There is no doubt about it, Bayern Munich needed a win in the worst way.
After a humiliating loss to Werder Bremen over the weekend, the Bavarians needed to turn around quickly and face a desperate Union Berlin side that would have been perfectly fine if it had to walk out of the Allianz Arena with a point.
Thanks to a timely Bayern Munich goal at the start of the second half, that did not happen. Let’s take a look at some quick hitters on the match:
- As always, let’s start out with a look at Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI selection:
- The big change from the weekend was Leon Goretzka for Alphonso Davies with Raphaël Guerreiro dropping back to play left-back and Goretzka assuming his normal role in the central midfield.
- It is hard to argue against those moves after Sunday’s debacle against Werder Bremen. However, it is curious as to why Kingsley Coman got another start on a quick turnaround, while Thomas Müller — who was effective in his recent starts — took a seat on the bench. Coman went 0 for 9 on his cross attempts. While he was solid otherwise, it is becoming harder and harder to justify keeping him in as a starter.
- Whatever the case, Bayern Munich rolled with that and put forth a pretty statistically dominant first half, only to come away goalless. Bayern Munich held advantages in possession (74%/26%), shots (15/2), shots on target (6/0), and corners (7/0) just to name a few.
- It was not that Bayern Munich was lifeless or lethargic, it just was not overly sharp in the final third.
- The scariest part of the first half was a head collision between Dayot Upamecano and Kevin Volland. Volland was clearly not right and was eventually removed in the 26th minute.
- Upamecano pulled up lame after the Volland incident as well, which led to Eric Dier making his debut to start the second half. Dier was solid and handled himself well in his first match with Bayern Munich.
- On a side note, Tuchel is wearing Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt down. It has just been too much. Admittedly, it was tough with De Ligt also hurt and Josip Stanišić (though not a true center-back, he is a capable fill-in) on loan, but the squad planning at that position left a lot to be desired. For as much as some folks bemoaned the move for Dier, Bayern Munich needs him now.
- All of those chances missed in the first half, quickly translated into a goal in the first minute of the second half, when Guerreiro picked up the long rebound from a Kane attempt that hit the post and deposited the ball past Union Berlin goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow.
- Despite the goal, it was not an overly comfortable feeling with the Bavarians holding a one-goal lead.
- It felt like Union Berlin was content to play a “bend, but don’t break” style, but Bayern Munich was too talented to be held back. One thing that the style did cause was a somewhat boring affair with Bayern Munich not being able to really find Kane in the box or have someone else step up to score.
- Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka were not challenged much, but the midfield tandem did very well in controlling the match.
- In the 74th minute, an odd sequence erupted between Leroy Sané (and eventually all of Bayern Munich’s lineup) and Union Berlin coach Nenad Bjelica. Bjelica was given a red card for his actions. That was neither the start, nor the end of the chippiness, in what was a pretty physical contest. It felt like Kevin Vogt wanted a piece of Kane, too.
- I can’t figure out Union Berlin. It just feels like they should be a lot better than they actually are.
- Overall, for the “a win is a win” crowd, this will suffice. Surely, there is merit to that. However, at some point, Bayern Munich is going to have to start functioning like the world power that it is. There is no reason to think that it will not happen, but — right now — this is not looking like a team capable of putting together a complete enough two games to take down Real Madrid or Manchester City. It was a dominant, yet unfulfilling match that left me thinking about how good this team should be, rather than how good it currently is.
There really does not seem to be much of an in-between. However, one report is indicating that Kimmich could just bide his time and leave for FC Barcelona on a free deal in 2025:
Bayern Munich have a number of contract situations to handle, with the likes of Alphonso Davies, Leroy Sane and Joshua Kimmich all free to walk in 18 months time. The latter is of particular interest to Barcelona, who are lacking a controller at the base of their midfield, and he could be willing to facilitate a move to Catalonia.
As per BILD, carried by Sport, Kimmich is not content in Bavaria, and is seriously considering a move. Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Liverpool and previously Manchester City have been linked, and if Bayern cannot agree a new deal before July, then they may shop Kimmich in order to avoid losing him for free.
