Bayern Munich registered their first loss of the season by virtue of an underwhelming 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion. Despite out-possessing, out-passing, and out-shooting Berlin, Bayern failed to make the most of their opportunities and were left to rue all of their missed chances. The frustration on the night grew increasingly evident with every shot that sailed high and/or wide of the target, and it was just one of those matches where nothing came off for Niko Kovač’s side.
CONVERT THE CHANCES, BOYS!
While Bayern were far from their best, they had a plethora of chances and were certainly scratching their respective heads in bemusement at the final whistle wondering how they didn’t have at least one goal to show for it. Per WhoScored, of the 25 shots that Bayern recorded, only five of them were on target, which translates to only 20% of Bayern’s shots having been on frame; an alarming statistic. In fact, no Bayern player had more than one shot on target, and Robert Lewandowski, David Alaba, and Serge Gnabry accounted for seven shots off target between the three of them.
By stark contrast, Berlin only registered a total of six shots, four of which were on target, meaning that they put approximately 67% of their shots on target, and scored twice. Completely opposite to Bayern, they made the most of the chances that fell their way and executed their limited attacks to perfection, following a blueprint that Augsburg had said with their 1-1 draw with Bayern earlier in the week. Hold a tight, deep, block, measure your runs forward, and make the most of the chances that come your way; that’s the name of the game when it comes to trying to get at Bayern for a majority of the clubs in the Bundesliga. Berlin exemplified that game plan with flying colors.
This chance from Robben midway through the first half just about summed it up:
Speaking after the match (via ESPN), Kovač said he liked some of the forward play he saw from his side, but admitted that the shooting was well below par:
We played good combinations. But right now we just don’t score any goals. That’s a problem. Still, I won’t paint everything black now. We just lack the goals, but we are working on it. It will get better. I can guarantee this. Things will turn around, and everything will be different. I am still relaxed.
Brief moments of complacency
Kovač was right to downplay Bayern’s perfect record prior to the Berlin match and his warning for his players not to get complacent has come full circle. To be fair, the match against Berlin did start relatively open with end-to-end action, but Jerome Boateng’s mis-timed challenge in the box that led to Vedad Ibisevic’s converted penalty seemed to be the sparking point for complacency to plague Bayern.
Boateng’s penalty-conceding infringement:
Worthy of a penalty or nah?— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 28, 2018
Hertha Berlin take the lead after Vedad Ibišević hammers home the penalty kick. pic.twitter.com/ifhhbpvOlO
After going 1-0 up, Berlin’s confidence grew almost instantaneously and they were able to sniff out every moment to pounce on Bayern’s mistakes, whether it was intercepting a forced pass out of the back, suffocating the midfield, or springing counter attacks off of lazy passes from Bayern in the final third. Berlin’s second goal in the 44th minute also came off as a result of a few split seconds of lax defending from Boateng and Süle. Salomon Kalou received the ball out on the right flank, and was given plenty of time on the ball. The Ivorian’s sublime, outside of the foot pass to Valentino Lazaro left Boateng completely on his heels and Lazaro’s ball into the box was met by Ondrej Duda’s right boot. Both Süle and Renato Sanches were equally at blame for not tracking and/or getting in front of Duda’s run on time, and Bayern were made to pay for it; Duda made no mistake from close range.
Make that 2-0 for Berlin!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 28, 2018
Ondrej Duda scores his 5th goal in only 5 matches so far this season. pic.twitter.com/85zLv68kur
Kovač has just a few days to get everything sorted before Bayern host Ajax at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League, followed by a Bundesliga clash against Borussia Monchengladbach before the international break. Hopefully the loss against Berlin was just a minor setback in what’s otherwise been a solid start to the season for Bayern.