Football is a simple game. You can decorate it with all the glamour from superstars or oil money you want, but at the end of the day, it is just 11 individuals against another 11 individuals.
Bayern Munich got reminded of that today. Here are BFW’s observations from today’s game against Augsburg, the newly crowned kings in Bavaria.
The team who wanted it more
It doesn’t happen often that Bayern Munich look powerless or down-right sleepy on the pitch. Until the remaining ten minutes, Bayern didn’t create many chances nor had any dominating sequences.
Instead, the team from the southeast of Augsburg lacked creativeness, dominating possession without utilizing it. Leon Goretzka and Marcel Sabitzer did not manage to control the midfield, Robert Lewandowski felt at times isolated, while Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Thomas Müller were involved a lot without actually doing anything noteworthy.
In contrast, Markus Weinzierl’s Augsburg won most 50-50 challenges while overall playing more intensely and with purpose. Set up in a classic 4-4-2, Augsburg’s team consists of an interesting collective of football players. André Hahn, a player from the North who has rejuvenated his career in his second spell for the team from the South, was excellent upfront. Scoring his goal nicely, Hahn’s greatest skill is his constant hustle for his team, always making sacrificial runs while not afraid of doing necessary dirty work. Scoring his first Bundesliga goal ever, Danish Mads Pedersen had a night he will never forget, this win against Bayern most likely being one of his career highlights.
But best on the pitch was 30-year-old Dutch center-back Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, being the focal point to an extremely well-drilled Augsburg back-four.
Both Marcel Sabitzer and Omar Richards got a rare place in the starting eleven tonight, with both failing to make the case that their presence should become a frequent episode.
While I’ve never understood the signing of Omar Richards, he wasn’t necessarily horrible, but he was not impressive neither. I might be too harsh, but he is not Bayern material.
Sabitzer’s performance is more disappointing. His form at Bayern has left me a bit bewildered. How come one of the best Bundesliga midfielders in the last few seasons have started so mediocre at the best Bundesliga club? Sure, going to a new club is always difficult, but the Sabitzer signing seemed like a certain success as he was reunited with Julian Nagelsmann.
The quality is there, that’s for sure. I hope, and believe, that Bayern will see that from the Austrian soon.
Hot and cold – the Nagelsmann era
I’m still wary about Julian Nagelsmann being a good fit for Die Roten. His side can completely dismantle an in-form Bayer Leverkusen in one game, only to lose 5-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach the next. It feels unstable.
Should Bayern fans be worried? Not necessarily. Should Nagelsmann be questioned? No, I think he’s done a good job so far. But I still feel uneasy. There’s something fragile with this Bayern side, something I can’t put my finger on nor describe coherently.
Augsburg has not been good this year. Despite putting in a heroic effort today, I believe they will be in the relegation battle this season.
I didn’t expect anything but a win for Bayern today. Sure, at the end of the day, football is just 11 individuals against another 11 individuals. Anything can happen. But the loss today did not dislodge my unstable feeling…
FYI, we happen to have a podcast on all things Bayern Munich, and as usual we did a postgame review show on this game. Why not give it a try?
Thanks for listening!