It is getting hard to keep up with Bayer Leverkusen isn’t it?
Bayern Munich was smacked by Werder Bremen X1-0, and is chasing Die Werkself, who could be in the midst of a magical season.
In what could only be described as an incredibly disappointing effort, here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Thomas Tuchel is playing the hits once more with his lineup selection:
- After a string of strong performances, Thomas Müller was back on the bench in favor of Kingsley Coman. Meanwhile, Tuchel’s love-hate relationship with Leon Goretzka is back in “hate mode” as the Germany international was left on the bench again so Raphaël Guerreiro could start.
- You could argue that Müller was just a victim of rotation, which would be fine for the 34-year-old, but Goretzka had a strong first half of the season after being pushed aside (without any basis) by Tuchel.
- In the short-term, moves like this might end up not mattering in a game against Werder Bremen (Spoiler Alert: They did), but when you need the chemistry of a team to shine through against top-tier opponents, that could be lacking based on some of the decisions that Tuchel is making now.
- Werder Bremen was at its best when just trying to play long-balls rather than trying to play a possession style.
- Harry Kane set up Leroy Sané nicely in the 7th minute, but the winger’s attempt just wasn’t strong enough.
- Truthfully, Werder Bremen should have scored in the 9th minute, but Jens Stage just did not get enough on his shot attempt.
- The Bayern Munich attack was very choppy early on and Kane had trouble getting involved.
- Manuel Neuer made a spectacular save on an attempt from Mitchell Weiser that was deflected by Alphonso Davies.
- Seconds later, Justin Njinmah looked like he finally took advantage of Bayern Munich’s high-line and broke through for a goal, but it was called off for a foul against Musiala before the counterattack.
- Upamecano almost scored seconds later, but the center-back could not finish from close-range after Michael Zetterer cut off his angle.
- Zetterer was very impressive with his composure and work on the ball. At 28-years-old, he is no longer a kid, but he took advantage of getting his chance on the big stage.
- Coman was just not impactful.
- The first half ended 0-0 and it could be said that not one player in Bayern Munich’s attack or midfield was good. In particular, Sané just seemed off, Musiala was a bit of a mess, and Kane was not active at all. In short, it was tough to watch.
- The idea of traveling to hold a training camp in Portugal after the second half of the season already started was odd…and maybe contributed to the collective lethargy. Having two-a-day sessions seemed to take a toll on Bayern Munich.
- In the 59th, Weiser completely worked over Davies and ripped off a rocket of a shot that Neuer had zero chance to stop. What a moment for Werder Bremen to take the 1-0 lead.
- It was a great overall game for Weiser against his former club.
- In the 65th minute, Tuchel hit the panic button — and sent a message to several players in the process. Müller came in for Kimmich, who was not good. Goretzka came in for Guerreiro, who was also not good. Mathys Tel came in for Davies, who was not necessarily bad, but had a few bad moments.
- Interestingly, whatever change to the formation/strategy that Tuchel made, Sané took major offense to it and could be seen voicing his displeasure to Müller. This team might be unraveling around Tuchel.
- Leaked stories, nefarious quotes about players, playing preferences over performances...these are all things that can contribute to a coach losing his locker room. Bayern Munich is not there yet by any means, but the seeds of discord have been sewn a bit.
- In the end, Müller, Goretzka, and Tel did breathe some life into the game, but it was too little, too late.
- Simply put, there was not enough from Kane in this match. The players around him — at times — just do not look like they know how to integrate him into the game, but this is nothing new. We saw the same struggles during Robert Lewandowski’s final season.
- Can we end the “No. 9s who need to act like No. 6s” trend to satisfy the egotistical needs of individual coaches? That would be great.
- Overall, what can you say? Bayern Munich looked sluggish and uninspired. They lost to an inferior team that was hungry for a win. In the process of dropping the match, Bayern Munich fell further behind league-leader Bayer Leverkusen and looks like it is grasping at straws for how to play a functional style...but why? Was it the lineup changes? Was it the hard week of training camp? Was it the constant distraction of transfer rumors? Is the coach good enough? Are the players good enough? It is all tough to say...but it must leave fans asking themselves, “Are we better off than we were at this time last year?” If the answer is “no”, then Bayern Munich has risked disrupting its organization for the whims of a coach, who might be destroying it from the inside-out.
