3 Things We Noticed: RB Leipzig – FC Bayern 4-5 (2-1)

FC Bayern wins the last away game of the season. The German champion defeated the runner-up from Leipzig, with Arjen Robben earning the man of the match award. Author: Christopher • Translator: Luca

It was the only Bundesliga game on Saturday that had no relevance for the table. Both teams’ final placings were already certain before the match.

3 things we noticed:

1. Lacking control in midfield

At first, FC Bayern had no solution whatsoever against the pressing approach by Leipzig, in a 4-4-2 formation that was very well-executed. They pressed high up the field, but also drew back in several situations when it seemed necessary. Especially in a more defensive position, there were very few open spaces between the halfway-line and their back-line. As a result, FC Bayern formed the dreaded U-formation in build-up play, which was quite fragile and caused dangerous counter attacks.

All parts of the team, particularly Thiago (73.1% successful passes), Boateng (72.4%) and Ribéry (62,5%) made too many mistakes, which Leipzig benefited of massively. Regarding shots on target, Leipzig lead with 9:6, with better scoring opportunities in their favour as well.

There were way too many situations in which Leipzig approached FC Bayern’s backline with pace after lost balls and overall insufficient defensive execution on Bayern’s side. All that did not improve in the second half up until the 75th minute, when Leipzig tried to play more passively way. From this point onwards, FC Bayern gained a bit more stability in midfield. Vidal was certainly a big factor in this matter, being way more present in duels than Xabi Alonso. After 80 minutes, the possession rate increased up to 70%, with Leipzig only executing 67% of their passes successfully.

At this very moment, FC Bayern finally had control of the game for the first time.

2. Naivety

Last time FC Bayern conceded four goals in one game in the Bundesliga was in the opener of the second half of the 2014/2015 season, in which they lost 4:1 against VfL Wolfsburg. The similarities are scary. At the time, the team struggled to avoid counter attacks, as well. On Saturday they showed a similar performance.

There were simply too many counter attacks. Repeatedly playing long balls to Werner or Forsberg was enough to cause huge problems for the defense. No balance between offence and defense was noticeable, which was also confirmed by Philipp Lahm just after the game. The victory should not hide the fact that FC Bayern evidently has defensive problems. They conceded three goals against Dortmund, four goals in Madrid, and now four more against Leipzig. The balance, which they showed for quite some time, is missing right now. All of that should be considered in the recap of the 2016/2017 season.

Another factor on Saturday appeared to be the harsh approach by Leipzig. A total of 19 fouls, most of them tactical, caused a lot of trouble for FC Bayern. This might have been one of the reasons why the team acted naïvely and did not gain any control of the game.

Alaba sores the 4-4 equaliser.
(Photo: Boris Streubel / Bongarts / Getty Images)

3. High morale

Despite all difficulties, the whole team showed a high moral. Up until the 84th minute, they were down 4-2 in a game without importance.

However, motivated by atmosphere and emotions, FC Bayern refused to surrender. They got one goal back and shortly after managed to equalize. Due to the passiveness of the opponent, Arjen Robben even scored the winner in injury time. It was the ninth time this season a goal was scored in the 90th minute or later. All that shows the dependence on quality players, such as Arjen Robben, who are able to have an impact late in a game. You might call this a special trait, earned over time. The team has turned around several games, late over the past few years, but they should not make it a habit in the future. Even though the feeling after a late victory is always incredible.

3.1. Who wants it most?

Arjen Robben.

RB Leipzig – FC Bayern 4-5 (2-1)
RB LeipzigGulacsi – Ilsanker, Upamecano, Compper, Bernardo – Sabitzer (69. Benno Schmitz), Keita, Demme, Forsberg – Werner (80. Khedira), Poulsen (76. Selke)
BenchMüller, Farnke, Burke, Kaiser
FC BayernStarke – Lahm, Boateng, Alaba, Bernat – Alonso (61. Vidal), Kimmich (67. Müller) – Robben, Thiago, Ribéry (44. Costa) – Lewandowski
BenchWeinkauf, Rafinha, Coman, Sanches
Goals1-0 Sabitzer (2′); 1-1 Lewandowski (17′, penalty for handball); 2-1 Werner (29′, penalty for foul); 3-1 Poulsen (47′); 3-2 Thiago (60′); 4-2 Werner (65′); 4-3 Lewandowski (84′); 4-4 Alaba (90’+1); 4-5 Robben (90’+5)
CardsYellow: – / Alonso, Vidal, Costa, Thiago, Boateng
RefereeTobias Stieler (Hamburg)
Attendance42.558 (sold out)


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Comments
  1. Spell Checker

    I think you mean morale, and not “moral”.

    1. Bettina

      We do indeed, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve just changed it.

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