Bayern Munich did not have to lose today despite being down to 10-men. However, the problems that showed up against PSG cost Bayern today.
The red card was the right decision
It was a soft decision; I do not disagree there. However, if you are the last man and you foul your opponent or even touch him in the slightest, you are going to be sent off per the letter of the law. That is why Kylian Mbappe’s goal was chalked off for an offside by a hair in the build-up, when Bayern played PSG in the Champions League, by VAR — offside is offside even it is by a toe as long as you can score a goal with that body part.
Dayot Upamecano did the best he could 1-1 against Alassane Plea. I personally think Yann Sommer should have come out faster but not everybody does the sweeper keeper job as well as the legendary Manuel Neuer, not even a keeper as qualified as Yann Sommer.
Make no mistake about this — the offense is a problem that isn’t solving itself
Bayern has scored a ton of goals this season but, against PSG, time and again, the decision making was poor. When the Bundesliga came back in 2023, Bayern struggled mightily to break down teams such as RB Leipzig and Köln. The incorrect decision making in the final third continued today and even when Gladbach left holes at the back, Bayern did little to take advantage. With Joe Scally out, the team was weaker for it at the back. Ramy Bensebaini can be got at; however, the offense’s inability to make the correct decisions and just clueless nature lately means that Bayern scored two when there was room for more.
The defending wasn’t much better either
I watch Gladbach a lot. That means I watched them scratch their heads against Schalke and fail to break down a backline that has conceded 41 goals this season. I also watched them get absolutely torn apart by Hertha Berlin last week. I am willing to bet 10-man Bayern can defend better than 11-man Schalke, even when they have to deal with Marcus Thuram and/or Alassane Plea. I will leave it there. All of this brings me back to the next point.
Julian Nagelsmann’s substitutions may have handed this game to Gladbach
Yes, I know, I will not hear the end of this from the man who mastered a one-goal win over the most toothless PSG side I have seen in a long time. But let’s take a look at them one by one:
- Joao Cancelo for Thomas Müller: There was no need for a substitution that early. Nagelsmann could have waited a few minutes to see how things would have played out. Adding a defender whose main quality lies in attacking was not needed here. I saw Matthijs de Ligt warming up; I thought he would come on for Daley Blind as we know Blind might be a liability due to his speed. Also, there was the option of having Joshua Kimmich drop into the back-line and play Müller as an eight with Goretzka as a six. This was the biggest headscratcher for me.
- Jamal Musiala for Ryan Gravenberch: You need a goal but you’re also down a man. I would wait to make this change especially because this change was made in tandem with another attacking change in Leroy Sané for Serge Gnabry, which was the right call.
- Mathys Tel for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting & Matthijs de Ligt for Leon Goretzka: I think the Tel call was good but the Goretzka call wasn’t. Again, Blind might have been the right call there.
- Overall — the difference De Ligt made with his on-point tackles was visible once he came on. The struggles of the offense was visible throughout the match, a struggle which an on-form Müller would have taken advantage of had he been allowed to stay on the pitch. Nagelsmann could have very easily opted to play this game on the counter attack. Gladbach was there for the taking.
Choupo-Moting continues to earn his contract
If Bayern had gotten away with a point in this one, they’d have Choupo to thank. His tirelessness, work ethic, nose for goal and goal-saving interruptions might have singlehandedly handed Bayern a point. I would like to add word on Mathys Tel too; Tel’s desire and talents means he might just make the grade at Bayern and blossom into a future star.
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