It is difficult to just gloss over the negative air surrounding Bayern Munich right now. The weekend loss at Bayer Leverkusen confirmed a fear that has been lingering in the underbelly of this season thus far. Will this finally be the year that Bayern is beaten by another club to the Bundesliga title? All of the evidence is on display and Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen side do not look like they are going to lose any time soon with just how good they have been consistently performing.
Thomas Tuchel’s job has not been made any easier with the amount of injuries he has had to deal with the season, but that is still not an excuse the manager of FC Bayern can use. It does not lessen the expectation weighted on his shoulders by any means, especially after a summer in which the club secured Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur in what was the marquee move of the summer transfer window.
Joshua Kimmich was one of several players that had missed out on a handful of matches prior to the Leverkusen clash. Kimmich had personally missed two matches in between the Leverkusen defeat and the 1-0 win over Union Berlin on January 24th. Having been deemed fully fit for the match against Die Werkself, he was expecting to be thrust back into Tuchel’s starting eleven in midfield, but that was not the case. Tuchel elected to start Leon Goretzka and Aleksander Pavlović in the center midfield ahead of a back five comprised of Eric Dier, Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae, Noussair Mazraoui, and new singing Sacha Boey.
Kimmich was not exactly thrilled with not starting the match. “In the past two weeks I did everything I could to get back quickly and play from the start. At the end of the day, the coach makes decisions that we players have to accept,” he vented in a slightly diplomatic tone to Bild (via @iMiaSanMia), though it is still understood he very much wanted to start.
Apparently, Tuchel felt it would be too premature to break up the midfield pairing of Goretzka and Pavlović, and that is why he chose to stick with that pair in Leverkusen. Ironically enough, Pavlović had a poor outing, but no one in Bayern’s squad was really able to leave the BayArena with much credit, so Kimmich instead of the youngster might not have made too much of a difference.
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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