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Bayer Leverkusen knew Bayern Munich lost the plot before the match with 3-4-2-1 setup

Well, that did not work for Bayern Munich.

Darmstadt 98 - Bayer Leverkusen Photo by Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images

For Bayern Munich, it’s match against Bayer Leverkusen was over before it even began — or at least that is how Die Werkself felt.

Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel’s bizarre lineup decisions and a whimsical change of formation left the Bavarians looking the already had no idea how to deal with Bayer Leverkusen.

“It was a nice feeling when we saw that in the dressing room. We felt how much respect they have for us. That gave us the courage to go into the game with self-confidence and say: ‘Okay, they know what’s coming and we definitely want to stand up to them.’ The fact that Bayern played a back three system was a change for us at first. In the end, we just prepared ourselves for what they did. We knew what we had to do,” center-back Jonathan Tah told kicker (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

For Bayer Leverkusen manager — and former Bayern munich midfielder — Xabi Alonso, the move was not even a surprise. The Leverkusen coaching staff had prepared for such a drastic change.

“I had in the back of my mind that now they had Kim, now Upamecano was getting fit so they had four center-backs; they could play a back three. Thomas [Tuchel] has played brilliantly with that system so we were ready to control that as well. From the 4-2-3-1 to the 3-4-3 and I think we have controlled well, to find the right moment when to press, when to wait, who could have the ball, who could not have the ball, and defensively for me it was an outstanding performance,” Alonso told Bundesliga.com (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

Alonso credited the commitment to pressing from his attacking group for disrupting Bayern Munich’s flow.

“For me, the defensive work of Nathan (Tella), Flo (Wirtz) and Amine Adli has been fantastic. They chose the right time to go and press the centre-back, when they needed to cut the passes to the midfielders, they were not jumping to the double six and creating the space,” said Alonso. “(Jamal) Musiala and (Leroy) Sané were waiting to find this space, (Harry) Kane was dropping — he likes to drop — so we have taken many right decisions, when and where to press and because of that we have been able to control the game, most of the time without the ball.”

In a nutshell, Bayer Leverkusen was prepared to deal with any tricks Tuchel had up his sleeve — and the first place club did so with aplomb.


Looking for a more in-depth review of the game, or do you just want to wallow in our misery? Then check out our postgame podcast! Chuck and INNN talk about Tuchel’s shortcomings and why Bayern Munich were outclassed by Bayer Leverkusen. Listen to it below or on Spotify.

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