Bayern Munich slipped up against the visiting Hoffenheim side and have left the title race just as precarious as it was before this game. While there were signs of improvement compared to the game against Manchester City, some key issues continue to plague the team and hit them where it hurts the hardest. Without further ado, here are the match observations:
A much needed game
After the abysmally poor result against Manchester City, Bayern needed another game to recoup their chemistry. As the game progressed, the players’ confidence slowly went up and seemed happier to be back on the pitch. The passing was coherent and the player movements were sharper, manufacturing a higher and more consistent level of threat as compared to the game against City. This in turn fed their confidence leading to a progressive rise in pressure on the opponents.
Despite the result not going their way, Bayern with a certain Thomas Muller showed they are still capable of creating a lot of danger — regardless of all the ongoing drama off the pitch.
Cancelo the Initiator
Joao Cancelo’s most exceptional quality that he brings to this Bayern team has to be his knack for taking initiative, regardless of the scoreline or who the momentum favors. Yes, he is known for the technical expertise of his craft, but with Bayern having become used to always leading the scoreline, a player who wants to take charge stands out in the most difficult of times. This was visible after his substitution against City and once again today against Hoffenheim. He had the joint highest successful dribbles (2) in the team with Leroy Sane today.
Rushing the box against strikers is a common strategy. However, this seems to work particularly well against Bayern Munich. Out of 22 shots, only 8 were on target today and only one ended being converted. Admittedly the squad is missing a true No. 9, but that shouldn’t lower the standards of finishing of players drawing upwards of 15 million a year.
With all the pleasure from turning into an always leading team, Bayern need to redevelop their bouncing back side. That has always been the nature of Bayern, that has been hardly visible off late. With all the creative talent available, bringing back lethality in the box, especially in the injury time periods, will make a substantive difference for the better.
Special shoutout - Steamroller Benjamin Pavard
I’m guilty of loving the new (semi)nasty side of Pavard. Turning from one of the shakiest defenders at Bayern Munich into an unstoppable juggernaut has been amusing to watch. He takes no prisoners in defense on one end and on the other end, he’s wrestling away with – and wrestling past – several opponents to put himself in dangerous positions. His goal today, although brilliant, did not surprise me. This isn’t just the World Cup long shot Pavard. The New Benji is ready to kick through everything that comes in between his body and the ball.
The obvious downside is a rise in his fouls and bookings. Having said that, it has been an overall improvement of having a less shakier line that is marginally more likely to get booked. If Pavard brings more on a consistent basis, there shouldn’t be too many apprehensions regarding the worthiness of his alleged wage demands.
Looking for more thoughts on this
debacle draw? Check out our postgame podcast where we break down why the Bayern Munich’s game versus Hoffenheim played out like it did and why it looks like everyone just wants the season to end ... now. You can get the show on Spotify or below.
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