Well...it happened again.
Bayern Munich has been eliminated from the DFB-Pokal...this time by FC Saarbrücken, who forced Thomas Tuchel and his boys to swallow the bitter pill of getting knocked out of the competition by a lower-tier club.
Reality bites, eh?
Let’s get to it, here are some quick hitters on the match:
- As always, let’s start with the starting XI:
- Tuchel switched some things up and Frans Krätzig, Thomas Müller, Bouna Sarr, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Mathys Tel all were inserted into the XI.
- Not going to lie...that seemed a bit risky from the outset — even against a 3. Liga side.
- The match was a bit choppy early on (which has been par for the course this season), but things took a morose turn when Matthijs de Ligt went down with what appeared to be a leg injury of some sort. It did not look good and the Dutchman was forced to leave the game. After the match, it was revealed that De Ligt went down with a “capsule” injury in his knee area. Initial reports indicated that it was an MCL injury. Whatever the case, hopefully it is nothing serious.
- The bad vibes temporarily went away when Müller took a pass from Krätzig and put the Bavarians up 1-0, but...that was as good as the game got for Bayern Munich.
- FC Saarbrücken was not going to go away that easily and was bringing in horrific memories of Holstein Kiel even early in the match. There was just an eerie feeling that this was going to be on of those games where Bayern Munich made a slew of bad decisions and wasted a bunch of opportunities.
- A quartet of Bavarians — Kim Min-jae, Krätzig, Joshua Kimmich, and Konrad Laimer — combined in what could only be best described as a “cluster F” to knot the game at 1-1. Patrick Sontheimer put the ball in the net for FC Saarbrücken.
- Krätzig, Sarr, Leroy Sané, Min-jae, and Alphonso Davies all had terrible first halves. Davies and Min-jae were especially dreadful for the entirety of the match. This might have been Min-jae’s worst game in a Bayern Munich jersey.
- Bayern Munich played with an edge in the second half. Like...a nasty edge — except it was getting them nowhere and I started going delirious, so this popped in my head:
Who’s that in that nasty car? Nasty boys!
Who’s that eatin’ that nasty fruit? Nasty boys!
Who’s jammin’ to my nasty groove? Nasty boys!
Ladies? Nasty boys don’t mean a thing
Oh, you nasty boys
- FC Saarbrücken had the edge early in the second half. For whatever reason, the wheels just fell off of Bayern Munich. And the more chippy it got, the better the home team got — and the more the fans got more into it. It was like something swept over the crowd and made them more powerful. This really did have all the makings for an upset early.
- Honestly, Sané’s decision to shoot in the 59th minute after a great ball from Choupo-Moting was a good example of how not making the extra pass hurt Bayern Munich over the course of the match. The game really did start to have bad vibes and that was a play that needed to result in a goal.
- FC Saarbrücken really ramped up its gamesmanship as well with delays and injuries (as they should...taking Bayern Munich to PKs would have been unprecedented drama).
- When Tuchel substituted in Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, and Jamal Musiala (for Sané, Sarr. and Krätzig), he shifted to a swarming attacking unit...which meant he was desperate and sensing bad things might happen...but also showed a lack of respect for FC Saarbrücken.
- It should be noted that FC Saarbrücken goalkeeper Tim Schreiber was fantastic.
- Gnabry looked very rusty. Musiala seems to not be all that into the game. Coman could not hit the broad side of a barn. It was extremely tense to watch the meltdown happen.
- At one point the broadcast team for the United States noted that Bayern Munich was complacent in the final third and...they were right.
- Then it happened. Bayern Munich broke down and FC Saarbrücken finally took advantage of Bayern Munich’s sloppiness. The biggest upset of the DFB-Pokal season was on and there was nothing that Bayern Munich could do. Tim Cevija slung a pass across the box and — while he likely was not the intended target — Marcel Gaus was there to receive and and score. Coman trailed Gaus by a step...and that is all it takes to get eliminated from a competition.
- Not using Harry Kane appeared to be a MASSIVE mistake — but he has had a minor hamstring issue.
- Overall, this was a long time coming. For weeks, many fans lamented that Bayern Munich’s shoddy play would eventually catch up to it...and then it happened. An upset...on a legendary night in Saarbrücken. FC Saarbrücken was the better, more hungry side...who’d have thunk it?
Chelsea are among five Premier League teams to be interested in signing a Germany international, according to reports. Chelsea are reportedly the Premier League club most interested in signing Bayer Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz. Manchester City are also said to be keeping an eye on the Germany ace who doesn’t turn 21 until next May.
Wirtz has established himself as one of the most exciting young talents in European football in recent seasons. He has flourished under Xabi Alonso after returning from an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury last year.
He first made his debut for Leverkusen at the age of 17 and became the club’s youngest-ever player to play in the league. The attacking midfielder broke the record previously held by ex-Chelsea star Kai Havertz.
Havertz’s departure to Chelsea in 2020 saw Wirtz gain a more prominent role in the Leverkusen side. And it appears Wirtz could now be following the same path as his fellow German. The report says a January switch would be unlikely but the idea of him leaving Leverkusen at the end of this season is realistic. Wirtz has had a fine start to the campaign with four goals and eight assists across 12 appearances in the Bundesliga and Europa League.
