After a first half that was epitomized by the grim resistance of Nürnberg’s 4-4-2, the second half of the Bavarian derby proved to be one for the history books. The last minutes were a heart-testing drama for even the most experienced fans. Here are BFW’s three match observations from the exciting 1-1 draw.
A crazy Bavarian derby
What an incredible turn of events this game showed football-lovers today. It must feel strange for Nürnberg fans, to play such a determined game and win a point from the best team in Germany, yet still leave the Max-Morlock-Stadion with a feeling of what could have been. Results-wise, a point for Nurnberg will not significantly shift their position in the league, since they are still five points from a playoff spot with only three games to go.
For Bayern, considering that Dortmund lost yesterday and that Tim Leibold missed a 91st-minute penalty, a point is not the worst result. It means, however, that Bayern can afford to win “only” seven points in the next three games, assuming that Dortmund wins all of their remaining games. However, if someone had claimed before the game that Bayern would get only a point against Nurnberg, most Bayern fans would have been disappointed.
A game that should have ended one way, a game that was crucial for both teams and a last-minute penalty-miss followed by a one-on-one last-minute chance miss. This game was a reminder that football is a wonderfully weird sport where anything can happen.
A strange lineup and strange substitutions
Niko Kovac might have saved Bayern a lot of trouble by starting Serge Gnabry instead of placing Thomas Müller out wide on the right wing, where he played ineffectively. The decision not to start Gnabry is strange: Gnabry has been, in my opinion, one of the positive surprises this year. He is second in the goal-scoring table at Bayern after Lewandowski and has shown maturity and progression in his style of play. Introducing him at halftime seemed to acknowledge that it was a mistake not to start him to begin with.
Also, questions must be asked as to why Kovac substituted Müller as early as he did. Yes, Muller had a poor 45 minutes, but considering that his link-up play with Lewandowski this year has been great, it is strange that he was subbed off so early, even if that was to bring Gnabry on in the same position. Should Kovac have left Leon Goretzka stay on in the central midfield instead of Müller?
A poor overall game
Bayern was extremely poor today. For a team with so much experience and so many players who are used to this very situation, Bayern looked uncomfortable and anxious throughout the game.
Bayern’s offense constantly failed to create chances, and their only goal was extremely lucky. Robert Lewandowski may have had one of his worst Bayern performances today. The Polish international failed to be a nuisance in the box or create chances and overall was invisible for all ninety minutes. Müller and Coman were both poor, and Gnabry had a good amount of luck with him on his equalizer.
Ulreich looked shaky, Alaba and Kimmich failed to contribute offensively, and it was an overall bad performance from die Rekordmeister. Could it be complacency after yesterday’s result? Did the nervousness get the better of the players after a poor first half? In my opinion, this played a part, but at the end of the day it came down to what many Bayern fans have been saying this whole season: the team, at times, is just simply not good enough.
That said, the title race is still in Bayern’s hands. Three wins and Bayern are champions; however, the performance needs to improve. MIA SAN MIA!