The fallout from Bayern Munich’s devastating loss to Holstein Kiel in the DFB-Pokal had fans and pundits irate, players frustrated, and the coaching staff looking for answers.
Tactically, there are some adjustments that manager Hansi Flick could make and there are also some improvements that could also be made with his squad selection. Ultimately, though, the players have to stay healthy (!?), execute the game plan, and play to their own respective ability.
Clearly, this season, Bayern Munich has not done those things consistently.
You could make a very strong argument that only a few players have actually lived up to the hype around them. In fact, it’s probably just a handful of players who has been consistently good:
- Robert Lewandowski
- Thomas Muller
- Kingsley Coman
- Manuel Neuer
- Joshua Kimmich
- Leon Goretzka
Sure, Jamal Musiala has made an unexpected impact, but he does not have a major role on the squad just yet, so it would be tough to include him with those players at this point.
Everyone else, however, has not been consistent enough to really be considered “good” this season.
Serge Gnabry has been in a slump, Leroy Sane has had trouble adjusting to life at Bayern Munich, and the entire “core” defensive unit of Niklas Sule, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Benjamin Pavard, Alphonso Davies, and Lucas Hernandez has either battled injuries, inconsistency, or both. Hernandez has been the best of the lot, but he’s been limited and not quite at the level as those players I called out above.
Corentin Tolisso is another player who is scuffling to find himself on the pitch and Javi Martinez has barely been used as well.
The entire “bench mob” of newcomers that arrived during the last transfer window (Bouna Sarr, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, Marc Roca, Douglas Costa, Alexander Nubel, Tiago Dantas, Tanguy Nianzou) either haven’t been used enough to make an impact (Roca, Choupo-Moting, Nubel, Dantas, Nianzou) or haven’t quite done well when called upon (Sarr, Costa).
Nianzou has been mostly injured and American Chris Richards just has not gotten enough playing time to really even be evaluated with the first-team.
This is not doom-and-gloom, however. The best is yet to come for this group.
Think about it: the squad has had quite an amazing run for a tired roster dealing with multiple slumping players. Flick will own the process of “righting the ship” and he will have to find the best path forward to navigate an exhausted roster with a tight schedule...but the players need to do their part and perform consistently as well.
We all hoped that the Bavarians would not need a wake-up call to regain their “greatness”, but the match against Holstein Kiel was just that. I’d expect to see a different look and feel from the squad moving forward.
There is nowhere to go but “up” from this point forward, right?
Scream is back and I’m game
The vague news that there would be a new Scream movie added to the saga piqued my interest — and I am definitely going to watch it around this time next year when it is scheduled to be released.
It is unclear, however, if this version of Scream will be a continuation of the first four movies or if it will be a reboot. Personally, I’m hoping it’s an extension as I still have a soft spot for the franchise.
Regardless, the news made me think back to Scream’s original release in December of 1996. A few weeks after it was released, I hit the theatre on date with a girl I met on New Year’s Eve (that’s right, total stud over here). What I distinctly remember about that experience were a few things:
- That was a good date — though the relationship flamed out roughly five months later. I could write a short analysis on how two people could connect so well in some ways, but so poorly in others.
- The movie was a rollicking ball of fun from start-to-finish. From the creative writing to the inside jokes about the horror genre to the really engaging performances from Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Liev Schreiber, and Robert L. Jackson (the voice of Ghostface!) among others...it was fantastic.
- I had an absolute blast in the theatre. It was a fun crowd who got into the spirit of the movie.
- To this day, Lillard’s “Stu” is one of my favorite characters ever to appear in a horror flick.
Anyway, I know the sequels didn’t hit the mark in the eyes of some folks (I enjoyed them — probably because I went in knowing that there was virtually no way to capture the magic of the first film), but I thought they were worthy follow-ups to the original.
I’ve got high hopes for this new Scream film. I’m thirsty for entertainment and a throwback that reminds me of my college days is always welcome.
Here are a few other random factoids and notes related to Scream:
- Schreiber, of course, has went on to become a major star appearing in everything from HBO’s Hard Knocks (where his narration is just freaking fantastic) to Ray Donovan to even doing a turn as Marvel villain Sabretooth (which he was great in). One of Schreiber’s best roles was in the little-known movie “Goon”, which stars Sean William Scott (yup, Stifler from American Pie) as a hockey goon and Schreiber as his ultimate nemesis. Let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed it and consider it a very underrated hockey flick. Hell, if there are any Bronies reading BFW, Schreiber was “The Storm King” in the My Little Pony movie. Anyway, if you enjoy Schreiber’s work, check out the wild backstory to his life as well.
- Another quick Schreiber note is that his half-brother, Pablo, played the role of Nick Sobotka in The Wire, where he was a central character in season two — which is my favorite of the five seasons. I mean...seasons one through four are all classics, but I totally enjoyed seeing how the front end of the process worked for getting the drugs on to the streets of Baltimore (one of my favorite U.S. cities).
- Okay, back to Scream. W. Earl Brown, who famously played Dan Dority in Deadwood, was part of the original Scream cast as “Kenny.” Deadwood is another show I loved.
Bayern Munich’s slide of late is concerning, but the mistakes have been relatively easy to pinpoint even for armchair managers and pundits alike. A few of the primary issues have been well-documented:
- Loss of focus and sometimes sloppy play as the Bavarians try to utilize a high-line.
- A lack of commitment — on a team basis — to pressing effectively and tracking back.
Bayern Munich’s fluidity and sharpness offensively has not exactly been world-class either. Whether it is the integration of Sane or the slumping Gnabry, something has not been right with the Bayern Munich’s offense. Lewandowski, Muller, and Coman have all been very good, but the rest of the forward and attacking midfield group has been up-and-down.
The lack of consistency in the central midfield due to injuries to Kimmich and Goretzka has probably forced Flick to tinker around with players like Tolisso and Musiala a little more than he would like at this stage.
And despite all of that, Bayern Munich has been very, very good this season — but does face a stiff test in SC Freiburg. Breisgau-Brasilianer has been scorching hot with straight wins in the Bundesliga, with the squad’s only recent loss being a 2-1 decision to VfB Stuttgart back on December 23rd. With Christian Streich at the helm, this could go sideways for the Bavarians pretty quickly.
Still, Bayern Munich’s mettle has been tested and it is moments like these that champions show what they are made of. Can the Bavarians show the strength that put them atop the world or will this be another step-back into crisis mode?
The feeling here is that Flick’s boys rebound in a big way.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 SC Freiburg
Other Bundesliga predictions are as follows:
- Union Berlin 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen
- Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Mainz 05
- FC Köln 1-2 Hertha Berlin
- Hoffenheim 3-2 Arminia Bielefeld
- Werder Bremen 2-1 FC Augsburg
- Wolfsburg 1-2 RB Leipzig
- VfB Stuttgart 0-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 Schalke 04
Now on to our guest prognosticator, Schnitzel01:
Schnitzel01: I expect Bayern to be riled up after getting knocked out of the Pokal. This will be a statement game, and Freiburg will be he unfortunate victims. That being said, expect Bayern to concede multiple times... that attack of Sallai, Santamaria, Grifo and Demirovic up front can terrorize the best of defenses, so yes, it will be tough. But on the bright side, Coman is back, Lewa and Muller will be determined and Sane seems to slowly be finding his footing. I’m predicting a torrid night for the Freiburg defense.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-2 SC Freiburg
I am on an unprecedented run of, well, being horrid. Make it stop...
Last Bundesliga match day record: 1-8
Overall record: 71-71*
Guest predictors’ record: 18-4
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)