With a five point lead and the chance to win the “Herbstmeisterschaft”, Bayern went into the home game against FC Ingolstadt. The “Schanzer” play a surprisingly solid season so far and are on par after 15 games to crack the famous 40-point mark. Ralph Hasenhüttl ‘s team lays its focus on defensive order and is only surpassed by FCB in terms of fewest goals conceded.
On the other side of the pitch Hasenhüttl’s team has the worst record in terms of goals scored, having found the back of the net only 11 times this season. Especially in away games, Ingolstadt play very carefully, even destructive. The surprising 0:4 defeat in Hanover two weeks ago was the first time FCI conceded more than two goals in an away game. Thanks to this minimalist style of play, they lost only two of their eight away matches.
3 things we noticed:
1. Waiting for the winter break
A cup game against Darmstadt and a league game in Hannover – only two games left and Bayern finally have made it into the winter break. After a period of (at times) superb performances so far this season, the last couple of games have become somewhat tougher for the Reds. The squad is now thinned out to the last men standing, against Ingolstadt the “deepest squad in the world” had to leave two seats on the bench empty.
At half-time you had to fear the worst. The remaining players didn’t get their game on and the offensive actions were solely depending on the 19-year-old Kingsley Coman. The circumstances resembled the situation FCB was in last spring, when a similarly thinned out squad lacked power and ideas.
Even Pep Guardiola seemed to need a break. Again he began with the same formation he fielded against Gladbach and Hertha, fresh legs or fresh tactical ideas were nowhere to be seen. Although it is quite understandable by the injury crisis, Bayern appeared burned out.
But then came a sign of life in the second half. The team played more confident and unpredictable football. Even Guardiola was again showing his “old form”, when he reorganized half of his team and thus decided the game for good. The difference is also evident in the statistics. In the first half, the Reds had a passing accuracy of just 76% and only managed to have 3 shots on goal, Ingolstadt had 6. In the second 45 minutes, however, there were 11:3 shots on goal for Bayern and the passing accuracy went up to 87% – real Bayern values.
Against Darmstadt and Hanover no one should expect miracles. The ultimate goal must be two wins, no matter how. However, the winter break should be used not only for regeneration, but also for in-depth analyzes of the past games. As anyone could witness in the first half in Gladbach and especially in the second half against Ingolstadt, it is also possible to dominate opponents and earn chances without two or three creative wingers. These situations must be practiced and mastered, because the next wave of injury is never far away.
2. The classic Neuer
There has already been some criticism of Manuel Neuer in this season, e.g. after his blunders against Schalke and Arsenal. Also his passing abilities haven’t been as convincing as one would expect from him – surprisingly frequently his long balls flew out of bounds.
In the game against Ingolstadt, Neuer was less needed as a sweeper keeper, despite the aggressive pressing of the opponent. Especially in the first 45 minutes his teammates were so overwhelmed and confused that an organized playmaking by the goalkeeper was hardly possible.
Against Ingostadt, Neuer was needed more as a classic shot-stopping goalkeeper. He had to stop Stefan Lex twice in one-on-ones and also had to save a dangerous shot by Hinterseer. All Ingolstadt chances occurred when the score line was still 0:0. Whether Bayern would have been able to overcome a deficit today may be doubted. Therefore it’s absolutely fair to say that Manuel Neuer had a large share in the victory today.
3. The captain with a good sense
Philipp Lahm has also been criticized and rightly so. After a decade of constant world class performances, he hasn’t quite reached his old strength again after his long injury break a year ago. The veteran was dribbled past on numerous counter attacks down his side, as you would not expect from a man with his experience.
But against Ingolstadt Philipp Lahm showed a great strength: his good sense for moments. When the team was about to slip into dropping points, the captain set a good example. Especially after the change into a more offensive position Lahm was repeatedly positively focused in the attacking play. He brought a willingness to make runs, creativity and control into the game. He was always ready to sprint the extra mile, aware of the situation.
Scoring the decisive 2:0 only played a minor role in Lahm’s performance today. The important aspect in his chance to score the opening goal in the 50th minute was not him missing the shot, but that he was involved. In a much improved second half Philipp Lahm was one of, perhaps the best player. Many things went down his right wing in offense.
In addition, Bayern’s performance also benefited from Guardiola’s reorganization because Rafinha plays significantly more mature and balanced on the right side than on the left. It could help the team tremendously if Guardiola decides to field Joshua Kimmich, Holger Badstuber or maybe even Arturo Vidal at the left-back position for the last two games. Not only because of Rafinha, but also because – in a world without Costa, Robben, Ribery and Götze – Philipp Lahm is probably the best option on the right wing. Lahm has the abilities to better control the game and have a better influence on the other players in a more advanced position.
|FC BAYERN – FC INGOLSTADT 2-0 (0-0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Lahm, Boateng (70. Alonso), Badstuber, Rafinha – Vidal (51. Thiago), Kimmich, Martinez – Müller (79. Rode), Lewandowski, Coman|
|FC Ingolstadt||Özcan – Levels, Matip, Bregerie, Bauer – Groß, Roger, Cohen (53. Wannenwetsch) – Lex (68. Christiansen), Hinterseer (78. Multhaup), Leckie|
|Goals||1-0 Lewandowski (65.), 2-0 Lahm(75.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Boateng, Martinez / Levels|
|Referee||Michael Weiner (Hasede)|
|Attendance||75.000 (sold out)|