Dejection on the faces of the Bayern Munich squad again, as for the third year running they’ve been unceremoniously dumped out of the DFB-Pokal. The German Rekordmeister may have ten Bundesliga titles on the spin, but they haven’t had any luck in recent years in the domestic cup. In fact, via Squawka, this marks the first time they’ve gone three straight without in the 21st century:
Bayern will go three years without lifting the DFB Pokal trophy for the first time this century [@Squawka] pic.twitter.com/7fnkOiEpA1— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 4, 2023
It wasn’t long ago that Bayern were on top. They smashed Leipzig 3-0 in the Final in 2018/19 and followed that up with a 4-2 win over Leverkusen the following year. Then in 2020/21, Hansi Flick’s second season took a turn for the worse with a stunning January defeat on penalties to lower-division Holstein Kiel. Julian Nagelsmann managed to get his bouncing in even earlier with an October thrashing at the hands of Gladbach — that one a 5-0 defeat that got off the rails fast.
Fast forward to this year, and new manager Thomas Tuchel has admittedly not had an easy task. He’s not had long since the board pulled the plug on the Nagelsmann project, and the Freiburg game — actually a series of two face-offs in a row in a one-week span — was sandwiched between monster tilts against Borussia Dortmund in the league and Manchester City in the Champions League. If there was one match that might’ve gotten overlooked, it was this one.
Still, questions will abound, as they always must in Bavaria after the bitter taste of defeat. The present tumult the team finds itself in is one of its own making; the board didn’t have to choose this time to make a sweeping change at the manager position. But they have, ostensibly to protect the team’s status in their treble challenge, and in spite of Bayern’s excellent Champions League form under Nagelsmann.
In Der Klassiker, Tuchel’s debut, Bayern flashed an old-fashioned dominance that had the mood lightened again. But with this latest defeat, featuring for large swathes of the game a hapless Bayern with few creative ideas in attack, it seems that the inconsistencies of this season are far from resolved.
Now the pressure is on again. Bayern will need to dig deep and show more of their familiar mettle if they’re to rescue their two remaining competitions. For Freiburg, it was a banner day: their first-ever road win against the Bavarians. Come Saturday, they’ll be back home — and facing a wounded Bayern team with all of a sudden everything to prove.
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