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Five observations from Bayern Munich’s frustrating 1-1 draw with FC Köln

Give me Jiroball or I retire.

FC Bayern München v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Bayern Munich played out a 1-1 draw with FC Köln in which the Bavarians ate an early goal courtesy of Ellyes Skhiri before playing a sloppy game. The game eventually became a less sloppy but wasteful, and Bayern managed to rescue a point through the individual brilliance of Joshua Kimmich. This night was an unmitigated disaster for Julian Nagelsmann’s team.

Passing up possession

Bayern Munich were unbelievably sloppy in possession this game. Early on, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt and Alphonso Davies were misplacing passes to each other with unwavering regularity, a worrying sign. It was even worse than you would expect from a team at the start of the season. This sloppiness percolated into the higher dimensions of the pitch too, with Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sané all misplacing passes in the final third. A tragic display in keeping possession. Furthermore, the attackers seemed insistent on cutting and dribbling when in shooting positions. I felt like pulling my hair out watching Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Gnabry moving the ball at their feet instead of pelting it at goal.

To Paris or not to Paris

FC Bayern München v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Serge Gnabry’s visit to Paris over the weekend was well-publicized, even drawing comment from manager Nagelsmann. It now seems Nagelsmann will have to stick to his word and take action, as the German was simply not good enough. Gnabry’s positioning and first touch were way off, squandering multiple goal-scoring opportunities set up for him by Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sané. He must be better.

On the other hand, Kingsley Coman, who was substituted in for him, was much better. Shifting to the right wing, Coman showed his brilliance in isolated one-versus-one situations and his ability to cross a ball.

The German 10 dilemma

Jamal Musiala had a poor first half. Playing through the middle, the 19-year-old German just could not get anything done, being played off the pitch and failing to make an impact. He often dribbled into crowded areas and was dispossessed of the ball or errant in his pass. Thomas Müller would play the same role later in the match and fulfill it much better, using his positioning to benefit his teammates rather than trying to take on players himself. It shows how different playstyles suit the team better against certain opponents. Musiala is still a great player, as he showed after shifting to the left wing, where he found joy linking up with Ryan Gravenberch and Alphonso Davies.

The two captains problem (1/2)

FC Bayern München v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Joshua Kimmich is a man divided.

The now captain of Bayern Munich has been ever-present. I genuinely cannot tell you one game he has played in the last five years within which he has not been one of if not the most active Bayern player on the pitch. However today, he was uncharacteristically quiet. Kimmich was just not present in defense, barely ever shielding the backline, and was not present enough in build-up to aid the centre backs who were being harassed by the two-striker pressing system. It was a poor game by his standards, although he did soften the blow with that world class shot from thirty yards out.

The two captains problem (2/2)

Kimmich and Leon Goretzka form the globally recognisable double pivot of Bayern Munich, a signature of the current team made up of two of its veterans, but it has issues. Today, Goretzka had a very good game. He was probably the best Bayern player in the first half, taking an active role in Bayern’s play in the final third, but this time he did not ghost in the midfield and helped out in defense somewhat. However, he just was not present enough in the absence of Kimmich’s passing range due to Köln’s defensive structure.

However, Ryan Gravenberch was the perfect solution to this. Gravenberch dropped deep to collect, brought the ball forward with his signature imperiousness and had a serious impact on the game from deep, operating mostly in the left half-space where he linked up with Musiala and Davies. If only that shot was an inch or two more accurate, it could have come off the other side of the post! I think Gravenberch is better for the team’s current shape and Nagelsmann should look to start him in the upcoming game against Eintracht Frankfurt.

What did you think about the match? Did Bayern deserve to win? How can Nagelsmann better prepare the squad for the games ahead? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to hear more about the game? Why not check out our post-game podcast? Chuck’s not worried (yet) but talks us through lineups, Thomas Müller, cohesion, and more. Listen below or directly on Spotify:

As always, we appreciate all your support!

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