Late heroics from Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller spared Bayern Munich and Niko Kovac what would’ve been bright red blushes if they had been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by 2. Liga side VfL Bochum. After going 1-0 down on an Alphonso Davies own-goal in the 36th minute, Bayern required a late second-half resurgence, aided by Armel Bella-Kotchap’s red card for Bochum between goals by Gnabry (83’) and Müller (89’).
Despite securing the win and advancing to the next round of the competition, the collective performance from Bayern simply was poor in every respect. Playing well for all of 15-20 minutes in a 90 minute match is nothing short of concerning, and this was arguably one of Bayern’s weakest performances of the season thus far. Speaking to reporters after the final whistle, sporting director Hasan Salihamidizc voiced his frustration with the effort Bayern put forward in Bochum while humorously declining to go into specifics (kicker):
Press: Relieved, frustrated, angry, mad?
Brazzo: Great evening! Great, great, great.
What are your feelings?
We took the game to them. Was good, really good.
And without irony?
Yeah, no can do. Can’t today. Without irony, it doesn’t work today.
Now let’s talk about the same problems...
No, no, no, no. Stop. You can’t analyze tonight. We won’t. We’ll just forget about it quick, and I’m glad that we’re traveling back to Munich.
Is that it, that you won’t analyze it?
Oh, come on.
But you have to analyze it.
No, no can do. We played an awesome game.
You can try: those 80 minutes — why was it like that against a team from the 2.Liga?
Nah, let it go. Ten minutes were good, created pressure, and scored two goals. And that’s that. Now we’re concentrating on Frankfurt.
Leon Goretzka told us here just now that he had the feeling that the joy, the fun in playing a cool Pokal evening here in a cool stadium was not so obvious on the team. That has to be a cause for concern.
Yes. It’s the joy of getting on the bus now and being in the next round.
How can we entice you today then?
I came out simply to be friendly. And now you can let me go home, ok?
No, Mr. Salihamidzic. Two more minutes.
What has to improve in Frankfurt?
We’ll go to Frankfurt on Friday... will prepare ourselves for the game, will try — oh, come on, please.
If we have you here already, we have to...
Yes, I’m here, but only to be here. Because that was — that was simply a game we have to quickly forget, but thank God there’s a game in three days!
The lip service here from Brazzo is telling. It’s clear that he, along with everyone else on Bayern’s coaching staff, was frustrated with the evening on the whole. Bayern was undeniably below satisfactory for large portions of the match, and Salihamidzic’s ironic tone during the brief exchange with the reporter serves as a decent barometer for just how frustrating Bayern was on the night. Kovac clearly still has areas that need plenty of attention if Bayern wants to have a serious chance of defending their domestic double and making a strong run in the Champions League.