Make no mistake, Bayern Munich’s 5-0 battering at the hands of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal was a swift, hard kick in the junk.
For the front office, for the coaches, for the players, and for the fans, there is no more apt description on how Bayern Munich’s performance feels.
The front office was stunned and could not explain how this could happen.
The coaches were powerless to inspire anything out of a cooked roster.
The players looked tired, slow, and even apathetic at times.
The fans, well, the fans experienced a range of emotions. Let’s dig into those:
- The Doomsdayers: While the loss was a temporary sting, the Doomsday cult thinks that this was a harbinger of things to come and that this squad is destined to flame out.
- The Ragers: If they could commission R.E.M. to do a song called “Everybody Sucks” instead of “Everybody Hurts”, they’d have commissioned it via Go Fund Me.
- The Downplayers: “It’s only one game, everything is fine.” While I agree with this for the most part, there are reasons to be concerned based on what we saw in that match.
- The Optimists: This crowd, well, they get drowned out in the only fury. And while they’ve got a good point (this Bayern Munich team is actually great and will recover), they are not going to have their voices heard right now. Why? Have you read about those other categories above? One note for these folks — you can still support a club and criticize them. It’s okay (we promise).
Surely, there are sub-groups under each of those categories, but for the most part, it seems like most Bayern Munich fans fall into one of those buckets after Wednesday’s Pokal mess.
Make no mistake, though, the game was a mess. Robert Lewandowski even hit Instagram to address it:
The truth of the matter is that Bayern Munich is far better than it showed against Gladbach, but will have to take a close at a few things moving forward:
- A better rotation: Julian Nagelsmann has leaned on Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, and Robert Lewandowski far too much. Kimmich, while displaying his normal fire, just has not been completely sharp or at top-speed in many games this season, while Müller and Lewandowski are currently running themselves into the ground. How Marcel Sabitzer and Jamal Musiala are sitting as much as they have been is puzzling. When you have impactful bench players, they need to be used...frequently.
- A reality check at center-back: Dayot Upamecano is a good player, but he has positional flaws in his game and often gets bullied by strong center forwards. This isn’t an overreaction, it is a trend. With Niklas Süle heading toward free agency, the club is going to have to assess if it can compete with two, relatively smallish central defenders in Upamecano and Hernandez moving forward.
- A better squad planning strategy: In a financial market that is slowing creeping back to some semblance of normalcy, Bayern Munich cannot afford to potentially lose players like Süle and Corentin Tolisso for free. We don’t need to rehash the silly acquisitions of Marc Roca, Bouna Sarr, and Michael Cuisance, but less headaches and more capable players would be a good way to help give a coach confidence in his reserves.
The season is a marathon and not sprint — that much we know. How Bayern Munich recovers from this defeat will be visible on Saturday. Common sense says the Bavarians will get back to their winning ways. If not, boy, are the Doomsdayers and Ragers going to have field day.