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Four observations from Bayern Munich’s friendly defeat vs. Manchester City

Thunderclaps and stormclouds.

Bayern Munich v Manchester City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Welcome to the Midwest, Manchester City & Bayern Munich

It wouldn’t be a soccer game in at Lambeau Field (boo) without some July thunderstorms. As a lifelong native of the Midwest I did sort of chuckle when I saw the date of the game, given the notoriety of such storms during what is one of the wettest seasons of the year.

I mean, they have had weeks of extreme weather forecasts and could have done anything to push up the start time but, as the old adage goes, “if you play with fire, you might get burned.”

Although the game was supposed to have started at 6pm CT, it took until 7:25pm CT to get past the twelfth minute as sporadic thunder warning sent players and fans for cover.

Bayern dominates early, but Manchester City take the lead

Bayern was the better team in the first 12 minutes until the delay, and even though the scoreline says 1-0 for Manchester City, it should be 1-1 with a beautiful buildup and goal with Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller, but the officials wrongly called them offsides. Immediately before the second lightning delay, Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish combined for Haaland’s first goal as a Manchester City player.

Bayern’s best portion of the game took place prior to the lightning delay. Once the shortened match continued, Bayern seemed to be a clear step behind Manchester City. Why ultimately remains to be seen.

Officiating problems

Well, not to completely trash on the United States’ No. 2 professional soccer league, but if this is the best the USL can offer for officials, then yikes. Like, I’m sorry. This should be at a minimum an MLS referee. This was more or less incompetent and embarrassing for the biggest European matchup in the United States this year. Five bookings in a friendly is also not a great sign, either. This was a horribly officiated match with fouls being called when they should not have, and fouls being ignored when they should’ve been called. Not to mention Bayern was robbed out of the lead by a clearly incorrect offside decision. Next time elite European teams come to the United States, do better.

Nagelsmann has some work to do

Look, I will openly preface this with the fact that I firmly believe Julian Nagelsmann has what it takes to be an elite coach in Europe. If you ask anyone in the BFW Slack channel (Howdy Teddy and INNN) they’ll tell you I’m probably the largest Nagelsmann apologist in the chat.

That being said, he needs some work. First and foremost, he needs to decide his preferred starting XI and stick with it. He also needs to figure out ASAP what the formation is going to be. I know he very much likes a back-3 (as do I) but he needs to pick it and stick with it. With Bayern having so many new additions, especially ones expected to be large players this season, Nagelsmann needs to figure out the best combination. Bayern saw themselves thoroughly dominated by Manchester City (albeit in a random and pointless friendly).

Bayern saw a lot of positives out of tonight, especially from Kingsley Coman, Marcel Sabitzer and Dayot Upamecano. But we also saw some concerns, such as Joshua Kimmich’s recurring inability to regain his pre-COVID form and massive problems in attack post-Lewandowski. How Nagelsmann will approach this is to be determined, but early indications show that the new additions of Sadio Mané and Matthijs de Ligt will play a major role in that.

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