Bayern Munich properly disposed of VfB Stuttgart with their 4-1 win over the weekend. However, it was far from their best performance, and there were a host of aspects that Niko Kovac was genuinely unhappy about. In particular, Kovac was rather displeased with how far up the pitch Joshua Kimmich spent the majority of the first half in, which Kimmich has a tendency to do with his attacking ability on the right flank.
Per a report by AZ, Kovac was irritated with Kimmich’s advanced positioning in the first half to the point where he ordered Rafinha to get off the bench and start warming up. Kovac felt that Kimmich was getting caught too far up the field after Bayern took an early lead, forcing some of his teammates to track back and cover him. Thomas Müller, in particular, found himself lending Kimmich a helping hand on several occasions.
Given how opposing teams frequently adopt a defensive shape against Bayern, both Kimmich and David Alaba often venture forward to join the attack, but it leaves them vulnerable to counter-attacks and has cost the team points in the earlier parts of this season. Ironically enough, it was Kimmich who lost possession in Stuttgart’s half with a sloppy pass, leading to the Swabians’ equalizer in the 26th minute as Anastasios Donis beat Manuel Neuer with a wonder-strike after a quick long ball over the top had reached the Greek forward in a few yards of space.
In the replay, you can see Thiago and Muller tracking back to close down the space Kimmich had left behind. Too little, too late:
Anastasios Donis.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 27, 2019
Great name. Even better goal. pic.twitter.com/3XAABo2JLq
In hindsight, Kimmich knew that his side was well below par when speaking to reporters after the final whistle had gone:
The first half was not good; the coach spoke about it. When you score the 1:0 against VfB, which is not exactly on a roll, you have to seal the deal. So we end up wavering again. We’re simply not yet dominant enough. We have to maintain it over 90 minutes.