Bayern Munich did not play poorly last week against Borussia Mönchengladbach but let that game slip away. Today, they left almost nothing to chance against Köln in a 0-4 victory. Here are the observations:
Too short, too long, too wide, too narrow ... too toothless
Having watched a fair number of Köln games this season, I can tell you that their attack has been decent. However, Mark Uth getting caught offside has been a regular phenomenon this season and it happened again today. Florian Kainz, normally so accurate with his crossing, only really got going late on. Anthony Modeste, good with his head, squandered the few chances he got. Salih Ozcan was left far too alone at times.
I don’t know if a pairing of Sebastian Andersson and Mark Uth up front would have been more sensible rather than the more static Modeste - Uth pairing; regardless, Köln played far below their levels today and that is partially down to their error-strewn and nervy game.
Julian Nagelsmann’s surprising choice and the payoffs
Nagelsmann elected to retain Marcel Sabitzer at left-back which I thought was a gamble and a surprise. The more natural choice might have been the actual left-back, Omar Richards. Sabitzer had a better outing than last time, seemed more tenacious and willing to do the task and at the bare minimum, did what he had to do. While other options were available for right-back as Tanguy Nianzou was back in the squad, Nagelsmann opted to keep Joshua Kimmich there. This meant the defensive midfield pairing was Marc Roca-Corentin Tolisso; the pairing proved really effective today and the game flowed because of the effectiveness of the double pivot.
Nagelsmann also opted to keep Benjamin Pavard as a center-back, his natural position and the role he seems best suited to judging by another good performance.
Niklas Süle, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller things
Süle has not yet inked pen to paper but Bayern should do absolutely everything in their power to keep him. Today was another quietly solid display and Süle has shown again and again that regardless of the opponent in front of him, he will produce.
On that note, Süle’s older colleagues, Lewandowski and Müller have contracts which are winding down. While Bayern rarely extends contracts of players the wrong side of 30 more than a year, they should make exceptions in both these players’ cases. Consistency from two players and an almost telepathic connection between the same two are hard to find; contrary to many who believe differently, I do not think the duo will slow down too much come 2025 and should get longer extensions.
By the way, we happen to have a podcast on all things Bayern Munich. Check out our review of last night’s game below or at this link.
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