FC Köln made life difficult for Bayern Munich with two goals in the span of just two minutes after going 2-0 down inside of the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but Serge Gnabry’s brace guided Julian Nagelsmann to collecting his first Bundesliga win as Bayern Manager. In the 60th and 62nd minute, Anthony Modeste and Mark Uth had undone a two-goal lead provided by goals from Robert Lewandowski (50’) and Gnabry (58’), capitalizing on some lazy defending from Bayern. Thankfully, Gnabry’s 71st minute, rocket of a strike secured the hard fought three points for Nagelsmann and company in front of the 20,000 spectators inside the Allianz Arena.
Speaking after the win, Nagelsmann reflected on what was a match that really didn’t spring to life until the second half (Tz). Steffen Baumgart had his side well disciplined and Bayern found it hard to find avenues through Koln’s deeper blocks, and uncharacteristically, the best chance of the half came from Niklas Sule after the center back pulled of a Zidane, roulette turn and forced a fine save from Timo Horn.
Nagelsmann felt that Bayern didn’t make the best use of the space that was offered to them by Koln, and often didn’t make the right passes quick enough. “The result was good, the game was way too wild. There were huge gaps. Cologne gave us a lot of space, but we didn’t play it off well. We had a lot of switching moments from possession, then we didn’t move up properly and lost the ball, that was fatal. In the end, both teams lacked the grain, it was very intense,” he explained.
Leroy Sane, in particular, gave the ball away a handful of times when Bayern was in advantageous positions in the attacking third. Along with Tanguy Nianzou, he was replaced at the halftime interval, as Jamal Musiala and Josip Stanisic were introduced, to great effect. Musiala made an almost immediate impact and provided the assist for Lewandowski’s goal in the 50th minute after a brilliant sequence of dribbling along the byline. The goal really started to open play up for both sides and Nagelsmann was particularly unhappy with the way his side conceded the second goal, scored by Uth. “That was easy to defend, but we didn’t do that. Musiala just needs to stay in the middle and Davies can defend deeply. It wasn’t a great game, in the end you have to win. The mentality was right,” he stressed. In that particular sequence, it was the outstretched left leg of Alphonso Davies that kept Uth onside.
While the collective performance might not have been anywhere near what Nagelsmann was expecting, Gnabry’s 71st minute strike was well worthy of being a match winner. When it’s a match winner, any way will do, and Nagelsmann lauded the winger’s ability to strike it with both feet. “Serge can shoot well with both feet, he has a great finish. My trainer used to say: ‘The worst that can happen is that he goes in’,” he said.