Well, that was certainly unexpected. Bayern Munich dropped a heartbreaking DFB-Pokal showdown with second division giant killers Holstein Kiel. Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- I want to start out with the last sequence of the match. I would never place blame on one player for a loss, so don’t look for a Marc Roca bash-fest. Roca missed a PK. That’s life. Great players (sometimes) miss them, bad players (sometimes) make them, it is just how it goes in football. Again, while I won’t fault him for not converting the attempt, I did find it very curious that he appeared so early in the rotation. In a season where he has barely played, Roca was not the ideal selection. Personally, I had zero confidence in the selection, only because this clearly has not been Roca’s season and sometimes the football gods have a funny way of piling on (you know, like when Real Madrid was winning multiple Champions League titles). I understand that the coaching staff meticulously practices and plans for these moments, so I am assuming Hansi Flick had his rationale for rolling with Roca.
- Manuel Neuer is still the great goalkeeper on Earth, but Holstein Kiel had him guessing at everything during the penalty kicks.
- Holstein Kiel’s first goal was the product of an excellent pass from Jannik Dehm, a dynamic run and deft finish from Finn Bartels, and some extremely poor defending from Niklas Süle and Bouna Sarr.
- Not to be outdone, Lucas Hernandez and Alphonso Davies were equally awful in defending Hauke Wahl’s game-tying header in extra time.
- Sane’s goal was beautiful. His overall game, though, was still not great. I keep waiting for him to bust out of whatever growing pains he’s had at Bayern Munich, but we aren’t there just yet.
- Bayern Munich needs Thomas Müller scoring more...plain and simple. Müller brought what he always brings — energy, intensity, creativity — was a constant threat, but he’s got to convert more of his chances and look for his own shot even more than he does. After Robert Lewandowski, Müller is the next best scoring option on the team.
- Is it possible that Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman are far more important to Bayern Munich than people want to give either player credit for? It seems like it. On a day where Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane both scored, it seems odd to say, but Coman was sorely missed. In addition, Goretzka and Kimmich have a relationship in the middle that cannot be replicated. Not by Corentin Tolisso or Roca or whoever else Flick wants to send out there.
- When Bayern Munich had opportunities to push its pace at Holstein Kiel early in the game, they were often too passive and settled for possession rather than take chances to breakthrough. In fact, this was sort of a theme that we saw numerous times throughout the contest. I want to see the Bavarians play as fearless as they did last season. That urgency and desire to crush an opponent has not been there in a while.
- Davies saves himself from some bad decisions and mistakes with his ungodly speed. He’s had more than a few gaffes this season, though, and has not been consistent — but, can you imagine when he is able to sure up those parts of his game? It will be scary, but he has a way to go to fully reach his ceiling.
- Gnabry was offside on his goal. He is also not a long-term solution as a striker by any means for Bayern Munich. Let’s hope his goal gets him back moving in the right direction and he can provide Flick with a nice weapon from the wing position.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Tolisso is a fine player and a great talent, but something just is not clicking for him these days where we can see his full talent. I think he needs to move on to get his career back on track.
- Bayern Munich’s precision, accuracy, and attention to detail just is not fully there right now. They look talented, but fatigued.
- The bottom line — and I’d argue this with just about anyone — is that Bayern Munich is suffering from collective fatigue. The treble-winning run took a lot out of the squad. The relentless 2020/2021 campaign is zapping them even more and there is nothing that Flick — or anyone else — can do about it. If there was any positive to be taken from the loss, perhaps it’s that Bayern Munich will have a few less games to worry about over the course of this season.
Borussia Dortmund will not be selling Erling Haaland to Real Madrid this summer:
In some “not so good” news for the Bundesliga, RB Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has reportedly turned down a contract extension from Die Roten Bullen. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are reportedly interested in the 26-year-old star:
Marcel Sabitzer has turned down a contract extension with RB Leipzig, according to Sky (via Fussballtransfers). The Austrian international has reportedly set his sights on leaving the club on a free transfer in 2022 when his contract expires.
Leipzig will probably do all they can to prevent this scenario and could potentially cash in on their captain in the summer to avoid losing him for free. The 26-year-old has been touted for a move to the Premier League, with the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal said to be interested in acquiring his services.
Mesut Özil’s long-running standoff with Arsenal could finally be ending. Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth was a guest on Sky’s “The Transfer Show” and gave an update.
“It does look like there is light at the end of the tunnel as far as Mesut Özil’s move away from Arsenal is concerned,” Sheth said. “It looks like a deal is doable. Özil said yesterday in his Twitter Q&A that if he were to move to Turkey, then Fenerbahce would be the only club he would go to. So, we know Özil likes Fenerbahce and Fenerbahce like Özil and their president said it remains a dream to sign Özil. So, everything is in place to get the deal done. And you get the impression there is a willingness from all parties to get a deal done, although there is still the issue of who pays his wages for the remaining six months of his Arsenal contract.”
Inquired about by a lot of clubs all around Europe, from Ajax to Wolverhampton, from PSG to Bayern Munich, Danish international midfielder Christian Eriksen (turning 29 on February 14), deemed on his way out a couple months long by now, might end up staying put instead, and keep on playing for Inter Milan at least until current season’s over. To this end, Neroazzurri boss Antonio Conte is trying to clear him up and restart his ongoing course by lining him up as a central playmaker, instead of as an inside midfielder, in his 3-5-2 system.
I know I promised no more Christian Eriksen rumors, but this was too rich not to share.
Thomas Tuchel and Ralph Hasenhuttl are allegedly on Chelsea’s shortlist to hire if the club fires Frank Lampard: