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Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich-Bayer Leverkusen; Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben, and Franck Ribery return to training; and MORE!

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Well, the fun faded on that game after halftime.

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Die Folgen: Bayern’s disappointing 3-1 drubbing at the hands of Leverkusen (Bavarian Football Works)

Bayern Munich got trounced in a tale of two halves by Bayer Leverkusen. Below are some quick hitters on the match:

  • It’s fair to question a couple of things from Niko Kovac yesterday. Parimarily, the decision to move Joshua Kimmich to midfield instead of asking James Rodriguez to sit deeper or even using Renato Sanches or Javi Martinez in a defensive midfield role could be examined. It’s not that Rafinha was bad or anything, it’s just that it seemed the additional positional movement was unnecessary.
  • How one VAR review could take away a goal from Robert Lewandowski and then subsequently award another to Julian Brandt was a bit puzzling as well. Both calls were extremely close, but it did seem inconsistent as I don’t believe either player was off. That said, VAR wasn’t the reason Bayern lost.
  • A couple of lapses took care of that. Kingsley Coman’s takedown of Kevin Volland was unnecessary and frankly not smart given the location and timing of the foul. Leon Bailey made sure to take full advantage of that Bayern mishap. From there, it really just became a case of Leverkusen taking advantage of what it was given. After a disciplined showing in the first half, Bayern went full Jon Snow in Battle of the Bastards and abandoned eveyrthing that had been working.
  • Leon Goretzka continued his torrid offensive play and had the only goal for Bayern. He appears to have the the true Mia San Mia attitude ingrained in him.
  • It was yet another solid effort by Thomas Muller, though I do think Lewandowski misses his him at the 10. Once Thiago Alcantara returns to game play, it would appear that a Thiago (6), Goretzka (8), and Muller (10) central lineup is the one that should be the used for all key games.
  • In addition to Thiago, I think Bayern missed Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in this game as well. The guile and ability to create offense would have been welcome, not to mention how each of the veterans has been able to finish from the wing this season.
  • That was as strong as Leverkusen has looked all year. Peter Bosz might have unlocked the inner-aggression that had been missing from the lineup all season. Die Werkself’s attack has looked far more formidable the past two weeks than at any other time this season.

If you missed our Match Awards or Observations, give them a look.

Thiago, Ribery, and Robben return to action (FCBayern.com)

Per a report from Bayern’s official site, Thiago joined “Robbery” on the practice pitch today, despite some frosty conditions. Manuel Neuer also returned, but was limited to drills for field players given his hand injury.

Good news from Säbener Straße: On Sunday, Thiago, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry participated in squad training again. Manuel Neuer also took part in the outfield players’ drills. All four pros were missing from the squad for the Leverkusen match the day before, but are now back on the pitch. Due to heavy snowfall in Munich it was difficult to recognize them, but all Bayern fans will just be delighted that the quartet are close to resuming duty.

We’ve got a tease for you (Bavarian Football Works)

Starting tomorrow at 9AM EST, we’ll have a three-part series on the background and the career journey of a Bayern player that includes unique insight from the player, his family, and a former coach. You won’t want to miss it!

Joachim Low is 59 (@DFB_Team_EN)

2018 might have aged him like six or seven years, though.