The 28-year-old is keen to choose his own destination though, and the German outlet say he may well be willing to wait until 2025, when he is a free agent, in order to do so. Kimmich is also more minded to play in Spain than the Premier League. If that transpires, then Barcelona could stand a chance of signing him on a free, as he would be too expensive this summer.
Nevertheless, Bayern will no doubt try to force him out this summer if they do not see Kimmich committed to a deal. They will not want to lose Kimmich for free, and it seems more probable that a Kimmich who has decided to leave will accept an exit offered to him this summer, rather than spend a year at Bayern with both parties knowing their time is at an end. He is unlikely to be short of suitors this summer either.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has teamed with Kepa Arrizabalaga to help Los Blancos make up for the loss of Thibaut Courtois.
Lunin, in particular, has performed well enough to start to draw interest from outside parties — including Bayern Munich:
Lunin turns 25 next month and is no longer the youngster he once was who was willing to fight as long as it took to make his name known in the first team. He is now a seasoned starter at the highest level and is unlikely to return to a position as a deputy once Courtois returns. His departure in the summer is thus almost certain. According to reports from SPORT, Ancelotti does not have much confidence in Lunin as a long-term replacement. If he asks to leave in June, the management will sanction the same.
The same report goes on to add that Bayern Munich are one of the several parties at his doorstep and are interested in roping him in for next season. With such big names on his table, his departure is almost certain.
Lunin and Kepa have been fighting for a spot in Ancelotti’s dynamics for a long time this season. The entry of Bayern Munich in Lunin’s story, however, elevates their battle to the next level. The Bavarians have been hunting for a new goalkeeper for a long time now and were in pole position to sign Kepa last summer until Real Madrid swooped him.
That was shameful, and it’s only going to get worse. Bayern Munich just lost to Werder Bremen for the first time since 2008, and you really cannot blame anyone except Thomas Tuchel. People will argue against this, but at this point there’s nothing to argue against. The coach has his team playing some of the most diabolical football possible right now, and the results aren’t even what they used to be. This gives us plenty to talk about on the podcast, but we’re not happy about it.
In this episode, INNN tackles the following:
- The lineup: Why bench Thomas Müller AGAIN?
- The return of the U-shaped system.
- Harry Kane is not playing like a striker and that has consequences for everybody.
- Jamal Musiala is wasted in this system.
- Leroy Sané is not playing better on the left and Tuchel is causing havoc by letting him.
- A mini-rant about Müller which you’ve probably heard before, but it needs repeating.
- The midfield doesn’t work and here’s why.
- What does Guerreiro even DO?
- How Alphonso Davies has been made redundant by the current Bayern system.
- Dayot Upamecano has too many responsibilities and that’s a problem.
- A question for the board and their failures — why is Konrad Laimer the starting RB?
- Why doesn’t the board want to invest in the squad?
- Why shouldn’t the board sack Tuchel? It would be in the team’s best interest.
- Who might take over — a shortlist.
- A final word and outro, plus a short preview of the Union Berlin game.
If Real Madrid cannot find a way to bring Alphonso Davies to Spain, it could pursue Bayer Leverkusen’s Alejandro Grimaldo:
Real Madrid will reportedly pursue Bayer Leverkusen full-back Alejandro Grimaldo as an alternative to top target Alphonso Davies.
According to a report by Real Madrid Exclusivo, Alejandro Grimaldo is the subject of interest from Real Madrid. The Merengues are in the market for a left-back ahead of the summer transfer window. And they have set their sights on the Bayer Leverkusen star as an alternative to their top target Alejandro Grimaldo.
Juventus remain keen on a deal for Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who is only available for a permanent transfer or a loan which includes an obligation to buy.
Former Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa appears to be extending his career with a stint at Fluminense:
Ex-Bayern star Douglas Costa (33) has been without a club since October 2023 – until now. As the Brazilian “Globo Esporte” reports, the offensive star is set to move to Fluminense Rio de Janeiro in his home country.