1. A changed line-up
I’ll start with an observation that was made even before the game. Niko Kovac decided not to start with Thomas Müller, Corentin Tolisso and Serge Gnabry. Instead of those players who started against Schalke 04 last week, Kovac gave the two new signings Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho a chance, as well as Thiago.
The luxury of not having to play players such as Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Corentin Tolisso, and Javi Martinez and still win comfortably is great. More importantly, it bodes well for the future. Kovac knows he can change up the line-up during weeks when Bayern plays two games. Before Leroy Sane got injured, I highly stressed that Bayern needed depth. The signings of Perisic, Cuisance, and Coutinho gives them that.
Jupp Heynckes often successfully tweaked the line-up back when he was the coach from 2011 to 2013. There were not many players who barely played in the large squad and those who didn’t was relatively happy about it. Hopefully, Niko Kovac realizes that a rotating squad is beneficial in the long-term.
2. Joshua Kimmich, Bayern’s future number 6?
For the second game in a row, Joshua Kimmich played at the position he prefers. Today, he started the game like the rest of the Bayern team, uninspired and sloppy. But as Bayern improved so did Kimmich and I thought he was one of the better players on the pitch. Whether or not one believes Kimmich should be employed in the defensive midfield, two things are certain:
For one, Kimmich has the potential to become a really good number 6. He’s comfortable with the ball and has a good general vision for the play. He combines this with his incredible winning mentality and defensive intellect.
Secondly, Bayern has a very good right-back in Benjamin Pavard. Originally a center-back, Pavard is a great option on the right as he proved in the 2018 World Cup. He scored a nice goal today, which was almost a throw-back to that goal against Argentina, and was overall a stable factor in the back-four. His crossing does need work and Kimmich also needs to keep improving at the number 6 position. Despite this, it is fair to say both of them are fully capable of playing in a different position this season.
3. It is a gradual process
Bayern has played better games. The first 25 minutes today was simply not good at all. Bayern looked lazy, sloppy and struggled to break-down Mainz after their surprising goal. Today’s result is also a lot thanks to Mainz not being the greatest of sides. They got a defensive present from Bayern for their early lead. After that, Mainz tried to sit-back, which Bayern managed to break down before the first half ended. Mainz had to open up in the second half, which led Bayern to score four more goals.
It is early in the season and things are not looking perfect right now, but it has been a positive start overall. Coutinho looked a bit lackluster today, which is understandable, as it will have to take time for him to get used to the new style of Kovac and his teammates. Same goes for all the new players and the whole team as a whole. Bayern did change up a lot this summer. It is common for teams who have had a big change-up in terms of players to struggle at the beginning of the season and to find their way. Bayern has seven points from three games. Sure, the team does need to improve against better teams but, it has been a fully acceptable start to the season.
Bayern has many players who can improve greatly this season. Lucas Hernandez has been fantastic in his first two games from start. At 23 years old, Hernandez is one of many Bayern players who are, as of right now, a good player who can very possibly turn into a superb player. Other players in this category are Niklas Süle, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman. Even Alphonso Davies looked fresh today. He could get more playing time this season and further develop his talents.
The future looks bright.
For the comments: How many goals do you think Lewandowski can score this Bundesliga season?