the tally gave the rest of the Bundesliga something that wasn’t present over the first four weeks of the season: Hope.
Through four match days, Bayern looked like the red juggernaut that was going to steamroll the rest of the league on its way to recording a seventh straight league title. And through those first four weeks, each of Bayern’s opponents played right into that theme; essentially giving up before each game started, while grasping at the slim aspiration they could at least achieve a draw with the Bavarians through implementing a physical and sometimes dirty style.
And while Bayern’s status as league favorite will not change even after a subpar effort against Augsburg, each Bundesliga side can look at that contest to see why it should line-up against Bayern and attempt to go toe-to-toe with the record champions.
Credit should absolutely be given to Augsburg for doing what no other Bundesliga team has done this season; actually trying to play the game with Bayern. Augsburg ignored the the failed strategies employed by the likes of Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, and Schalke and also threw caution to the wind by electing to try and compete with Bayern and it worked. Bayern was uneven, out of sorts, choppy, and just overall lackluster in many facets of the game.
Bayern Munich’s effort never looked right, even from the beginning. Die Roten appeared to be out of sync from the opening whistle and did not really establish any type of consistency throughout the match. Whether it was a lack of cohesion within the lineup or just a failure to adapt to the tactics of Augsburg, Bayern never really looked like itself in the contest.
Offensively, Bayern started very slow and struggled with spacing and timing. When the Bavarians finally started to put things together, it was an almost comical lack of finishing that prevented Bayern from taking a lead taking a lead prior to Arjen Robben’s spectacular finish.
Defensively, the performance was fine, aside of Leon Goretzka’s lack of confidence and assertiveness at left back, where he clearly was not comfortable. The back line was not the issue in this match, though, nearly all of the issues stemmed from the midfield and forwards.
To compound matters, the normally reliable Manuel Neuer’s poor decision making on the game-tying goal is not something that should be occurring for a goalkeeper widely considered to be the world’s best.
When Götze tied the game after Neuer’s uncharacteristically awful gaffe, it was very symbolic of the many lost opportunities Bayern had throughout the game. Götze is a player that many expected to eventually break through at Bayern, but the opportunity never arose for him in Munich. At Augsburg, though, Götze is getting the opportunity to play and contribute that would have likely never occurred with Die Roten.
The youngster surely had no issue in driving that stake through the heart of Bayern and the persistence of Fuggerstädter is something that all of Bayern’s opponents will try to mimic. Despite what the league’s critics say, it was never going to be “easy” in the Bundesliga; but giving the rest of the league confidence won’t make the path to a seventh straight league crown any less difficult.