Bayern 1-3 Leverkusen. Initial reactions and observations:
- This was arguably the Bayern offense’s worst outing so far this season. Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry were nothing sort of atrocious in front of goal, and the attack seemed toothless without their usual clinical selves.
- Coman and Coutinho were both poor today as substitutes. Taking too much time on the ball, slowing down the passing channels and passing back instead of taking the ball forward at the end of meaningful attacks ruined a lot of Bayern’s good chances today. These players need to deliver to justify any minutes on the pitch.
- Bayer Leverkusen played all Atletico style today, and it worked wonders (surprise, surprise!). Scoring goals clinically when the chance came by, defending with all their lives, wasting time whenever they got the chance and playing rough on our players. This looked scarily like a carbon-copy of Atletico’s gameplan, and I tell you, if Simeone saw today’s game, boy would he be proud.
- The crossbar had some hidden agenda against Bayern today. The posts denied at least 6 clear Bayern goal opportunities, and that is very disappointing since even a third of those goals could’ve made the difference today.
- Sure, the Alaba-Martinez makeshift defence seemed to work wonders, but in hindsight, that was probably because they weren’t tested enough. Enter Leverkusen, and the entire defence crumpled under the pressure. We really need Boateng back on the starting lineup, and Dr. HWMW has to increase the potency of his foal blood-goat hair therapy to bring Hernandez back somehow. This cannot continue.
- Davies needs some time to improve. Maybe returning him back to the wings could help, because though he wasn’t bad, he did look out of sorts today. Diaby was running him up and down all the time, and this game proved that raw pace and positioning alone cannot help defend against experienced attackers. Time, experience and skill in the position is required, and Davies just needs to fine tune certain aspects of his game.
- Overall, a very disappointing loss, but one that the boys can come out of next week with a win against Moenchengladbach. Easier said than done.
90+6’ — FT. Bayern 1-2 Leverkusen. Nothing to add to that, simply disappointing.
90+4’ — Today has been one of Bayern’s worst displays on the offensive end. Very poor finishing, and the chances have not been taken. Lewandowski and Gnabry having arguably their worst game this season.
90+1’ — Bayern OFF THE WOODWORK AGAIN! At this point, the players might as well just give up. Another Kimmich cross is headed in by Lewandowski, only to be saved by the crossbar.
87’ — Bayern still unable to find a breakthrough. Fruitless passes forward result in very poor finishing or sloppy crosses that are cleared with ease by the Leverkusen defenders.
83’ — Jonathan Tah sent off for a foul on Coutinho to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity. Leverkusen defending with their lives. Still 1-2 to Leverkusen.
78’ — Injuries to Leverkusen players frustrating Bayern, since valuable game-time is getting wasted. Bayern try to push forward in numbers, but the defence shows no signs of giving way.
74’ — Leverkusen literally wasting time on the ball, playing as slowly as possible and taking time on free-kicks and goal-kicks. Fans are visibly frustrated.
70’ — Coutinho subbed in for Mueller, in a very baffling substitution. Kingsley Coman comes in for Perisic. Bayern continue to press.
66’ — Bayern giving Neuer worries all time, with sloppy giveaways, and the captain making some incredible saves tonight, keeping Bayern from conceding more. Score remains 1-2.
61’ — Hradecky makes a superhuman double save to deny Bayern a goal. This seems to be just another one of those frustrating nights. Bayern continue to trail 1-2.
59’ — ANOTHER GUILT-EDGED CHANCE! Mueller crosses in a beautiful, teasing ball that is sent to the stratosphere by Perisic, who tries to reach there in time to meet the ball.
56’ — Lewandowski looking dismal today. His finishing has left a lot to be desired, and he hits the ball wide off the post once again.
53’ — Neuer making some brilliant saves today. Bayern simply too sloppy in possession, and Leverkusen are looking for every chance they can to punish Bayern.
49’ — Bayern desperately trying to find the equalizer, but the Leverkusen defence is holding out impressively well today.
46’ — AND Bayern kickoff to start the second half!
Halftime reactions and observations:
- Bayern have been utterly wasteful in front of goal. A minimum of 3 clear-cut goal-scoring chances have been wasted, with Lewandowski and Gnabry both looking very unlike their usual selves, making the wrong decisions and lacking the composure to finish.
- Thomas Mueller once again proves why he is so integral to this team. His through balls should have Bayern at least 4 goals up by now, but he has been let down massively by his teammates today. The raumdeuter has scored the sole goal for Bayern so far.
