What a mess...
In the end, Pep Guardiola’s team had its way against Thomas Tuchel’s boys in a match that will be much-debated in the days, weeks, and months ahead. In an effort to “save” the season, the Bayern Munich board might have driven the final nail into the coffin for the campaign.
The only question is whether this nightmare will have carryover effects on the rest of the season — or if Bayern Munich can leave all of the bad juju on the pitch at Etihad Stadium. Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- As always, let’s start with the lineup:
- Tuchel went outside the box with his 4-2-3-1 as he placed the struggling Serge Gnabry at the top of the formation as the striker with Jamal Musiala (who entered the match in a funk) behind him and Leroy Sané and Kingsley Coman as the wingers. Of course, that means that Sadio Mané and Thomas Müller were both relegated to the bench.
- In an expected move, Benjamin Pavard started at right-back over defensively-deficient Joao Cancelo.
- It was not the starting XI that I would have used, but Tuchel surely had his reasons. Entering the match, you could argue that Coman was the only player among that front four that was playing at — or near — the top of his game entering the match. It was a calculated risk for Tuchel. It failed.
- While I have not been overly impressed with Mané, I did expect him to get the nod given his Champions League experience.
- Erling Haaland almost pressured Yann Sommer into an incredible howler in the 14th minute.
- Minutes later Haaland fired a shot right at Sommer that he should have buried. Two bullets dodged early on.
- Rodri, however, would not miss with a left-footed curler that Sommer had no chance on. Joshua Kimmich could have done a lot better in closing in Rodri...but he didn’t.
- Bayern Munich’s starting attacking group, just didn’t look overly threatening. Gnabry was completely invisible. Musiala was not really much better. The youngster is scuffling.
- While Musiala’s future is as an attacking midfielder, he’s having difficulty navigating the terrain (and big bodies) in the area. I still think he’s a magnificent wing. It might not be a bad idea to give him some run on the outside to see if it can help get him going.
- I didn’t understand Tuchel’s thinking in starting Gnabry. He has not been great of late and was thoroughly ineffective as a striker. I’d put the focus on Tuchel for that decision, though. Mane would have probably been the better call for a stop-gap No. 9.
- Matthijs de Ligt going down in the 42nd minute was a scary sight for Bayern Munich. He re-entered the match after rolling his ankle, but it didn’t look good initially.
- Ederson made a terrific save on Sane in the 48th minute, which then set off a crazy chain reaction of mistakes at the other end of the pitch when Dayot Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard both hemmed in Sommer with terrible decisions.
- Alphonso Davies was not great either, honestly. Pavard was okay at times with some quality tackles, but made too many mistakes. Davies simply didn’t play well.
- Sané had a terrific shot in the 54th minute, but Ederson was, again, up to the task. Seconds later, De Ligt smashed a header that probably would have scored if not for Nathan Aké (who really just happened to be in the right place at the right time).
- Sommer was a real bright spot on the day. He was under duress a lot and handled it with aplomb.
- Mané came on for Musiala in the 69th minute in attempt to spark the squad.
- Upamecano’s horrific day continued in the 70th minute with a terrible turnover that led directly to a goal by Bernardo Silva. Upamecano gave the ball directly away to Haaland, who sent over a cross to Silva, who buried the header.
- From there, City went into shark mode and smelled the blood in the water. They were all over Bayern Munich. Haaland added a third goal, which effectively sealed the tie. Pavard and Davies did terribly in defending the initial corner in and Upamecano appeared to lose Haaland on his back shoulder.
- What a nightmare sequence for Upamecano and the defense as a whole. It got worse in the 86th minute when he made another brutal decision, which led to a corner for City.
- What a disastrous decision to remove Julian Nagelsmann when they did. The board made an awful decision. Maybe Bayern Munich loses with Nagelsmann at the helm, but he sure as hell would not have picked that starting XI (and probably not that formation either).
- Overall, we knew this would be difficult. Tuchel came in as manager at a terrible time and he’s still experimenting to see what works — only during the Champions League. That’s not exactly a great time to be feeling out what positions are good for what players. It is hard to say whether it was because of who started or who didn’t start. Again, the board put Tuchel and the team in this spot for some reason and now are reaping what they have sowed. Reading into Bayern Munich’s performances has been extremely difficult of late, but one thing is certain: This was disappointing (even though it was sort of expected).
