Bayern Munich’s Englische Woche saw them win the midweek fixture against Union Berlin, but not without drama. Eric Dier made his Bayern debut coming on for the injured Dayot Upamecano at half time. Bayern took the lead seconds into the second half as Raphaël Guerreiro fired in off the rebound. Minutes later, what would’ve been Harry Kane’s record-breaking goal was ruled offside. The game didn’t end there because soon after, Leroy Sané got slapped by Union coach Nenad Bjelica — who was eventually sent off — as a brawl took place on the sidelines. Here are the takeaways from a quite chaotic game.
Inability to make lethal passes in attack
Something clearly evident this game was Bayern’s inability to get the ball into dangerous spaces. The first half made it exceedingly clear as Bayern’s forwards just couldn’t get the ball to the right player in the box.
The preferred mode of attack seemed to be taking excess long shots or making crosses, both of which were atrocious (more on this in a bit).
Yes, Union Berlin did incredible to repeatedly reposition their backline and ruthlessly press Bayern, suffocating Bayern’s attack — but they are 15th in the Bundesliga for a reason and being Bayern Munich, you must expect more.
“Here, Harry!” — Bayern need to get the ball to Harry Kane more often
Two things: the lack of runners behind defensive lines and service to Kane.
Complementary to the initial observation, Bayern has a lack of players who make runs behind defensive lines. As a result, through balls become a lot more uncommon. Now usually, Kane’s goalscoring prowess covers this up well, but as the service to Bayern’s main man declines, the problem becomes more and more evident.
But why is the ball not getting to Kane? It is not an inability to create chances, but much rather the players constantly choosing to shoot from a difficult position outside the box... or cross.
It is damning that none of Bayern’s wingers possess the ability to complete a cross. Kingsley Coman’s disasterclass tonight saw him make a total of zero successful crosses out of nine attempts. Leroy Sané replicated the feat, although he did manage to dribble well through the game.
The forwards simply need to find Kane, And look how Kane did when he did get the ball — two shots: one of which hit the woodwork and was then converted by Guerreiro and the other hit the back of the net, only to be ruled offside.
Good improvement, but much to be desired
You don’t just beat Bayern Munich and not expect a massive reaction the very next game. Unfortunately, that did not go as well as expected.
The players did not have the fire and passion one would expect from a Bayern team after falling the previous match. They were not ruthless. It is disappointing, but has become a common tendency nowadays.
Yes, head coach Thomas Tuchel made some important tweaks, such as shifting Sané back to the right and pushing Guerreiro to left-back — both of whom excelled. Bayern also did well to resist the never ending Union press. But it was not the reaction you’d expect. There was a lot left to be desired tactically because the team still lacked a clear game plan.
Tuchel has work to do if he does not wish to remain on the hotseat.