- The Bayern defence has looked nothing short of poor today. Javi Martinez was left in no man’s land for both goals, as he looked on helplessly when Leon Bailey pounced on space and scored two composed finishes. Alaba also has to take part of the blame, and Davies’ inexperience has also been highlighted in the performance so far. Great prospect, but still a lot of work needs to be done.
- Diagonal balls have been a huge strength to Bayern’s attack this game, with David Alaba and Javi Martinez both chucking in good overhead balls and flank-switches that are helping the offense out in tight spots. This is something we could work on, moving forward.
- The Leverkusen defense has been nothing short of incredible thus far. Their playing style has resembled Atletico’s, albeit with a higher intensity press. If they keep this up in the second half while Bayern continue to falter, this could be a very long night for Bayern fans.
45+2’ — HT. Bayern 1-2 Leverkusen.
45’ — GNABRY WITH A GREAT CHANCE! Oh, that was really wasteful of Bayern. Bender makes an outstanding tackle, and Perisic is stopped from putting the ball in the empty net.
42’ — ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE! Lewandowski waved offside, but does terribly when finding himself in a 1v1 situation with Hradecky. Bayern floundering. Score stays 1-2.
39’ — Bayern players looking visibly disappointed after conceding so cheaply after levelling things out. Score stands 1-2 to Leverkusen.
35’ — Leon Bailey STRIKES AGAIN! Neuer is left to dry by Javi Martinez, who leaves two men unmarked to exploit acres of space left in the back, and Bailey gladly accepts the pass from Volland and does not make a mistake. 1-2 Leverkusen.
34’ — GOAL! THOMAS MUELLER STRIKES! A good lob in by Goretzka is met with aplomb as Lewandowski drags defenders wide, creating valuable space for Mueller to exploit, which he gladly does with a powerful strike. 1-1!
33’ — One of the better players today has been David Alaba, teasing high balls and crosses all game.
29’ — Bayern throwing bodies forward to try and get that opener, but so far, Tah and Bender have done pretty impressively.
26’ — Leverkusen showing some very fluid football. Bayern dominating possession and moving the ball around, in search of answers.
23’ — ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE! Lewandowski threads a beautiful through ball for Perisic off a Leverkusen throw-in, which Perisic rattles off the crossbar, but is waved offside anyway.
19’ — GREAT CHANCE! Gnabry almost slots home with a beautiful first touch, but Wendell is there to make an incredible clearance that Mueller is unable to hold against. Still 0-1.
16’ — Bayern trying to press with all their life. Perisic and Lewandowski showing some beautiful linkup play so far.
13’ — Leverkusen pressing with newfound intent and energy, creating problems for Bayern. Bayern’s passing looks efficient, but they are unable to generate any useful end product.
10’ — GOAL!!! LEVERKUSEN STRIKES! Leon Bailey takes a good first touch after a great pass sliced in by Volland and slots it past a helpless Neuer. 0-1 Leverkusen!
9’ — Gnabry charges with the ball towards goal after a beautiful threaded ball from Alaba, but misses the goal narrowly.
6’ — Davies makes a great run, and is shoved down by Bender, as Bayern earn a free-kick in a great position, only to be headed over the goal by Javi.
3’ — Great attacking intent shown by both sides, with Martinez making a great interception to prevent further attacking buildup from Leverkusen.
1’ — And the match is underway at the Allianz!
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Ivan Perisic comes in for Kingsley Coman. Thiago Alcantara and Philippe Coutinho drop out of the squad for Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich.
Well the Bundesliga is back and we have a sumptuous game on the cards today. Bayern Munich take on Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena, and Hansi Flick has the tough task of getting all three points while rotating his squad. With league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach facing the high-flying SC Freiburg this weekend, this could be a golden opportunity for the Bavarians to reclaim top spot.
Luckily, Bayern have almost the entire roster at their disposal, save for a few long term absentees. Lucas Hernandez (ankle), Niklas Sule (knee), and Jann-Fiete Arp are the only players confirmed to be injured at the moment, though the coach may decide to bench a few others in the interests of resting them.
Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, and Serge Gnabry all sat out the game against Red Star in midweek, so they will likely be fit and ready to start against Leverkusen. Robert Lewandowski is also back in training after taking a day off, so he should be able to lead the line. With all the talent at his disposal, it’s up to Hansi Flick to keep his incredible run going. Can he do it?
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 6:30 pm local time, 12:30 pm EST
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