Sometimes, it’s just not your day
Expected goal numbers aren’t out yet, but Bayern Munich had like 14 or 15 players missing from the squad and still gave Gladbach a pretty good fight. Yes, the result could’ve been better — Nagelsmann probably wanted the win. The goals conceded were the result of some howlers in defense, and BMG themselves didn’t do anything exceptional.
That being said, it’s hard to analyze the game and come up with any broad criticisms of the team or the setup, simply because of the circumstances and how close the scoreline ended up being. Instead, we should probably just focus on a few details.
Some of the highlight performances from the game include:
- Robert Lewandowski, who scored and hit the woodwork twice.
- Thomas Muller, who got an assist and managed SIX key passes from open play.
- Jamal Musiala, who had 5 tackles and 4 interceptions on the defensive end.
- Benjamin Pavard, who made numerous last-ditch tackles to keep Gladbach from scoring.
- Paul Wanner, who came on and had a good performance in the few minutes he got on the pitch.
As for the lowlights, we have:
- Marcel Sabitzer, who was forced to play out of position at left-back and definitely didn’t cover himself in glory.
- Niklas Sule, whose lax defending cost Bayern in Gladbach’s opener.
- And one more player, who probably deserves a section of his own ...
Serge Gnabry leaves us all wanting more
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Serge Gnabry might never become a consistent performer for Bayern Munich. He’s an exceptional talent and can destroy any opponent when he’s switched on, but performances are just so hot and cold.
Today, we saw how bad Gnabry can be when things aren’t going his way. Nothing went right for him — he couldn’t find his teammates with his passes, he was easily dispossessed, and his shots were not even close to the target. Gnabry showed why he isn’t a reliable match-winner like Lewandowski or Muller — he just doesn’t have the consistency to match players of that caliber. Until he can iron out these peaks and valleys in his performances, he might never become a player that Bayern Munich can rely upon.
Alphonso Davies is kinda important
It might seem obvious, but playing without a proper left-back really shows how important that position is to Bayern Munich. There was a Davies-shaped hole on the pitch against Gladbach, which Marcel Sabitzer couldn’t fill no matter how hard he tried.
Time after time, the center backs passed forward into the left-back’s zone hoping for some ball progression, only to get stonewalled because Davies wasn’t there to do his thing. Time after time, a loose ball was passed instinctively across the pitch, only to go harmlessly out of play because there was no left-back there to pick up the pass.
Bayern eventually adjusted to playing without a left-back deep in the second half, but by that point it was too late to do anything. Progressing the ball without Davies genuinely looked like a chore, and it made it easy for Gladbach to pack numbers in the box and dispossess Bayern via the counterpress.
In a way, you can put a little bit of the blame on Nagelsmann, because he sent Sabitzer to the LB position without adjusting the game plan to make do without a force like Davies. With Kimmich at right-back, he should’ve flipped the script and switched to having the right-back in the pseudo-winger role and keeping Sabitzer in a more conservative position. Without those adjustments, the whole team suffered.
The good thing is, as long as Davies comes back from his illness without any issues, this shouldn’t become a long term problem. But it is a testament to the young Canadian’s quality that Bayern’s gameplan starts to fall apart without him.
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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