Bayern Munich’s defense was in shambles in the 4-2 loss to VfL Bochum; there’s no two ways about it. As good as Julian Nagelsmann’s side have looked going forward, having already tallied 70 goals in the Bundesliga, questions about the defense have been consistently looming just beneath the surface. With losses like the one to Bochum and to Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal, there’s a reminder that Bayern is far from the finishes product from a defensive standpoint despite investing heavily in both Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano in recent transfer windows.
In a recent sponsorship appearance for betting outlet Sportwetten, Lothar Matthäus was rather critical in his assessment of both Upamecano and Hernandez. For what Bayern paid for the two defenders from RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid, respectively, he feels their output should be much greater. In his opinion, their “price-performance ratio” is off and he said “everyone can see that both of them don’t make the best impression” (Abendzeitung).
Matthäus is particularly worried about Upamecano and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be settling at Bayern at all. In his assessment, the French defender looks timid and nervous, lacking any sort of confidence. “Upamecano seems to be shaky. He seems like a foreign body, but he’s been here for seven or eight months. How much time should you give him? He’s not doing enough,” the former Bayern and Germany midfielder questioned. For a player that’s already got so much experience working together with Nagelsmann from their time together at Leipzig, it is concerning how unsettled Upamecano looks in Bayern’s defense on the main. He’s shown bright flashes of what he’s capable of, but seems to always be prone to making costly mistakes at the back.
For Hernandez’s case, Matthäus said the French international commits “a lot of fouls” and feels he is too slow in 50/50 duels. “He was the most expensive Bayern player, so more is required. Bayern’s big goal is to win the Champions League. The defense has to be clear about that increase,” he continued in his assessment of Hernandez and Bayern’s defense overall.
Bayern has a strong track record of responding the losses with a streak of wins, and this season has been no different. After the embarrassing loss to ‘Gladbach in the Pokal, Bayern responded with three wins on the bounce before slipping up in the league against Augsburg and they had done the same after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Hinrunde. For RB Salzburg in the Champions League round of 16 (first leg), Matthäus expects a similar kind of pronounced response from Bayern. “I feel sorry for Salzburg. Bayern don’t lose twice in a row. I’d be surprised if Bayern didn’t win,” he said.