Bayern Munich snatched a point back from Salzburg after a frustrating tussle between the German and Austrian champions. Julian Nagelsmann has plenty of work to do and so do his men if they are to proceed any further in Champions League. Lucas Hernandez continues to be this underperforming defense's saving grace. Aside from a spectacular goal line save from Benjamin Pavard, the defense needs some serious reworking and not to forget some signings. Without further ado, here are the observations:
The unavailability of Leon Goretzka and Alphonso Davies is hurting Bayern more than it should. With the back three in place, the Bavarians are sorely missing the athleticism of Davies and Goretzka.
The back three would greatly benefit from Davies’ blistering pace, in fact Davies’ pace adding an extra layer of protection is the only way this setup can be defensively sustainable.
Goretzka on the other hand would have had a field day against Salzburg. Given how tightly the Bayern players were marked during crosses and cutbacks, Goretzka’s late runs would have given Bayern the cutting edge needed to slice the Salzburg defence apart. The duo cannot return any sooner.
Muller squeezed for space
The current system employed by Naglesmann clearly has no space for Thomas Muller to shine in. With three attackers in Gnabry, Coman and Sane behind Robert Lewandowski, the Raumdeuter has run out of room. All three wingers being keen to cut in when an opportunity presents itself didn’t help matters for the standing captain.
Despite not being a typical No.10, Muller occupies a similar space on the pitch and is highly influential in stitching together plays for Bayern’s attacks. However, with an additional player in attack, Muller was starved for room to get ahead and make the pre-assist and assist passes he is notorious for. The equalizer too, came off of a brilliant header by Muller to set Coman up. If you observe Muller’s position during that assist, you’ll notice its in his zone. Choupo coming on for Gnabry allowed Muller to get ahead and be the X factor in that tight space.
Kimmich being the other playmaker sitting two tiers behind Muller had little to offer due to the way the squad is setup. JN needs to find a way to move his playmakers slightly higher and cover for them to switch things up on the attacking front if he wishes to continue with this formation. Perhaps instructing his wingers to stick to the byline more often than cutting in would be a good place to start. This allows all three wingers to be on the pitch while also giving Muller more room.
The home side were thoroughly impressive against the six time champions. Very tight in defense and the superb marking of Bayern’s pacey wingers saw most of Bayern’s attacks fizzle out. Their midfield diamond of Aaronson, Capaldo, Camara and Seiwald caused Bayern a lot of trouble both in preventing build up as well as retaining possession.
Salzburg’s disciplined marking and rapid counter attacks almost saw Bayern end their record unbeaten away streak in the Champions League. They had a total of 16 interceptions and compounded Bayern’s existing woes. Their holding midfielder Mohamed Camara and their young goalkeeper Phillip Kohn were the pick of the bunch.
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