For the third match in a row Bayern Munich's offense was anemic and ineffective. Despite the fact that Bayern won 2-0 over Stuttgart, it was overall a poor performance that relied on two individual moments of brilliance to actually create a goal. Bayern Munich put together only 8 shots all evening, of which only 5 came from open play and only 3 were on target. Rewind to Tuesday's anemic 1-1- draw with Schalke 04 and you see a 10 shots, 6 from open play, and 1 on target performance. Something is clearly wrong.
Bayern Munich are a team that thrives on goals from open play. As a team that averages a league leading 14 shots per game from open play and has created 31 goals from open play this season, these totals are indicative of some very serious problems in attack, though the opposition's tactics certainly haven't helped matters.
With both Schalke and Stuttgart opting to deploy in extremely defensive formations, Schalke in their 3-5-2 and Stuttgart in their 4-5-1 that used fullbacks as wide midfielders, these were oppositions specifically setup to stop and ultimately repel Bayern Munich's attacks. Combined with a prevailing strategy that included man marking and immediately pressuring Xabi Alonso, FC Bayern have had little to no success in linking play between the lines in their attack.
In attack, Arjen Robben has found himself as the primary playmaker cutting in from the right side. However, with Robert Lewandowski marked and contained by opposition centerbacks, Robben largely hasn't found an able partner with which to combine. Thomas Müller has had a rare run of poor form in addition to getting locked down by defenses who stifle his biggest strength - creative movement - while Mario Götze despite all his brilliant technical skill isn't good at manipulating space and stretching defenses. With those two seemingly helpless and Robert Lewandowski otherwise occupied it has been the one-man Arjen Robben show the last two matches. In a nutshell what Bayern Munich really need in attack is a healthy Franck Ribery to combine the best of Götze and Müller, freeing each of them up to focus on what they each do best.
With Xabi Alonso in effect out of the attack, the primary attacking impetus through the middle has fallen to Bastian Schweinsteiger. The only problem is Schweinsteiger is not particularly good at this type of play. He's much better suited to shifting the ball wide and combining with his teammates as he moves into the space that opens up. On top of that, making late runs and exploiting open lanes are where Schweinsteiger makes his biggest impact. For all of his skill, a Schweinsteiger/Alonso double pivot isn't going to work as long as Alonso is subjected to man marking tactics from opposition defenses. Either Pep Guardiola needs to bring another option into midfield alongside the duo, i.e. Sebastian Rode (who is very good at exactly this type of play), or he needs to find a way to get Xabi Alonso free. Considering this man marking tactic has now been deployed in three straight matches with zero response from Guardiola the later option doesn't seem promising.
With one week until their next match against Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich need to get their attack re-balanced now, because after next Saturday, there is no room for error as they head to Ukraine and a UEFA Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.