clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three observations from Bayern Munich’s crushing 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig

In every big game this season, Bayern Munich have been a total flop.

FC Bayern München v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel must answer for this

No one can blame a “lack of familiarity” for this kind of result.

Bayern Munich dominated the first half, yes. Scored a goal, which is great! But football games last longer than 45 or 70 mins, you need to be better than that. Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern side do NOT play good football for any consistent amount of time. You can see that the squad has potential — over 180 mins versus Manchester City, Bayern were able to match them for almost half the phases and actually took the initiative on occasion. But under Tuchel, that’s all we ever see.

Momentum isn’t maintained — it’s always surrendered. Pressure is nonexistent. Set pieces turn into counters for the opposition. The end of each half is a total [word deleted by editor]. 1-0 is the most dangerous scoreline. Comebacks never happen. The mentality is so poor.

In terms of actual tactical problems we’ve seen under Tuchel this season, you have the following:

  • Gegenpressing: It was already relatively poor under Julian Nagelsmann, but now it’s just non-existent. Bayern Munich cannot create a turnover until the opponent is already in the final third and bearing down on goal. Last-minute interventions by Kimmich or the CBs are what count as “pressing” in this team. Compare that to Flick’s Bayern. Against Barcelona (for example) the team was a dedicated unit, knowing how to pressure and win the ball back HIGH up the pitch. Where has that gone?
  • Midfield control: Leon Goretzka has no role under Thomas Tuchel, but always plays. He hasn’t magically turned into a bad player, but he’s always deployed in the no-man’s-land between Kimmich and the attack, where he’s not allowed to do anything of note. This current role wastes his physicality and doesn’t play to any of his strengths, like ball carrying or late runs into the box. If Tuchel really wants a player like that, why play a 4-2-3-1 at all? Switch to a 4-1-4-1 like the Schalke game.
  • Set pieces: This is a whole can of worms. Deserves its own section, really.

What’s next for Bayern? Tuchel seems to be the wrong guy. Hire Xabi I guess? Or bring back Nagelsmann? They’re still paying him.

Jamal Musiala is being held back from greatness

What is it with coaches putting Jamal Musiala in the middle? The guy is a decent attacking midfielder, but far from spectacular. He’s too slight to win physical duels, and easily gets bullied off the ball when teams defend in numbers. Yet Julian Nagelsmann, Hansi Flick (at the World Cup), and now Thomas Tuchel have all put him in that position to his incredible detriment.

Remember when this was a thing?
Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When Musiala first made a breakthrough in Bayern’s lineup, it wasn’t by playing in midfield. He played on the wing, mainly on the left (but sometimes the right) and he was AMAZING. The guy is like Ribery 2.0, his silky dribbles can confound any defender. And when he plays on the wings, he gets the support from the fullback and doesn’t need to get into charged physical duels all the time.

When did this aspect of his game get forgotten? Is there a directive coming from somewhere, telling coaches that Musiala HAS to play in the middle or not at all? Today, we saw Serge Gnabry played on the left to accommodate a formation that used Musiala as an AM and Thomas Muller as a striker, despite the fact that Gnabry’s been in sublime form playing in the middle lately. Why? It’s horrible for his game and Musiala’s as well. Just doesn’t make any sense.

At this point you have to wonder how the club is planning long-term at each position. Forcing round pegs into square holes worked ONCE, when Kimmich replaced Lahm. That lightning won’t strike twice.

Set pieces are worse than ever

At this point, you have to take Kimmich off them. When you have Joao Cancelo and Noussair Mazraoui on the squad, why force one guy to take them? Even Sane is pretty decent at these deliveries. Kimmich barely even gets it in the right place most of the time.

Come on, this cannot be this complicated. Get some tall players in the box, send the ball in near them, and keep a couple fast players outside the box to intercept any potential counters.

How does Bayern Munich fail to something so SIMPLE? You don’t need a billion dollars and Pep Guardiola to head it in from a corner. And so much of it comes back to Joshua Kimmich. He’s an AMAZING player, but why does he get to do what he wants? Shouldn’t someone else be given a go after this many failed deliveries?

This goes back to a wider narrative about Joshua Kimmich and his place at the club. He’s protected from consequences. His bad games never get punished like other players. Competition gets shipped out because he demands 100% of every minute available. He won’t dare let a coach sub him off. He wears the captain’s armband already. In some ways, he’s deserved a ton of consideration, but it has to stop somewhere.

In the previous iterations of Bayern Munich, the seniors always lost their spots from time to time. Arjen Robben spent most of the treble year on the bench, only coming back when Kroos got injured. Jerome Boateng was often in and out of the lineup, competing with Niklas Sule and Mats Hummels. Thiago competed with Vidal and Alonso, and later Kimmich and Goretzka for his midfield spot. To this day, coaches bench Thomas Muller as soon as he has a less than stellar game.

Where are the consequences for Joshua Kimmich? It’s not even like we’re asking for him to be sent to the stands. He’s still playing well. But ... just take the corners away from him. If you can’t even do that as a coach, then you may as well put his name on the stadium because he’s bigger than the club already.

Miscellaneous observations

  • Irony is great. Imagine if Konrad Laimer ends up killing Bayern’s title hopes this season.
  • The new kits are hideous. Bayern looked and played like Arsenal.
  • For the first time, the pitch at the Allianz Arena looked acceptable! Baby steps.
  • Fans leaving the stadium early shows that the fanbase is really done with this team. There’s so little goodwill here.
  • Handball rules are truly wack.

Want more thoughts on that absolute debacle of a match between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig? Check out our postgame podcast for our thoughts on where everything went wrong, why Bayern Munich collapsed in this match (and in this season), and who needs to be looking over their shoulder moving forward at the club. You can listen on Spotify or below:

As always, we appreciate all the support!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works