Good start, lackluster finish
Bayern Munich started well. Like all games under Hansi Flick, we saw the high press and fast tempo. Bayern managed to score three quick goals, and it looked like Mainz could concede five or more. However, Mainz regained their spirit, and they started to close on Bayern surprisingly well. Just prior to Thiago Alcantara’s beautiful solo goal, Mainz struck the post. After the third goal, it all went downhill. Bayern attacked for the remainder of the half but were just flat. Mainz had their chances and eventually scored in the last moments of the first half.
During the second half, we witnessed a worse Bayern and a better Mainz. Bayern wasted their chances too easily, while Mainz was unlucky not to score. Although Bayern’s defenders managed to get a grasp of Mainz’s attackers, Mainz effectively used well an underwhelming day from Alphonso Davies to generate their opportunities.
Good use of crosses
What can be noticed in Bayern’s attacking game-plan recently is that they are more effectively using their crosses. No longer are they just crossing the ball in the box when they run out of options.
Under Niko Kovač there was a high volume of “useless” crosses, but now almost every cross from Bayern is dangerous. Maybe this doesn’t have to do with anything that Hansi Flick instructed his players, and it has more to do with Ivan Perišić and Thomas Muller playing on the wings. Both players aren’t relying on pace that much and are using their technique rather than speed or dribbling. We saw a decent game from both of them today.
I like it: more buildup, fewer wasted crosses.
Hansi Flick’s individual improvements
Hansi Flick is so far doing great at Bayern so far. What I like about him is that he manages to bring out the best out of his players. When you look at Müller’s stats under Flick, it’s clear that he has managed to rejuvenate the Raumdeuter. Even though he has played on the wing for the last three matches, that has not prevented Muller from scoring three goals and getting one assist.
Also, a good example is Jerome Boateng who is starting to play well again in this season’s Rückrunde. He was solid tonight and had few good interceptions. Maybe the most prominent one was when he intercepted a cross in mid-air and passed the ball to Manuel Neuer.
We see that Benjamin Pavard, Thiago, Leon Goretzka are all improved in the Rückrunde and all of them are putting great numbers for the Bavarians. But time will only tell us that the product of the manager, or just an accidental form boost.
- Should Bayern fans be worried?
Currently not. Even though the team underperformed, they still managed to win comfortably. You get to win, and you get a valuable lesson out of it. Bayern continues to have a problem with the collective mentality. Today, they relaxed too quickly after they scored first two goals and couldn’t find their spirit again, which led to the team being too wasteful.
- Philippe Coutinho looks off
After he came in for Bayern, Coutinho didn’t do very much, except seemingly annoy his teammates. He tried a shot from distance when he clearly should have passed the ball, wasting a good opportunity in Mainz’s box, and he chose (like almost always) to dribble when a pass or shot was the better option. It seems that Bayern has given up on buying him, and he immediately stopped performing well. Contrast his performances with Ivan Perišić, who is continuously putting some great performances, even though it is also possible that he will not stay at the Allianz Arena.