On Wednesday, Bayern Munich’s reserve team FC Bayern II took on FC Augsburg II in the Regionalliga in Munich and came away with all 3 points. Here are three observations on the tight match:
Is promotion still possible?
When looking at the Regionalliga Bayern table, promotion seems impossible for Bayern II, even after this victory. With eight games left to play, Bayern II is 16 points behind runaway league leaders SpVgg Unterhaching. However, Unterhaching have been having financial issues.
Promotion to the 3. Liga sounds like it would bring in more revenue, but there are actually one time financial costs that need to be paid once a club is promoted; fees Unterhaching are worried they might not be able to afford. In order to not risk insolvency, the club would likely rather opt to not get promoted.
So, assuming Unterhaching finish first and do not choose to get promoted, this would mean that the second placed team in the league would get promoted. Bayern II are just six points off of 2nd placed Wurzburger Kickers, though the opposing team does have a game in hand. It is not impossible for Bayern II to claw back that deficit. For a season that seemed wasted in mid table for so long, perhaps the promotion to the 3. Liga Bayern so desperately desires can still be achieved.
The defense crumbles but the team fights back
Over the years, Bayern II’s defense has always been rather prone to defensive weakness. It makes sense, since such young defenders will always make mistakes. But, since 2015, the team at least had veteran center back and captain Nico Feldhahn to tell the youngsters what to do. The leader of Bayern II’s defense retired after last season, though, and it has left a void. The defense has not struggled too much- 44 goals conceded in 30 games is not a good record but a pretty standard one for Bayern II- but it has been prone to completely collapsing at times this season, more so than in previous seasons.
The same thing happened in this game. Bayern II had conceded just 1 goal in 4 matches before this game but, with little notice, the defense collapsed today. Augsburg took the lead due to the defense napping and forward Mert Kömür nipping in to score. Then, after Bayern II went 2-1 up, an embarrassing lack of communication allowed Fabio Gruber a completely unmarked header from six yards out. Augsburg II also carved out multiple fantastic opportunities and even won a penalty right at the end of the game.
But Bayern is in phenomenal form right now and showed the guts and fighting spirit to roar back and win this game. The team is in phenomenal form right now, winning 6 and drawing 1 in 7 games in 2023. And this momentum helped the team overcome multiple obstacles here to gut out yet another win.
Johannes Schenk demonstrates what he can do
Two players stood out from the rest today. Striker Grant-Leon Ranos scored yet another brace and continued his ludicrous scoring record this season. But Johannes Schenk was the best player on the field today. The goal keeper might have done slightly better for the first goal, but more than made up for it throughout with multiple fantastic saves at full stretch to steady the ship and paper over the cracks in the defense. His distribution was mostly solid, too, but his standout moment came at the very end of the match.
In the 92nd minute, Bayern II defender Liam Morrison mistimed a challenge and gave away a penalty. This might remind Bayern fans of how the senior team had conceded a penalty late in the match in the recent 2-1 defeat to SC Freiburg. But this time, the penalty was not converted as Johannes Schenk emphatically stopped the penalty. It wasn’t a badly placed penalty, but Schenk was barely stretched as he easily got down to the ball and pawed it away to ultimately rescue the win for the beleaguered Bavarians.
The defenders hadn’t had the time to celebrate with the keeper after the penalty was saved as the team sought to focus for the last few minutes. But once the final whistle sounded, the entire team crowded around Schenk and celebrated him for preserving the victory. And it’s impossible to say that this praise was not well earned.