Last weekend Köln put the break on a little negative run with a win against Hannover 96. It was the first victory after four games in which Köln only collected one point.
3 things we noticed
1. “Minimalistenfußball” (getting something out of a game, with only very little effort)
In the end the team of Pep Guardiola was only capable of creating one single real scoring opportunity. In the first half, Bayern had two shots on goal. In the second half, only four more were added. The extraordinary scoring efficiency of Robert Lewandowski, who can also impose danger from outside the box, eventually secured Bayern’s success. It was already the 25th goal of the season for the Pole. Given the recent weeks, with the physically and mentally very tiring Champions League matches against Juventus, it was pretty much expectable to see such a team performance, but the magnitude of the performance dip was still surprising.
Especially four of the five new players in the starting formation were not able to impress offensively. The duo Bernat/Rafinha on the wings cannot create danger against an opponent with a back 5. Rafinha played only five of his 90 passes forward and none of them into the box. 30 passes from Rafinha went straight to Kimmich, so clearly backwards. Bernat had similar values. After the opening goal the team lacked the drive to score again. The full-backs played completely without risk, thus putting the wingers in 1v2 or even 1v3 situations. This game follows a line of uninspirational away games this season, like at Hannover, Bremen or Hamburg.
2. Rode is not a factor
In the previous week Mario Götze earned praise for his performance against Bremen, especially by many tactic experts. Through clever movements, he repeatedly opened up spaces and created 1v1 duels for Coman. Sebastian Rode is it not that type of player. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola put his faith in Rode and rewarded him with only the second start of the season.
Last year it would have been a perfect match for Rode, who brought physicality and passion into the game, especially against teams from the mid-table. Against Köln Rode only received the attribute “always trying”. One cannot deny his will, but the lack of match practice was clearly visible. In the first half Rode was focused on security. Many passes went backwards (which even reinforced the problem with Rafinha). Rode did not play through balls to Lewandowski or Coman. Occasionally he even went into unnecessary duels in the half spaces.
Even defensively, usually the core competence of Sebastian Rode, you could see the lacking match practise. He won only 29% of his duels. With this performance, Rode will have a hard time to get further games, considering the nearly healthy squad .
After the season, all parties will need to assess the situation. It will mainly depend on whether the player can be satisfied with a role as being number 14 to 17 in the squad.
3. It was not the last game of this type
The FC Bayern fans should have no illusions. In the remaining season there will be more games like this. After the international break the next opponents will be Eintracht Frankfurt, Benfica Lissabon, VfB Stuttgart and Benfica again.
Unlike the last two years under Pep Guardiola, the team can not shift all their attention on the Champions League. The five point gap to the second-placed Borussia Dortmund sound comfortable, but it can melt away within two bad games. As long as Dortmund keeps on collection points, Guardiola must take the Bundesliga seriously and uphold the concentration.
He has the necessary squad to do it. Players like Götze, Benatia, Martinez, Coman and Co. must be able to make the difference in this league. More than ever a good squad management will be key in the next few weeks. Players are not allowed to get injured again and need to be brought into the best possible shape for the upcoming games. This applies not only to the first 11 players, who play against Torino or Dortmund, but also to the players who should collect the necessary points in the Bundesliga.
|1. FC Köln – FC Bayern 0:1 (0:1)|
|1. FC Köln||Horn – Sörensen, Maroh, Mavraj, Heintz, Hector – Gerhardt (62. Osako), Lehmann (85. Mladenovic) – Risse, Bittencourt – Modeste|
|Bench||Mesenhöler – Olkowski, Jojic, Svento, Hosiner|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Rafinha, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat – Rode (78. Lahm), Alonso (55. Vidal), Thiago – Douglas Costa (72. Ribéry), Coman – Lewandowski|
|Bench||Ulreich – Tasci, Müller, Götze,|
|Goals||0:1 (10.) Lewandowski|
|Cards||Yellow: Sörensen / Lahm|
|Referee||Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)|