Bayern Munich have now dropped points in three consecutive Bundesliga matches. Shoutout to VfB Stuttgart for pacing themselves brilliantly to catch Bayern late in the game and deservingly take the point home. The frustration in fans has started to ebb and tonight I’m prepared to take some stick by playing the Devil’s advocate and try to explain why these results off late are not as big of a deal, as they seem on paper. So without further ado, here are the match observations:
Young guns coming up big
In a game in which Bayern had its chances that the seniors were struggling to put away, the duo of the 17-year-old Mathys Tel and 19-year-old Jamal Musiala got their team on the scoreboard.
The composure shown to put cool finishes from the box under tight pressure from the two youngsters was remarkable. Both of them scored with their weaker left foots. Jamal’s shot was especially thrilling on the eye, coming after some silky footwork to sidestep the defender.
Dangerous De Ligt
Yes, we all saw that penalty coming light years away. Mathias de Ligt so far has had a decent start with Bayern. He plays with fire with his tackles but seeing it as a flaw in the player would be rushing to a conclusion.
He is 22-years-old and after transitioning from the Serie A to the Bundesliga, the change in the game’s pace has not gone unnoticed. So, I would not, blame the guy for wanting to throw his body at the opposition regardless of whether he has a good chance of making a clean tackle or not. He is giving away a lot of fouls and sometimes is out of position. I personally don’t think it’s a big deal unless he hasn’t become a defensive rock in the following years at the club.
I see a lot of Sergio Ramos in de Ligt and Ramos played with fire all the time. As Aristotle’s saying goes, “There has never been a genius without a touch of madness.” If De Ligt can reel in his recklessness and fine tune his aggression, he can undoubtedly do great things for and with the club.
Kimmich and Sané
The departure of Robert Lewandowski while definitely leaving a vacuum for the time being has offered several opportunities of various kinds to players that are ready and willing to take them.
Joshua Kimmich has upped his frequency of shots taken. While he is known for scoring clutch goals in big games, this season he is looking to do more. Any slight hint of space and Kimmich sends the ball flying, sometimes even when passing is a better option. It can be as frustrating to watch as it used to be when he first started playing in midfield after a world class showing at right back that culminated in Bayern winning the treble and Kimmich, the UEFA defender of the year in 2020.
Since we know how he “traffic-coned” his way to being one of the best players in midfield, it’s only fair we allow ourselves to be frustrated and let Kimmich continue to push his limits.
Leroy Sané on the other hand has found a lot more room in the middle with Lewandowski absent. Thomas Müller is very happy to drift around and drag a contingent of defenders with him and the middle opens up for Leroy to make plays, runs or attack the flanks. Despite coming on after the hour mark, Sané made two key passes and looked very good, being just short of brilliant.
Both players have the talent to take up the roles they are pursuing and bring a lot to the team and that brings up the next observation.
A patient wait for the potent mix
Three draws in a row just six games into the league may look disastrous to some, but this team has had a lot of refitting done in the transfer window. The squad needs more time on and off the pitch with itself to be able to express themselves freely with the ball. Many attacks and good chances fizzle out due to misunderstandings regarding positioning of the players or runs made in different directions. With so many attackers, a more synchronous roaming needs a lot of practice and time on the training ground.
Even today, around the 30th minute today some of the attack sequences were fantastic. That was completely unexpected considering that Noussair Mazraoui was on his debut and the team has had serious co-ordination issues this season. Even the second half had some very good moments.
This team clearly deserves more time and games to fail. Failure can bring this refit unit closer than victories can, the talent and mentality to turn into a machine exists, it just needs time.
And a special shoutout to Alphonso Davies for an industrious performance. The man was an absolute beast, working extra hard to make some magic on the pitch! Way to go Phonzie!
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