Bayern Munich’s hopes to get Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier are fading quickly per reports out of England.
From The Athletic (via @iMiaSanMia):
Newcastle United are adamant that they will not sell Kieran Trippier this month. Senior figures have spoken with Trippier, who is not agitating to move, even though there is an appeal to joining Bayern. Newcastle feel Trippier, their on-field captain, remains fundamental to their plans
@GeorgeCaulkin @ChrisDHWaugh @TheAthleticFC
From The Telegraph (via @iMiaSanMia):
Newcastle have made the decision that Kieran Trippier is not for sale this month. @LukeEdwardsTele
Trippier has assured the Newcastle board and coaching staff that he is happy on Tyneside and will not be trying to force his way out of the club. At his age, a move to Bayern and having the chance to win both the Bundesliga and the Champions League alongside Harry Kane would have some appeal, but Newcastle have made it clear how much they value him and how important he is to the team and manager Eddie Howe. @LukeEdwardsTele
Sport Bild’s Christian Falk laid out where there was a disconnect. It looks like Newcastle and Trippier both wanted a lot more out of Bayern Munich than the Bavarians were likely to give:
TRUE✅— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) January 21, 2024
❇️ Newcastle @NUFC are demanding up to €15 mio transfer fee for Kieran Trippier (33)
❇️ Trippier expects an offer of €10 Mio in salary
❇️ With a contract until 2025, that would be a total package of €30 mio
❇️ Bayern actually just wanted a loan@BILD_Sport @altobelli13
Falk continued on to say that not all hope was lost:
True✅ Contrary to reports in other media, the negotiations for Kieran Trippier (33) are continuing. According to our information, Newcastle want to sell the player if Bayern makes a good offer @BILD_Sport @altobelli13— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) January 21, 2024
So...back to Paris Saint-Germain’s Nordi Mukiele or hang in longer for Trippier?
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Man City are all tracking the progress of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz, whose price tag sits north of £100m.
One of the knocks against a pursuit of Wirtz for Bayern Munich is the presence of Jamal Musiala at the No. 10 position. However, it could be strongly argued that Wirtz has been the better player over the course of the last 12 months. Musiala, though, still might have the higher upside of the two.
What do you think?
Clearly, there is a lot going on and much to talk about when it comes to the Bavarians. Let’s get right to it:
- This is really “do or die” time at Bayern Munich for Matthijs de Ligt.
- Thomas Müller might have the best outlook and attitude of any athlete (and unfortunately, he will probably need it as this second half goes on).
- Florian Wirtz might cost an insane amount.
- The story of the demise of the relationship of Robert Lewandowski and Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich seems on-point.
- Thoughts on the season finale of Fargo, an update on where I stand with the Marvel Odyssey.
Sometimes, a player just needs a change of scenery to reboot his career. For Joshua Zirkzee, the move from Bayern Munich to Bologna, seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
Manchester United is now interested in making the Dutchman its new striker:
Manchester United are in pole position to sign Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee this summer, with Bayern Munich unlikely to trigger their buy-back clause.
RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko will see a release clause of just €50m (£43m) become active this summer. The 20-year-old has previously been linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Brentford’s Ivan Toney got a little loose with the rules when the referee’s back was turned against Nottingham Forest. Check this story out:
Nottingham Forest have written to the head of Premier League referees asking for clarity over Ivan Toney’s controversial free-kick on Saturday.
Toney was seen to move the ball — and the referee’s vanishing spray — to the right of where it had originally been placed following Orel Mangala’s foul on Mikel Damsgaard on the edge of the Forest box.
Toney went on to curl his free-kick wide of the Forest wall and in at the near post. Forest ended up losing the game 3-2.
Forest manager Nuno Espírito Santo said in his post-match news conference that he was unhappy with the “ball displacement”, adding that it should have been checked by VAR.