Bayern Munich did not have an easy task in facing FC Augsburg.
The team is battered, the pitch was awful, and things just have not been flowing all that well overall for the Bavarians of late. Bayern Munich was able to escape with a 3-2, but it came at a cost — specifically another major injury to a key player.
Here are some quick hitters on the match:
- Let’s take a look at Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI:
- There were not really any surprises for most folks — and maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised — but starting Coman (again) after a string of lackluster performances just shows Tuchel’s stubbornness.
- Coman, of course, left the game in the first half with an injury and was replaced by Mathys Tel.
- The pitch lived up to its reputation as terrible.
- De Ligt’s handball in the 5th minute was sloppy. He needs to be better than that.
- Bayern Munich was very fortunate in the 12th minute when Elvis Rexhbecaj’s goal was waved off due to a very marginal offside call. I actually think the goal should have counted. I saw the VAR...I still think it was a goal. It just seemed inconsequential...who knows?
- One player who took advantage of the opportunity to get more run was Aleksandar Pavlović, who scored the first goal of the match for the Bavarians. Pavlović did well on a scramble on a corner. It was impressive to see the youngster handle the frantic play in front of the net so well.
- Unfortunately, the corner was also the play where Coman tore his MCL.
- It was not just the goal, however, that was impressive. Pavlović completed 96% of his passes, connected on 4 of 4 long balls, had two tackles, one interception, won 3 of his 7 ground duels, and — most importantly — only lost possession 8 times in 89 minutes (he left with a bad cramp).
- I’m trying not to get too excited about Pavlović, but he has looked really good so far in his young career. The 19-year-old is just handling himself much differently than some of the other young players that Bayern Munich has used in recent seasons. He kind of reminds me of how smoothly Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies handled the transition to the first team.
- Pavlović’s partnership with Goretzka was good. Goretzka had an enticing run into the box in the 15th minute that could have easily been a goal. When he wants to be a problem for the opposition, Goretzka has that type of ability.
- A slew of injuries forced Davies back into the lineup and the Canadian ripped off a spectacular goal in the final minute of stoppage time in the first half. It was mostly impressive because the Canadian did it on his weak foot (which he is not really all that eager to use when shooting). Goretzka had the assist.
- I just do not love how Musiala is playing as Bayern Munich’s attacking midfielder. I think he is not seeing the field the way he once did and that his skill-set would still be best utilized as a wing. Now, with Kingsley Coman out, there is no reason to not move Musiala back out wide — unless he is demanding to play as an attacking midfielder and the club is scared to move him because of it.
- Historically, it feel likes a stint at wing has also gotten Musiala going offensively. Musiala certainly has the tools to play as an attacking midfielder, but his play tells a different story with how he is processing the game from the position right now (Robert Lewandowski might have fought him by now if he was still at Bayern Munich). I also just think he’s a top-flight winger — a true difference maker at the position.
- I can’t be the only one who thinks this, right?
- To be frank, if the next match is any starting quartet other than Harry Kane at striker, Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala on the wings, and Thomas Müller at attacking midfield, then Tuchel has fully lost the plot. Having said that, it would not be altogether shocking to see the manager use Mathys Tel (like he did against FC Augsburg) or even use Davies at wing now that Raphaël Guerreiro is making a case for more playing time at left-back and in the central midfield.
- Guerreiro was not great as a right-back, but that was to be expected.
- I also would not be shocked to see Bayern Munich seek to add a wing via loan or a permanent transfer before the transfer deadline ends.
- I didn’t love the play of De Ligt and Eric Dier together, but — like in the central midfield — partnerships take some time to come together and I believe that the duo is experienced enough to be better in the coming weeks.
- Mathys Tel might be hitting a little bit of a wall. I did not love his decision-making. He was not awful by any means (and he did nearly score...if it wasn’t for that dastardly woodwork), but this is going to be a very tough spot for him if Tuchel opts to play him as a winger regularly.
- Ermedin Demirović was a handful, wasn’t he? He is an underappreciated player. On Demirović’s first goal he beat Harry Kane to an aerial ball from Kevin Mbabu. What struck me as weird is that Kane was defending that deep in the box during free play.
- One of the more irritating things about Tuchel is his subbing. This Bayern Munich team is banged up and is tired from the accumulation of mileage over the course of this season. Tuchel needs to go to his bench earlier and more often.
- Kane added Bayern Munich’s third goal in the 58th, which ended up being vital.
- Bayern Munich had more problems with FC Augsburg than I was comfortable with. Shorthanded or not, things still just do not look “right.”
- Manuel Neuer’s careless punch that resulted in a penalty in the 86th minute could have been disastrous. We rarely see the captain make a mistake, but that was rough. He did ultimately save Sven Michel’s PK attempt (it caught too much of the net for the rangy Neuer), but even the GOAT has a slip-up every once in a while.
- Similarly, it is hard to discern what Thomas Müller was doing with a reckless challenge in the box on Demirović in extra time. Neuer could not bail out his old buddy on this one as Demirović buried his PK attempt.
- Credit to FC Augsburg, they did not give up the fight. It was a gutty showing for Die Fuggerstädter.
- Overall, Bayern Munich played better, but not much better — and not good enough. The “a win is a win” philosophy always eventually rears its true head. A team is either mentally built to “survive” through adverse situations or mentally built to continuously put themselves in these types of situations because they just are not as good as they need to be. Right now, I am leaning toward Bayern being the latter.
