Bayern Munich usually is known for having a one disastrous game per season. This season however, that norm is set aside this season as Bayern went down to Vfl Bochum in a thundering 4-2 defeat. The game was suspicious from the start, with coach Julian Nagelsmann experimenting with an EA FIFA lineup having only one conventional midfielder and 5 attackers. Full credit to Bochum for completing taking advantage and punishing Nagelsmann and his men for their cheeky lineup. Here are the post game reactions(via @imiasanmia)
Joshua Kimmich usually thrives with a destroyer by his side. Nagelsmann’s lineup had no other midfielder to speak of, let alone a destroyer. Thomas Muller has manned the midfield before. However, Muller had to co-ordinate a 5 pronged attack squad; and he is suited for the 8-10 hybrid role rather than the required 6-8 midfielder today. As a consequence, Kimmich was sorely out of place against an energetic Bochum side.
“We put in our worst performance of the season over the whole game today. We lacked everything you need to win a game. If something like this happens once a season, then it can happen - but it already happened against Gladbach, so we need to be careful” said Kimmich.
The midfielder however downplayed the impact of tactics and attributed the loss more to the “attitude” of the squad. “With such an attitude, such a body language, this has nothing to do with tactics or a game plan. We have to question ourselves and ask ourselves whether that’s the mentality of FC Bayern. It’s happening too often now - I didn’t see anything like this at FC Bayern before”. I partially agree with Kimmich as there were several instances where our defense was caught snoozing or outplayed but it is a stretch to say that tactics were a non-factor in this defeat.
The coach himself however sees this as a plan that didn’t work. ”Congratulations to Bochum, they deserved their win today. We played a very bad first half. We had a plan, and the plan didn’t work well, so I’m not going to criticize the team. I had to react and make changes earlier. Second half was better, but it was too late” said Nagelsmann.
The scoreline and the manner of the loss is hurting, however, the perspective of a bad plan coupled with a great day in the office for the Bochum team is best way to look at this game. Nagelsmann is a coach who likes to experiment, push things and leave his mark on his teams. Bayern with its deeply ingrained reliance on the double-pivot system has been very challenging for many coaches to move away from it. Nagelsmann is no different. It will be interesting to see if any signings are made in the summer to aide Nagelsmann’s plans better — specifically wingbacks.
Alphonso Davies happens to be the only player who has shown to be fully adaptable as a wingback so far. But the Canadian is unavailable for the meanwhile due to a myocarditis scare and the coach had an update regarding this matter, saying that the 21 year-old “is on his way to recovery.”, is showing good signs and that there will be another check in 2 weeks.