Initial reactions and observations
- It’s full time and Bayern Munich did NOT recover from that own goal in the first half. Under Flick this team looked like it could make a comeback against anyone. Now, they look like a single goal can make everything come undone.
- Robert Lewandowski had horrendous luck with headers today, but honestly the number of chances falling to him never seems to go up. This is a hallmark of the Nagelsmann era no matter which system has been used, and it’s going to cost the team dearly.
- Thomas Muller had a pretty bad game today, but subbing him off didn’t make anything better. Rule #2, never sub Muller, remains in play.
- Omar Richards being subbed made no sense. He played so well too.
- Jamal Musiala had a rough game today in his pseudo AM/B2B role. He definitely wasn’t playing the Thiago role, but that’s probably a discussion for another time.
Full time: Bayern Munich 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen.
73’ — Sub: Choupo-Moting on for Serge Gnabry.
60’ — Double sub: Sabitzer and Sane on for Muller and Richards.
45’ — The second half is underway now.
Halftime observations and analysis
- Bayern Munich were in complete control for 35 minutes. What the hell happened? The own goal was unfortunate but then the team just fell apart completely. Not a good look for the team’s mentality.
- This formation is the most 4-2-3-1-like 4-2-3-1 we’ve seen in a long time from Nagelsmann. Overall, the gameplay has been good — but the mistakes just reached critical mass in the last 10 minutes of the 1st half.
- This is a good time for Nagelsmann to go all out in the halftime team talk. If Bayern play like that in the second half, it’s going to be a massacre for Leverkusen.
Halftime: Bayern 1-1 Leverkusen.
36’ — Goal. Damn! Bayern were doing so well, but a free kick from them is turned in by Thomas Muller.
18’ — GOAL! Niklas Sule makes it 1-0 from a corner! What a strike!
Kickoff: We’re underway in Munich!
One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Looks like Nagelsmann didn’t want to roll with a yolo formation today, and gave Omar Richards a start. Leroy Sane also sits this one out, while Thomas Muller captains Bayern Munich in Neuer’s absence.
Unsere für #FCBB04! ⚪#packmas #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/EeognqOCSC— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) March 5, 2022
Without Lucas Hernandez, Bayern Munich have only three fit center-backs. For Julian Nagelsmann though, that seems to be enough, as most predictions suggest that almost every other position on the pitch will be occupied by either a winger or a striker.
Doing that against a bottom-end Bundesliga team would be risky. Doing it against Bayer Leverkusen is almost suicidal. Even with Patrick Schick sidelined this weekend, Leverkusen have one of the most threatening attacks in the Bundesliga. Only Bayern Munich and BVB have scored more goals than the Werkself this season, and with Florian Wirtz and Moussa Diaby, they have some stars who can give the Bavarians some trouble.
Of course, if it’s star power you’re after, no one in Germany can compete with Bayern Munich. Thomas Muller is back in action and set to start up top alongside Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane, and the rest. Meanwhile Jamal Musiala will get a chance to show what he’s got in midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich, as a proof-of-concept for Bayern’s plan to find a home-grown Thiago replacement. That’s a lot of pressure on the youngster, but you can’t play at this club without pressure.
It’s Bayern time.
While you’re waiting for the game, why not check out our preview podcast? Listen to it below or at this link.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST
TV/streaming: ESPN+, Find Your Country
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