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Holstein Kiel coach Werner: “we were prepared” to expose Bayern Munich’s high line

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Ole Werner, coach of Kiel SV, acknowledged the obvious: Kiel was counting on Bayern’s high line to make a critical mistake. Bastian Schweinsteiger saw it coming.

Holstein Kiel - Bayern Munich Photo by Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

Call him Captain Obvious, if you like: Holstein Kiel coach Ole Werner confirmed what Bayern Munich fans have known for some time. The game plan to beat the Bavarians is to play the ball long behind Hansi Flick’s high line.

Werner told Bild:

That was a game situation we were prepared for. For these moments in which you play the balls directly behind (the back line) earlier than usual. We had prepared ourselves for them. We had to assume that Bayern would have more possession and gegenpress very aggressively in our half after losing the ball.

Werner and his men were not disappointed. Although several of Kiel’s long balls resulted in offside calls — including a disallowed goal by Jae-Sung Lee — it was precisely such a ball to former Werder Bremen attacker Fin Bartels that gave Kiel the crucial 1-1 equalizer in the 37th minute.

Holstein Kiel v Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup: Second Round Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Club legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, now a commentator for ARD, agrees (Sport1). “You notice from the teams that play against Bayern that they try to take advantage of this high line with direct passes behind the defense,” he said before the game took place. Afterward, Schweinsteiger commented, “You saw it in this game, but also in many more before. I have the impression that the code is slowly being cracked.”

Will Hansi Flick adjust in response?