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Six observations from Bayern Munich’s 4-0 beatdown of Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker

Bayern Munich wasted no time in dispatching Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Edith Geuppert - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Please note that this post has been written by Munchen910, whose profile is not yet activated in the SBN system. Enjoy!

What happens when Bayern Munich stay switched on for 90 minutes...

Tuchelball (also known as “Ball? We don’t need no stinkin’ ball!”)

Tuchelball (Bayern Munich edition) can be best described as a passive setup, one that allows the opponent the ball. It seeks to protect defensive space with compactness in the middle with the fullbacks pulled in. Chances develop on the turnover that use the pace on the wings and dribbling half turn in the middle of the park to create space behind. This is in lieu of pressing the opponent and winning the ball back quickly in the opposition half.

The entire purpose of this approach is to create spaces behind the opponent while keeping as many of your players defensively as possible. This is a solid sustainable approach, however it requires a No. 6 with exceptional positional discipline and defensive posture. When correctly structured, the No. 6 will trigger the press in the defensive half nullifying the pressure before the opponent gains more ground. The tactics will also allow the team to collectively move higher as the #6 can sweep away threatening situations before they arise.

However as in the case of Dortmund, where space behind is available aplenty, this approach can be tweaked to a more aggressive gegenpressing. All of a sudden Bayern look like a more potent side that is no longer aimlessly passing the ball in a “C shape.”

No goals today came from sustained possession. Dead balls and counter attacking is all this team is able to do without a holding No. 6.

Bye bye 4-2-3-1 Hello 5-2-3

Thomas Tuchel is an incredibly pragmatic coach to make do with what is at hand. In what is a pattern, Coman is now playing as a wing-back in a back five while the middle pivot of two tries to compress space in the center.

Up front the preferred trio of Harry Kane, Leroy Sané, and Jamal Musiala are waiting to pounce on the scraps of turnover service that make it their way. This is great as a counterpunch setup, but there are times when Musiala and Sané need to press in their own half as well and fail to. Even with their incredible forward skills, this team will need everyone to carry their water, otherwise a better opponent will find passing the first line of defense a breeze.

Alphonso Davies reviving the production of “My left foot” in Germany

Alphonso Davies is a world beater if he can take opponents when already in motion. But if he has to beat his man from a static position, it is basically a coin toss. His “hot potato” approach to getting rid of the ball with a square pass invariably puts his team under pressure that is already not postured to absorb that pressure in transition. What exacerbates the move is that he absolutely refuses to protect the ball with his body and pass with his right foot, that would play a much better ball into space.

Additionally his positioning and clearance late in the first half would have resulted in goal conceded against a clinical opponent (insert FC Saarbrücken reference). Nothing is scarier to watch than an Davies square pass.

Of course things look easy (or how I learnt to stop worrying and start loving Dortmund)

When there is no real test, Bayern look fantastic. Der Klassiker, originally a silly marketing gimmick is no longer a test between Germany’s top two teams. As is shown over the last few years, Bayern are happy to press and dismantle teams that are not set up with a low block.

Breaking down teams that will not let you have space because of 10 behind the ball (like FC Saarbrücken) or collective positioning (like Manchester City) is where this team is found wanting. This match was no real test.

9 out of 10 coaches polled recommend retail therapy this winter

Bayern are going to need at least three starting-caliber players to even make it past the quarter finals of the Champions League. While “Swiss Army Knife” Leon Goretzka will do anything one asks of him, you cannot hope to lift a trophy with him as the defensive midfielder, center-back, or right-back. Which means that Bayern will likely need to bolster its roster — and bolster it soon. Everyone can see blood in the water and Bayern will need to buy players within the first week of the window if possible.

Mighty Morphin’ Hurricane Time

If one end of the team is in doldrums the other end keeps ticking like clockwork. There are three things that are certain in life. Death, taxes and a Harry Kane goal.

See all the good that happens when an elite striker is passed the ball? And on top of that he drops and play central midfield, while also covering the near post and winning balls on defensive corners.

Kane holds up play for his teammates, he passes the ball to teammates in a better positions— there are few players that are so exceptional that they can paper over all manner of structural deficiencies.

If Bayern manage to limp along prior to incoming reinforcements, thank Category 5 Harry Kane.

— Munchen910

Looking for more analysis of Bayern Munich’s 4-0 destruction of Borussia Dortmund? Check out our Bavarian Podcast Works — Postgame Show on Spotify or below:

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