Bayern Munich losing a match of football by more than a three goal item is, without a doubt, a collector’s item, but even the best teams in the world have their off days. Such was the case in North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday night when Bayern fell 5-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round of the DFB-Pokal, their second exit from the competition in that stage in as many seasons. Gladbach has always proven to be a bit of a bogey team for the reigning Bundesliga champions, but nothing can excuse away the abysmal performance Bayern put forth coming off of two consecutive wins against SL Benfica and TSG Hoffenheim, respectively.
Prior to the 5-0 loss, there weren’t many superlatives left to describe just how well Bayern had been playing in their recent run of form, but everything good does eventually come to an end. A loss would not have been the worst thing in the world, but the nature of the Gladbach defeat made it all the more difficult to swallow. Bayern legend turned pundit Bastian Schweinsteiger was shocked by what he saw unfold.
“That was a pitch-black day for FC Bayern. A collective blackout,” Schweinsteiger said of Wednesday’s result (Abendzeitung). It wasn’t Bayern’s heaviest ever defeat, but it certainly ranks with some of the worst, most of which came in the 1970s. The tone for the match was set when Kouadio Koné fired Die Fohlen in front in the second minute of play after a sequence of poor closing down and defense from Bayern’s perspective. Thomas Muller, Lucas Hernandez, and Dayot Upamecano all lost 50/50 duels in quick succession and Koné was allowed to drift into the box unmarked, eventually getting on the end of Breel Embolo’s pass back to him. Bayern never really showed any genuine signs of digging themselves out of an early hole and Gladbach smelt blood. Ramy Bensebaini’s brace before the halftime whistle had gone sent a dejected Bayern back into the dressing room and little to no signs of life were shown in the second half of proceedings.
“Gladbach played a world-class game,” Schweinsteiger said in describing Bayern’s tone on the pitch from the offset. Still, even despite the shocking defeat, the former Bayern and Germany midfielder still thinks his former club is well poised. “You have to tick that off now, but Bayern Munich are in good shape,” he added.