Bayern Munich arguably got the result that their overall play deserved in a 1-1 draw away at Union Berlin. Without further ado, here are the observations:
Thomas Müller’s absence defined the first sixty minutes
Thomas Müller has been tying Bayern Munich’s pacey and gifted attackers together for over a decade. After he came on, not too much changed. However, not having him from the start meant that Bayern Munich became a team of pacey attackers without a connector. The small connecting passes needed in the final third were missing and Bayern paid the price.
Union very cleverly (or not so cleverly) isolated the fastest players on either side (Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman) and limited Bayern’s chances. They did very well to cut out Bayern’s flow by intercepting passes in the final third. Thomas Müller is the kind of player who can spot a pass in those situations. Not having him from the start was a headscratcher — he needs rest for sure; head coach Julian Nagelsmann might just have chosen to rest him in the wrong game.
Bayern needs to be more aware defensively
Bayern’s best players today were mostly in defense. I thought both Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt put in good shifts defensively. Yet, falling asleep one or two times is more than enough to drop points. First, Union’s Sheraldo Becker should not have been allowed to sneak in the way he did for Union’s goal. Without Jordan Pefok today, Bayern’s job was made easier and yet, they couldn’t prevent a Becker goal.
These types of errors happen occasionally and that’s understandable; however, Dayot Upamecano getting beaten in a 1-on-1 against Jamie Leweling in the second half should not have happened. On another day, that results in a goal, especially when that player is Marcus Thuram.
The defense has been better overall. A little more awareness is needed.
Some more flexibility is required
In a team filled with flexibility, it is odd to ask for more. However, against teams like Union, Bayern could indeed do with more tactical flexibility. I thought this was a perfect game to try and throw on Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Matthijs de Ligt up front for the last ten minutes to see what happens.
Against Gladbach, Bayern did not get three points because Yann Sommer produced a historic goalkeeping performance. Today, Bayern did not win because they did not create enough chances of note.
The referee not handing out yellow cards and allowing Union to produce many small but noticeable fouls was a factor, too. But many teams will do that and, in fact, Inter just might try it in the upcoming Champions League fixture midweek after watching what went down today. Bayern need a solution.
Overall, the good feelings of the beginning of the season remain; problems are starting to show and Julian Nagelsmann needs to work these issues out.
Interested in more analysis of the game? Why not check out our postgame podcast? Listen to it below or at this link.
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