A scoreline which didn’t tell the full story
Red Bull Salzburg didn’t deserve to lose by four goals. Bayern Munich deserved to win the game but after Masaya Okugawa’s equalizer, the game could have easily gone in Salzburg’s favor. Jerome Boateng’s 79th-minute header, which resulted in Bayern taking the lead, killed all the energy in the resilient Salzburg defense and offered the Bayern forwards oceans of space in an already open game.
Jesse Marsch’s Salzburg played brave and attack-minded. A tactical set-up very similar to Hansi Flick’s Bayern, Salzburg pressed constantly while having a highly positioned back-four. The similarities of playing style resulted in the first half offering a fast-paced end-to-end game and an almost non-existent midfield battle.
Understandably, both teams could not keep up with the extremely high tempo from the first half. I was very surprised that even though Bayern was one goal up, Salzburg kept on going toe-to-toe with Bayern and their efforts resulted in a deserved equalizer in the 66th minute.
Poor defensive display from Bayern
Salzburg took advantage of Bayern missing Leon Goretzka and his box-to-box qualities. Throughout the game, they found space between Bayern’s midfield and defense, resulting in continuously creating dangerous opportunities.
After surpassing either Joshua Kimmich or Corentin Tolisso, Salzburg was often one pass away from getting a one-on-one chance against Manuel Neuer. Both Bayern full-backs had a poor game, especially Benjamin Pavard, as they allowed the mobile and versatile Salzburg front four to continuously find space behind them.
Winning despite not being impressive
This is the third game in a row that Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich has won a game without truly showcasing a dominant performance. With the crazy 2020/21 schedule and the fact that Bayern ended the 2019/20 season with their best performances since 2013, the small drop of quality is to be expected.
If you are an individual who views the glass as half full, like me, winning despite not being dominant can be viewed as a positive thing. It is early in the season and it is not the time to peak in performance. Also, getting nine out of nine points despite putting in three rather average performances is an art in itself and only a showcase of this Bayern team’s incredible winning mentality.
However, one could argue that the warning signs are there. To repeat last season’s feat is always going to be an incredibly hard task and a loss to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday could mean that this Bayern side will struggle to re-achieve it.