Well, nobody is more embarrassed than the members of the Bayern Munich board right now. The greatest team in German history, three weeks after sacking a coach for results that weren’t even unsatisfactory to make a late surge for a treble, suffered elimination in the quarter-finals of the least challenging of the three competitions they were targeting.
One man cannot build a wall without holes
Matthijs de Ligt is a special breed of defender. There is simply no one on his level in the world right now.
Unfortunately for him, his centre back partner Dayot Upamecano would have a sub-par game minus the goal from a corner, and both full backs were completely missing in defense, often leaving De Ligt to clean up everyone’s messes. Thomas Tuchel is renowned for his defensive structures and systems, so this is simply unacceptable. On multiple occasions, Freiburg found ways through the defense, and almost every time De Ligt would summon superhuman powers to rescue the situation. How much longer will we rely on De Ligt to bail us out of bad places? João Cancelo was particularly disappointing, as his gamble of sacrificing defensive solidity for offensive excellence amounted to nothing more than a few step-overs and misplaced passes.
The Munich waste disposal problem
Bayern Munich created innumerable chances to score and put the game away but multiple attackers just seemed to not want to shoot today. Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané in particular looked completely off in their decision-making, often trying to make extra passes or beat another man instead of taking a shot. This game could have easily been a four or five-goal game for Bayern. Even the few times shots were taken they were wasteful, going off target or being blocked.
So many options, such few options
Bayern looked armed to the teeth but missing every shot they took with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting on the field. Choupo-Moting in particular had a very poor game. Perhaps he’s still carrying that back knock?
After Choupo came off, Bayern looked toothless. The attack had no direction, it was just constant tight passes with no clear ideas or philosophy. It just seemed like everyone was waiting for someone to come up with an idea, rather than taking the initiative. Even Müller, who is usually the on-pitch general, went quiet on and off the ball after being put up front. I actually forgot he was on the pitch for a good ten minutes. The only moments of hope were when Sané and Jamal Musiala would find each other on the pitch. Their quick interchanges were as sharp as ever but there was no end product. It is shameful that a team with this many top level attackers can’t have more than one functioning system.
“God’s not the script-writer, I am.”
The refereeing in this game was a disaster, and continues to add weight to the conspiracy theory of the DFB against Bayern. What first started as a funny meme is now turning suspicious.
Choupo-Moting won a header against Matthias Ginter (who was the last man) and was brought down. No foul called. The same situation happened with the teams reversed and Upamecano was immediately brandished with a yellow card. Almost every 50/50 a Bayern player won was deemed a foul by referee Harm Osmers.
Nothing to say about the penalty though. It was completely fair.
To become something more against giants
Bayern Munich has a habit of bringing the very best out of their opponents. Numerous times in the last few years, teams in Germany seem to find a new gear they never knew they had when facing Bayern. It was the same today.
Ritsu Doan, Nicolas Höfler, Kiliann Sildillia and Matthias Ginter had the best games of their career. Doan decided to channel the spirit of prime Dani Alves, bombing forward and pressing relentlessly but dropping back and making crucial sliding interceptions time and time again despite not even being billed as a defender. Ginter made three blocks and a goal line clearance, as well as numerous crucial tackles. Höfler was imperious defensively too, as well as getting by far the best goal of his career.
This game was a freak performance, but there is something to be said about how Bayern keeps getting hit by these.
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