Chelsea again spent big in the summer to take their spending under Todd Boehly to over £1billion in just three windows. But the squad overhaul is yet to prove fruitful for Mauricio Pochettino.
Wirtz is undoubtedly going to be a hot commodity on next summer’s transfer market, but — as stated in the piece — a January move seems highly unlikely given Bayer Leverkusen’s spot atop the Bundesliga table.
With Jamal Musiala linked to every club in Europe these days, it will be interesting to see how the club’s rumored interest in Wirtz evolves and just how serious things get between the two parties next summer.
It has been an active week for Bayern Munich...and BFW.
Aside of a big win in the Champions League for Bayern Munich over Galatasaray, we saw BFW crash (at the worst possible time), a slew of transfer rumors, and some iffy coaching decisions that all lead into a Bundesliga match vs. SV Darmstadt.
Clearly, this was a crazy week and we have plenty to talk about, so let’s get to it. Here is what is on tap for this episode:
- A preview of Bayern Munich vs. SV Darmstadt.
- Some thoughts on Bayern Munich’s win over Galatasaray in the Champions League.
- Thomas Tuchel’s handling of Thomas Müller is foretelling the future for the veteran.
- The latest transfer news on Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies.
- BFW’s big crash.
- Why losing sucks (duh!).
Liverpool FC star Mo Salah is rumored to be leaving the club, but it likely will not happen in January:
Liverpool will not sell Mohamed Salah in the January transfer window regardless of how high any offer from the Saudi Pro League may be.
Last summer, Bayern Munich was linked to then-Chelsea FC goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Ultimately, the 29-year-old goalkeeper went to Real Madrid on a loan when Thibaut Courtois tore his ACL.
Now, Madrid would like to keep Arrizabalaga, just not at the price Chelsea is asking:
REAL MADRID are ready to do business with Chelsea over a permanent deal for Kepa Arrizabalaga less than three months into his loan. But the Spanish giants will not pay more than £17.5million for the keeper who cost the Blues a world-record £71.6m five years ago. Kepa, 29, is back home in Spain as season-long cover for another ex-Chelsea stopper - injured Thibaut Courtois. The player makes no secret of his desire to leave for good.
The week saw the attack click together again, with some top-notch link-up between the players, as well as some solid defensive and goalkeeping performances. However, it leaves Bayern in a lurch as Joshua Kimmich has now picked up a three-game suspension, which takes him out of contention for the upcoming game against Borussia Dortmund. Included in this episode:-
- Bayern’s midfield problems in the absence of Joshua Kimmich and potentially Leon Goretzka.
- How the attack has found its feet, particularly the upward trajectory of Harry Kane and how he has begun changing games, as well as Leroy Sané’s continued form as amongst the top players in the world.
- How Thomas Tuchel’s ‘game of two halves’ approach to matches might backfire in more important games.
- Is Tuchel a fraud or the real deal?
- The upcoming DFB-Pokal game against FC Saarbrücken, and why Bayern should not underestimate their upcoming opposition.
- A short look at Bayern’s title rivals — namely Bayer Leverkusen.
- Why Borussia Dortmund might bottle it again.
Bayern Munich star Leroy Sané is having himself quite a season, but this is a pretty awesome stat:
Players to have completed 25+ successful dribbles and made 25+ key passes in Europe's top 5 leagues this season:— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 31, 2023
Leroy Sane pic.twitter.com/3hKHRE1ziK
Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders heaped some praise on former Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.
“We knew what he is capable of,” Lijnders said. “It is the Ryan Gravenberch of Ajax that we see now. I’m not sure what happened at Bayern, you cannot judge that, but each player with confidence and without confidence is a different player. Each player with game time or without game time is a different player. That’s how it is.
“That’s why the Carabao Cup is really important for us as well because we know this and we feel this: a player who doesn’t play doesn’t get confident. You can do whatever you want on the training pitch, but in the end that’s about it.
“Ryan in the final third, as an eight, is the one who slides, the one who still has overview, the one who has a first touch with his left or right to get out of a situation, out of proper pressure. He can keep the ball under high pressure and still find the passing option forward.
“He is a complete, complete eight with scoring and with attitude. It is the eight we searched for and the eight we got. We are thankful to our owners and our scouting and everyone who made it happen. It’s nice he is Dutch as well!”
This may be the craziest Bundesliga game in years. Bayern Munich went down to ten men early in the first half thanks to a Joshua Kimmich red card, but instead of capitalizing on that opportunity, Darmstadt surrender the advantage by getting two red cards themselves.
Here are our talking points from the game:
- Why doesn’t Tuchel rotate the lineup more?
- Harry Kane is in the same situation as Erling Haaland at Man City last year.
- Why Thomas Müller is the man that Bayern Munich needs.
- Thomas Tuchel needs to improve performances — this is still far from good enough.
- The inefficiency of Tuchelball right now.
- Is Joshua Kimmich a liability? What happens in midfield versus Dortmund?
- Leroy Sané deserves to be considered the best player in the world right now — but is he being overplayed?
- Manuel Neuer makes a triumphant return to the starting XI.