Bayern Munich got back into the win column in the Bundesliga with their thumping 5-1 win over FC Köln on the club’s 121st birthday at the Allianz Arena. An unexpected starter at the left-wing position, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the first goal of the match in the 18th minute with a finely timed, far post header to finish off what was a pinpoint cross from Leon Goretzka. Braces from both Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry rounded out the scoring for Bayern, but speaking after the match, both Choupo-Moting and Hansi Flick said there were still things to imporve upon (Tz).
In particular, lost balls from Bayern was one aspect that Choupo-Moting and Flick each made reference to speaking directly after the match. There were certainly phases, especially in the opening stages of the first half where Bayern conceded possession as Köln was pressing high and giving Bayern little to no time on the ball.
“We will analyze the game and present things to the team. I didn’t like one or the other too,” Flick explained.
Of course, it was his substitution decisions in the second half in bringing on Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry for Choupo-Moting and Jamal Musiala in the 64th minute that made all of the difference in the world. Gnabry scored twice and Muller provided an assist for Lewandowski.
Ellyes Skhiri’s goal in the 49th minute came as a result of some sloppy play at the back from Bayern. While the sequence leading up to Skhiri’s clever chip over Manuel Neuer might not have been technically recorded as possession lost, there was some hesitation and miscommunication between David Alaba and Jerome Boateng, allowing Skhiri to get on the ball right on the edge of the box. It was another completely avoidable situation that temporarily made life more stressful for Bayern and Neuer’s reaction after the chip went in illustrated his frustration. This was one of the more costly mistakes from Bayern’s perspective and, like Flick, Choupo-Moting realized that this was invited the pressure from Köln.
“We lost the ball too easily, that takes strength and you make your opponent strong. But in the end it was a good game from us,” Choupo-Moting said.
Bayern could certainly be punished more harshly for their mistakes if they make as many next weekend in Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund, who beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 this match week. With RB Leipzig’s comeback to defeat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2, that also means that Bayern’s provisional five-point gap at the top of the table was reduced back down to two points, making next weekend’s clash with Dortmund all the more important.