VfL Bochum shocked the Bundesliga on Saturday with their 4-2 win over Bayern Munich, handing the Rekordmeister their third league defeat of the season. For the third time in as many matches, Julian Nagelsmann made the decision to field obert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman togethrer in the starting eleven in what was an attack-heavy lineup.
Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, Niklas Sule, and Benjamin Pavard comprised the back four and hardly covered themselves in glory with Joshua Kimmich acting as the lone central midfielder before Corentin Tolisso replaced Upamecano to start the second half. By then, the damage had already been done since Bochum had scored four goals in the first half.
Oliver Kahn was in attendance at the Ruhrstadion to befuddlingly witness what unfolded and was disappointed in the mentality Bayern showed, especially in the first half. “The players know that a first half like in Bochum is not acceptable. Because we simply fell far short of our potential,” Bayern’s CEO said after the match (Bild). Joshua Kimmich had expressed his disappoint in his side’s mentality for what he referred to as Bayern’s “worst performance of the season thus far.”
“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,” Kimmich said.
Kahn shared Kimmich’s sentiment in his overall assessment, saying that losses like the one in Bochum always raise questions regarding the team’s mentality, and more specifically, he said that Bayern needs to be more defensively solid. “If you lose big, the topic of mentality is always brought up relatively quickly. Not only in this season, but also in previous seasons, we lack a lot defensively in the backward movement and also in the work against the ball. We concede too many goals,” he stressed.
Bochum was consistently dangerous on their counter attacks, leaving Bayern in vulnerable situations, and Kahn felt that they didn’t do enough to remain defensively disciplined off the ball. He also felt like Bochum was given way too much time on the ball when they were in possession, which is something that cannot be allowed to happen for a club of Bayern’s standards. “That’s something we have to start with: that we have to work with more discipline and passion against the ball again. Otherwise, mistakes will be punished immediately and mercilessly – and even more internationally,” he said.
For now, all of the focus will shift to RB Salzburg for the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. The match comes just four short days after Bayern’s mishap in Bochum, which Kahn feels is a big positive with getting the chance to get back in the win column so quickly. Bayern almost always has responded to a loss with a convincing win, both this season and in recent season’s past. “Sometimes it’s a good thing that you can play again a few days later to forget a result like that. After the 0:5 against Gladbach we immediately showed the right reaction and immediately won the next game relatively clearly. And I assume that will be the case now,” he emphasized.