3 Things We Noticed: Bayer 04 – FC Bayern 1-3 (0-1)

FC Bayern won the first competitive match of the year 2018 in Leverkusen with 1-3, taking full advantage of their set pieces. Author: Christopher • Translator: Dennis

The last time FC Bayern had won a 90-minute game in Leverkusen was March 16th, also under Jupp Heynckes.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen - FC Bayern, GrundformationenBayer 04 – FC Bayern, starting formations

Three Things We Noticed

1. Shaky build-up

Bayer’s high pressing led to mistakes by FC Bayern. Boateng, Süle, but also Ulreich often had to resort to hoofing the ball during build-up. The result was a pass accuracy of only 79% after 35 minutes.

The three players mentioned only brought five of their first 15 long passes on target.

Especially in the early stages James, Martinez and Vidal were rather too high or in the cover shadows of the pressing by Brandt and Havertz. An organized build-up of the game was not possible. Only with increasing progression this became better.

Combinations resulted from overloadings, when Bayer was too late or not consistent enough during the pressing process, then spaces appeared in the middle or in the left half-space. Especially via Alaba, Ribery and James direct, vertically oriented actions were created. However, without creating actual finishing situations out of open play.

It only became dangerous after set pieces.

2. Wagner not yet a factor

Jupp Heynckes’ big transfer wish, the second striker in Bayern’s squad, was not yet a factor in this match. Despite the injury of Lewandowski, the Bayern coach benched the only winter transfer. This was already indicated in the final press conference. Jupp Heynckes, who has often been announcing starting XI appearances in the press conferences this season, was extremely cautious about whether Wagner would start.

Heynckes opted for variability with Müller, who repeatedly moved to the wing and thus made it much more difficult for the Leverkusen back three to position themselves.

So Wagner became a substitution for the last quarter of an hour. The extent to which the back up striker could become a factor this season will depend largely on how serious Lewandowski’s patellar tendon problems are.

3. Ribery’s mixed season

Franck Ribery had a good performance against Groß-Aspach. Three goals and many offensive actions. In the Bundesliga it has not yet worked for him this season. The Frenchman has not scored or assisted a goal yet. Although he has most of the key passes per 90 minutes at Bayern, there was no measurable result from these scenes.

Of course, Ribery was absent for a long time after he got injured against Hertha BSC. Nevertheless, including the game against Leverkusen he had 10 games and six of them from the beginning.

Against Leverkusen, the Frenchman’s problems were clearly visible at times: he is now lacking the speed to win the direct duels. In 45 minutes he could only win one dribbling and play a key pass. But there was nothing really worth mentioning.

The second half of the game also began erratically, but in the 59th minute Ribery had one of those actions that still distinguishes him. With a lot of space, the Frenchman prevailed against Tah and converted for the 2-0 win during a strong Leverkusen phase.

Despite the goal, it seems that Ribery no longer is able to influence the game and control it over the full distance, but can only set individual highlights.

Jupp Heynckes is now more in demand than ever as a moderator. Kingsley Coman convinced in Ribery’s absence with continuous starting eleven matches and performance. In the long run, Heynckes can’t really get past him. Ribery could also hit a weary opponent with fresh legs coming of the bench.

A contract extension for the soon to be 35 year old is more uncertain than ever when Ribery overestimates his own possibilities.

Bayer 04 – FC Bayern 1-3 (0-1)
LeverkusenLeno – Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Bellarabi (60. Henrichs), L. Bender, Kohr (65. Alario), Bailey – Havertz – Volland, Brandt (77. Mehmedi)
BenchÖzcan – Retsos, Baumgartlinger, Aránguiz
FC BayernUlreich – Rafinha, Boateng, Süle, Alaba – James, Martínez, Vidal – Robben (65. Coman), Müller (90.+2 Tolisso), Ribéry (79. Wagner)
BenchStarke – Kimmich, Bernat, Rudy
Goals0-1 Martínez (32.), 0-2 Ribéry (59.), 1-2 Volland (71.), 1-3 James (90.+1)
CardsYellow: Volland, Bellarabi / Müller, Rafinha
RefereeDaniel Siebert (Berlin)
Attendance30,210 (sold-out)

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