According to Sky Sport journalist Florian Plettenberg, Bayer Leverkusen is “optimistic” that it can keep Xabi Alonso away from Liverpool FC:
Bayer 04 Leverkusen is aware that Xabi #Alonso is on FC Liverpool's list.— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) January 27, 2024
➡️ However, at this stage they remain optimistic and assume Alonso won't leave the club in the summer | #LFC
➡️ One reason: Alonso is already fully integrated into the squad planning and is building… pic.twitter.com/MpDgyqJNzj
Bayer 04 Leverkusen is aware that Xabi #Alonso is on FC Liverpool’s list.
➡️ However, at this stage they remain optimistic and assume Alonso won’t leave the club in the summer | #LFC
➡️ One reason: Alonso is already fully integrated into the squad planning and is building the squad for the 24/25 season…
His contract is valid until 2026.
Jürgen Klopp’s announcement that he was leaving Liverpool after the season certainly opened things up for Alonso if he wants the gig, so that optimism might be a “pie in the sky” view of things.
And — not to nitpick — Alonso giving this response when asked about potentially joining Liverpool probably will not quell the speculation at all:
“Can you rule out becoming new Liverpool manager next season?”.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 26, 2024
Xabi Alonso: “Honestly… I don't have a direct answer (laughs). I'm happy here right now, that's for sure, and only thinking about Leverkusen”. pic.twitter.com/7zoPO5OFcd
Bayern Munich has had yet another insane week.
A loss to Werder Bremen, a win over Union Berlin, a few key injuries, a dozen or so transfer rumors...as the Talking Heads once said, “Same as it ever was.”
To help stay competitive through this stretch Bayern Munich might have to spend more money than it is really comfortable with. Needless to say, a lot can still happen...but will anything actually go down? Let’s discuss:
- Analyzing the state of the team and why Thomas Tuchel still seems to be refusing to do the obvious. There could be a disconnect between Tuchel and his bosses, but no move is imminent.
- Would Hansi Flick come back and would it work if he did?
- Does Tuchel hate Leon Goretzka?
- Examining the latest transfer rumors surrounding Joshua Kimmich.
- What should Bayern Munich do with Alphonso Davies?
- Is there any reason to starting being concerned with Leroy Sané?
- Should we expect any surprises at the end of this transfer window?
Speaking of that Liverpool gig...do you know who might else love to make that jump? That’s right, Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel — at least per journalist Ben Jacobs:
Former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would “absolutely adore” the chance to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, but he is unlikely to be the right fit for the job and what owners FSG want because of his way of working, journalist Ben Jacobs has told GIVEMESPORT.
Former Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso is seen as one of the early favourites for the job and has led Bayer Leverkusen to being serious title contenders in Germany this season – they are unbeaten in 18 league games this term and lie four points above Bayern Munich.
Jacobs previously told GIVEMESPORT back in November that the Spaniard was turning heads at Liverpool with how well he was doing, as they began to think about a long-term succession plan to Klopp – a situation which has developed quicker than they may have thought it would just a few months ago. Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Roberto De Zerbi are among the favourites to replace outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp.
Meanwhile, Dean Jones has also told us that Roberto De Zerbi of Brighton and Hove Albion could be the “outstanding candidate” who may be on the Reds’ shortlist, but there are likely to be more names and some surprises too. One of those would certainly be Tuchel, who was sacked by Chelsea in September 2022 despite winning the Champions League in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, as well as leading them to two FA Cup finals.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT about Tuchel and his prospects of replacing Klopp, Jacobs said:
“It’s funny, Tuchel’s kind of saying he’s more appreciated in England than Germany and there could be a situation where he comes into the mix, which would be a little bit of a surprise, but I think he’d return to the Premier League in a heartbeat. And I think he’d love the opportunity to go to Liverpool and then show Chelsea what they missed out on. I think he would absolutely adore that.”
However, the German may come unstuck when it comes to being in contention for the role because Liverpool and FSG know that the personality of a manager is so important in the modern era – especially at a club like the Merseyside outfit.
“Liverpool are no mugs. They’re well aware of the importance of someone’s personality and their fit outside of football coaching in this model, because even though it’s all change with manager, sporting director, FSG are still there and leading on everything. So if you’re not an FSG fit, you’re not getting that job. I’d be surprised by [Julian] Nagelsmann and that might rule out a surprise like Tuchel too. He’s not necessarily that collaborative, it’s his way or the highway, not always in an aggressive sense but it’s very much like he knows what he’s doing and he comes into a club, and it’s his culture. I think you have to walk into Liverpool and understand FSG’s culture, I think any manager needs to understand the fan culture and the club culture.”
According to RMC Sport journalist Fabrice Hawkins, Paris Saint-Germain is going to take another run at Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich over the summer:
Hoffenheim attacker Maximilian Beier is drawing serious interest from Brentford:
With Ivan Toney likely to be the subject of intense interest from Premier League clubs this summer, it appears Brentford are already planning with the future in mind. Christian Falk reported that the Bees’ interest in Maximilian Beier remains ‘very concrete’, with the club testing the waters for a potential January transfer.
“There’s still very concrete interest from Brentford in Maximilian Beier. I heard they asked if he wanted to move in the current window,” the German reporter informed CaughtOffside in his exclusive column. “They were open to spending €30m on him but he doesn’t want to go just yet as he’s aware he’s being watched by many Premier League clubs including Burnley, Everton and Liverpool. He wants to see what will happen in the summer.
“At the moment, the release clause that he has in his contract isn’t active in the winter – just for the summer, at which point it will be €32.5m. Not far away from €30m! “Every year he stays at Hoffenheim it goes down by €2.5m, so it’s getting cheaper and Beier knows he has many chances for the next step but he doesn’t want to make it this winter.”