Following the loss in Dortmund that caused the Bavarians to lose the league lead, it was now time to meet FK Rostov. An necessity to keep the dream of winning the CL group alive and an opportunity to regain confidence.
After all, and despite decent results against PSV and Atletico, who would expect the Russian vice runner-up to be an actual challenger?
3 things we noticed
1. Douglas Costa
These 90 minutes were a prime example of what Douglas Costa is about – both good and bad. In the first half, he claimed control of the Bavarian offense, instinctively had a better positioning than Franck Ribery on the other wing and caused some headaches with his explosive dribbles.
He’s offering a pleasant mix of individual actions and smart movements. Costa appears to be one of a few players who know how to benefit from Ancelotti’s system. That he scored the first goal of the match looked like a well-earned reward at that point.
Unfortunately, it all went downhill from then on. His unfortunate involvement in Rostov’s first goal aside, the Brazilian again failed to control a match throughout an entire match.
Costa still is the wild card on the wing, a player who can always create something out of nothing but is not capable of keeping the Bavarian enging going for 90 minutes.
It can be doubted if he will ever grow out of this role as winger number three.
2. Renato Sanches
The Portuguese midfielder remains a question mark in his first year in Germany. This time however, Sanches was the one-eyed man amongst the blind.
For the first time, he gave us a hint about his potential role at Bayern. Both FCB goals were created by Sanches’ actions from the left wing.
Maybe this is a sign that, in Sanches, the club didn’t sign a vidalesque box-to-box player but a roaming midfielder who adds width and a bigger area of movement to the central midfield.
In the future, it might become a frequent idea to have Sanches overload one wing, reducing that paralyzing balance in Bayern’s inflexible formation.
The player still has to get used to the club and vice versa. Slowly but surely, this is happening. Renato Sanches is limping his way to Munich.
3. No alarms and no surprises
Such a weird loss, while fielding a heavily rotated lineup, shouldn’t be overrated or looked at as an isolated case. But…
There’s a growing feeling that Carlo Ancelotti overrates his players while demanding too little from them. Over the last few months, Bayern have proven that, despite all those star players, they’re not an autodidactic monster.
The – especially tactically – conservative approach of the Italian coach has forced the team into several unpleasant situations. Variability, self-understanding and creativity are foreign concepts at this club right now.
Now it would obviously be unfair to blame only the coach for the disappointing playing style and the odd results. After all, it’s not like only he caused Thomas Müller to stop scoring goals, like only he caused Franck Ribery to have an awful positional awareness, like only he caused Xabi Alonso to go into tacklings like an amateur. Nevertheless, the impression remains that this team shouldn’t be so reliably mediocre, even in a crisis.
While Ancelotti managed to solve the first tactical problem by pushing the wingers inside, we have yet to see a solution for the issues caused by a clinically deserted offensive midfield.
We can’t even talk about failed attempts, as there simply haven’t been any attempts at all.
Not only the collective is facing unnecessary struggles. Certain individual performances are affected negatively by the unchangeable system. Following the recent matches in Dortmund and Rostov, two names that deserve a special mention are Boateng and Lewandowski.
The former is failing to contribute to the game with his excellent passing skills. While, in recent years, there were set plays in order to create gaps that Jerome Boateng could pass into, right now his playmaking is one of no alternatives and no bigger plan, as he has no better passing options than to hoof it forward.
Robert Lewandowski is a main victim of this development. Again and again he has to chase long balls like a maniac, just to realize that there are no teammates nearby. If it currently seems like the Polish striker isn’t a real part of the Bayern game, it’s not his fault. Lewandowski is starving up front while the area behind him is deserted.
Tonight’s loss was not a one-off, it was the result of a continuous negative development. It is time to sound the alarm at Säbener Straße, it is time for Carlo Ancelotti to surprise himself, his players and the opponents.
|FK Rostov – FC Bayern 3:2 (1:1)|
|FK Rostov||Dzhanaev – Kalachev (87. Terentyev) , Mevlja, Navas, Granat, Kudryashov – Erokhin, Gatskan, Noboa – Azmoun (82. Grigoryev), Poloz (90+1 Ezatolahi)|
|Subs||Medvedev – Doumbia, Bayramyan, Prepelita|
|FC Bayern München||Ulreich – Rafinha, Boateng (58. Hummels), Badstuber, Bernat – Lahm, Thiago, Sanches (73. Müller) – Costa, Lewandowski, Ribéry|
|Subs||Starke – Alonso, Alaba, Kimmich, Green|
|Goals||0:1 Costa (36.), 1:1 Azmoun (44.), 2:1 Poloz (49./penalty), 2.2 Bernat (52.), 3:2 Noboa (68.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Granat, Gatskan / Boateng|
|Referee||Artur Dias (Portugal)|