It took a second half comeback from Bayern Munich led by Robert Lewandowski’s brace to take full points over SpVgg Greuther Fürth and get back into the win column after going two matches without one across all competitions.
Fürth looked as if they might’ve been on for pulling off a shock result when they went ahead in the 42nd minute from a rather fortuitous deflection from Marcel Sabitzer from Branimir Hrgota’s free kick. Julian Nagelsmann made tactical changes to start the second half in bringing on Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for Omar Richards after Corentin Tolisso had already been replaced by Serge Gnabry due to injury in the first half.
Speaking after the match, Nagelsmann explained his rationale for making the tactical switches after starting with a 4-2-3-1 formation from the offset. “In the first half we played 4-2-3-1 so that the boys could get a good rhythm, in a system that they were used to in the last two or three years. We didn’t bring the power and the dynamism into the game. Then in the second half we changed and they were very, very good for the first 20 minutes. That’s when we can close the bag earlier. In the end, we deserved to win by that amount,” he explained (Tz).
In the first half, Bayern looked far too pedestrian and boasted the lion’s share of possession without any real penetration aside from a few half chances. Tolisso’s injury forced Nagelsmann to bring on Gnabry, which did make a noticeable difference as he had a lot of freedom working down the right channel, especially in the second half. Throwing on an extra attacker in Choupo-Moting saw Bayern revert to a back three system and not long into the second half, Niklas Sule replaced Lucas Hernandez, which provided some level of stability at the back and an extra threat from set pieces.
Nagelsmann also touched on Leroy Sane’s positioning in either half. He said that Sane had a tendency to shift centrally despite him wanting the winger to stay on the left flank, which he did a better job of in the second half. “Leroy prefers to play centrally. We wanted to play the wing wide. In the second half, that worked out better,” he said.
Sabitzer hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory at Bayern since joining from RB Leipzig over the summer, but there’s been a call to see more of him during Bayern’s stutter spell over going two matches without a win. He started and played 86 minutes before being subbed off against Fürth and Nagelsmann was quite pleased with what he saw from the Austrian international. “Sabi deserved to play today. He did fine, especially in the second half. He defended Fürth’s long balls in a smart way and put pressure in our half. He had a good game and was aggressive. He’s improving in training and I’m absolutely satisfied with him,” Nagelsmann explained, as transcribed by @iMiaSanMia on Twitter.
Bayern still has Bundesliga matches against Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen in between now and the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 vs. RB Salzburg. While the second half comeback against Fürth was reassuring and uplifting, Nagelsmann doesn’t want to say it would be enough to get past Salzburg. “I don’t know if it’s enough because I don’t know how Salzburg will play. We’re trying to play to our best at the moment. The game is on March 8. Until then we’ll show better performances. We’re confident,” he said.