It is going to be crowded next season during goalkeeper training at Bayern Munich as Alexander Nübel is headed back to Bavaria:
News #Nübel: Months ago there were talks between him & @AS_Monaco about a permanent deal in summer. But Nübel rejected the offer. Now it’s close to be 100 % that he won’t stay. He will return to Bayern in summer. Whether he will stay there still depends on Neuer. @SkySportDE pic.twitter.com/PCceyBxeuH— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) April 11, 2023
Something will have to give. Manuel Neuer, Yann Sommer, Sven Ulreich, and Nübel will be far too much goalkeeping talent to maintain. That will be among the many issues Thomas Tuchel will have to address next season.
Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg hooked up again, this time it was in the Bundesliga, but it sure looked and felt a lot like a rehash of what happened on Tuesday.
SC Freiburg was extremely disciplined and Bayern Munich was very disjointed, which led to a shaky 1-0 victory for the Bavarians — thanks to a laser of a goal from Matthijs de Ligt.
Here is what we have on tap for this episode:
- A rundown of the scoresheet — Bayern Munich’s terrible finishing prevented this game from being a blowout on the scoreboard.
- A look at the lineup, what changed for Thomas Tuchel, and some thoughts on why he might have made the changes (Dayot Upamecano was suspended, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was hurt, and some other benching that were probably deserved).
- Is Jamal Musiala getting Scottie Jetpacks’d? (Deep cut you might want to hear).
- De Ligt was the savior.
- The near brawl at the end whistle and where to go from here.
There were rumors that Bayern Munich was going to take a run at Bayern Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong, but Sky Sport journalist Florian Plettenberg is reporting that the story is a bit overblown because of the surplus of players at the position already in Bavaria:
Bayern held talks with the management of Jeremie Frimpong, but a move to Munich is unlikely and difficult to imagine due to the oversupply of right-backs at FCB.
Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi could be taking steps to eave the club this summer. Per this report, his father met with FC Barcelona, but no transfer proposal was put on the table:
Barcelona have met with agent and father of Lionel Messi as they hope to tempt him back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. But no transfer proposal was put forward.
Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg are turning into a Rocky-type franchise at this point.
The teams battled in the DFB-Pokal and will now carry the fracas over to the Bundesliga in what amounts to a very key game for Bayern Munich’s title hopes. That game, however, is just one of several talking points to emerge from this week.
Let’s dig in. This is what we have on tap for this episode:
- A preview of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg. Tensions should be high after Freiburg’s upset win in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday.
- The terrible optics of Thomas Tuchel’s decision to start Joao Cancelo against SC Freiburg.
- Reports say Tuchel wants a new striker.
- Why Tuchel’s job is going to get a lot harder in the coming days and weeks.
Joao Felix has reportedly convinced Chelsea FC he is worth the time — and money — to make him a permanent member of the squad.
Now, Chelsea will have to try and work a deal with Atlético Madrid:
Understand Chelsea want to keep João Félix as part of long term project. Club very happy with his impact, João also keen on staying at #CFC.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 10, 2023
The deal will depend on tag asked by Atlético, talks will take place soon.
New coach, also a factor.
If RB Leipzig attacker Dani Olmo is headed home to Spain, he is said to prefer Real Madrid over FC Barcelona:
Dani Olmo, a long-term target for Barcelona, is reportedly keen on joining Real Madrid when he leaves RB Leipzig.
According to Spanish journalist Sergio Santos, Barcelona will have an uphill task chasing Dani Olmo. The Spanish international, whose market value is €40 million, wants to return to Spain. But his preferred destination is Real Madrid instead of Barcelona.
There’s never a dull moment at Bayern Munich (unless you watched the first half of Saturday’s game versus Freiburg). This week could be crucial for the outcome of the entire season as the club gear up to face Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals. After the coaching shakeup and the elimination from the Pokal last week, confidence seems to be at an all time low at the BFW podcasting department.
In this episode, INNN and Samrin talk about the following:
- Establishing the tone (not positive) for the rest of the podcast.
- How should Thomas Tuchel line up his team against Manchester City?
- Which duels will be key for Bayern vs City? Davies, Haaland, Upa, etc.
- An outside-the-box solution to the striker problem due to Choupo’s absence.
- How will Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka set up versus Rodri, Gundogan, and the like?
- Why a counterattacking approach could be the best and worst option for Bayern Munich.
- Why starting Joao Cancelo against his former team may not be the best idea.
- Finally talking about Sadio Mane and the source of his problems at Bayern.
- Harsh criticism of the board’s transfer policy and their “support” of Julian Nagelsmann.
- Comparing the squad construction in offense vs defense and the huge mismatch between the two.
- Does Bayern Munich need to sign a new striker in the summer? Who’s available? Kane, Kolo Muani, Vlahovic, etc.
- Signing off in an attempt to be positive for once.