Tactical lowlights, Vfl Bochum edition

Well, here we are again with another series of defensive humblings. It's not to be negative; for me, the lapses are far more interesting to break down.

When I saw the score and the low xG for Bochum, I figured there were some worldies. What I didn't expect to see was Bayern at their sloppiest in possession, or for just how bad it looked for the tactics man, Nagelsmann, and the 4-1-4-1. With Davies still out for longer, can Bayern get their ducks in a row?

1st GOAL:

We start with Bayern in build up, trying to play vertical. Without a midfield, I agree: you have to get forward quickly, or failing that, hold onto the ball and play a patient possession game.

Sané uncharacteristically fails to spot an excellent forward run from Gnabry that would have kept the verticality going. Müller then doesn't deuter Hernandez in raum and instead tries to keep a series of quick 1-2s flowing. This loses the ball with perilously little cover behind, and Bochum pounce.

For me, I don't understand the pattern of Gnabry drifting inside from RW. There are already two 10s, what's there to cut into? In this case, only Sane's path. And with Gnabry cutting in, Pavard bombs all the way up on the overlap. Now you not only have no midfield behind Müller, you're down a defender as well. Bochum slice right through the Bayern lines with complete ease.

Back on the defensive end, this is the worst of all the goals conceded. Süle especially doesn't get his angles right, and shows his man inside.

2nd GOAL / Handball:
Müller and especially Kimmich get seriously worked over, as Bochum's tactical plan to overload the flank shines.

The back four are all looking good here: Pavard is stepping to the LB, forcing him to work the ball back. The other three are bracketing two players in central forward positions.

But Bochum flood two of their CMs into the attacking left flank. Rexbehcaj starts this play by laying it to the LB and then Kimmich and Müller totally lose interest in him, even as he points to where he's gonna go right in front of Kimmich. Both of these CMs are free and that's a huge problem.

The handball itself? Pretty unlucky, I'd say.

3rd GOAL:

This starts with an inexplicable giveaway from Upamecano as he tries to build from the back. Süle does not do this. Upa needs to develop a lot more confidence and conviction in his distribution. A moment's hesitation and he winds up pocket picked, lucky not to concede immediately.

Then the throw-in: stunning to pull off! Bochum effectively target three Bayern attackers trying to play defense: Coman, Sané, and Müller. Coman stands and watches the ball go back to the thrower he was covering, gets nutmegged, and gives up on the ball. Sané watches this happen without seeming to realize the threat caused by the nutmeg. Müller is about a half-second too late in deciding to step to.

Still, a goal? From there??? Take a bow.

4th GOAL:

Now we have Bayern on tilt, replaying the first goal, almost.

The upsetting thing is how close Bayern look to carving Bochum wide open here, once again.

I think it must be stressed to the Bayern attackers: either move the ball vertically, or take a breath and find a slow, safe circulation. Gnabry flubs his pass and then it's suddenly stupidly easy for Bochum to progress through the nonexistent levels of the Bayern midfield.

Now, at the back, the mistake comes from Kimmich in my view. Upamecano has to slide over and commit to the winger, which means Kimmich has to see how that goes, and then swoop in to pick up the pieces. But he commits at the same time, overruns the play, and the winger takes out both Bayern defenders in one move.

Still, a goal? From there???? Goodness gracious.

Where does Bayern go from here?

Well, Nageslmann seems to really favor this single pivot for his midfield, but I think it has to be compensated, especially when you have two 10s and no true partner for Kimmich. I would like to have seen Bayern build 3-2-5, with Pavard tucking in next to Kimmich in midfield. This could keep things stable in transition. Bad things always seem to happen when Pavard bombs forward.

In the game, Nagelsmann switched back to his aggressive 3-4-2-1 at the half, with Coman and Gnabry as wingbacks. Against better teams that could be a dangerous proposition on the wings.

The third option I have to wonder why it hasn't been used yet: a 4-2-3-1 with Sabitzer or even Tolisso sliding into Goretzka's role, and one of Sané, Coman, and Gnabry coming off the bench. It's not as if Bayern hasn't in recent memory played Hernandez and Pavard as their fullbacks. Can Nagelsmann come around, though, or would it not fit into his general principles?

There are stiffer tests than Bochum to come, even on a day where they played their hearts out. Here's hoping Nags gets it all sorted in time.

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