3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – FSV Mainz 05 2-2 (1-2)

Four days after leaving the Champions League knock-out stages against Real Madrid, Mainz 05 wrestled a draw from Bayern. After falling behind twice, the home team at least managed to secure one point from the game. Author: Christopher • Translator: Bettina

The Champions League loss was horrible, and lead to an unusual situation: on Friday, for the first time since April 2011, UEFA drew names for a knock-out stage and the name FC Bayern Munich wasn’t amongst the candidates.

FC Bayern vs Mainz 05FC Bayern vs Mainz 05 – basic formations

Three things we noticed

1. A defiant response?!

Without a doubt, exiting the Champions League against Real Madrid was painful – but Bayern still have two more chances at winning titles. The domestic double could turn this season into an acceptable one. Carlo Ancelotti took no risks with his line-up after rotating heavily in the league and dropping points in Hoffenheim and Leverkusen. The home games against Mainz, Darmstadt, and Freiburg had been counted as wins in the equation of winning the league title. For the game against Mainz, at least, this plan didn’t work out.

Bayern showed a very tame performance for the majority of the game, full of individual mistakes particularly in the first half. Two simple mistakes set an almost insurmountable task for the offense, who were incapable of scoring three goals today – Mainz were fighting against that too determinedly. It was a game that could have been won 2-1 or 2-0.

However, the improved performance in the second half needs to be mentioned. Mainz had only one shot on goal and only 19.2% possession – it wasn’t much, but there was a little bit of defiance in the team’s response, at least.

2. No offensive concept

Bayern had no real offensive concept for this game. In the first half, there wasn’t really any structured build-up play, as Mainz pressed them early and Bayern had no real ideas of how to get around that. With Vidal and Thiago playing fairly defensively and Müller much too offensively, there was a huge gap in midfield. The wing-backs Rafinha and Bernat couldn’t cope with the situation, for example by moving up the field a little, and so the only real danger that the home team posed in the first half were counter attacks.

Bayern also tried their luck with crosses way too many times – 34, to be exact. No real chances were created from this. Bell alone had 16(!) clearances, Hack another seven. In short – there was no plan B. It was telling that the two goals for Munich were scored after a counter and after a play through the middle.

The bad, imprecise crosses made it difficult for Robert Lewandowski to get into a good scoring position over 90 minutes. In the end, he accumulated a total of 2, neither of them on target. With only 19 touches, he wasn’t really part of the game anyway.

3. Not Vidal’s week (at all)

It wasn’t Arturo Vidal’s week. Of course, his sending-off against Madrid had been unlucky, but he had worked towards it consistently for 80 minutes, earning himself a fair share in Bayern’s departure from the Champions League knock-out stages. In the first leg, it had been him again who had missed the penalty that could have made a difference.

The Chilean has looked unfocused over the last couple of weeks, often playing on the edge and misstepping on the side of bad form more often than anyone involved could like. Apart from the aforementioned scenes against Madrid, he also made the decisive mistakes before goals conceded against Dortmund and Mainz. A club like Bayern, in their current form, can’t afford mistakes like that – internationally or nationally. Vidal is often too reckless, only to then give his all after a mistake so that all you want to do is give him a hug at the end of the game. Only 80% completed passes show that he was a big part of Bayern’s terrible build-up play, yet at the same time, he had the highest number of successful tackles – despite getting subbed off after only 64 minutes.

Today’s performance was emblematic for his last few weeks, but also for his entire tenure at Bayern. He’s that person you fall for as a teen, but who can’t give you what you’re looking for. A kind of hate-love relationship on the football field, in the best and the worst way possible. The really terrible thing about it is: we all know we’re doing it (and yet can’t stop).

FC Bayern – 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-2 (1-2)
FC BayernUlreich – Rafinha, Hummels, Alaba (17. Kimmich), Bernat – Thiago, Vidal (65. Alonso) – Robben, Müller, Ribéry (46. Coman) – Lewandowski
BenchStarke, Lahm, Sanches, Costa
1. FSV Mainz 05Huth – Donati, Bell, Hack, Brosinski (52. Balogun) – Öztunali, Frei, Latza, Quaison (78. Ramalho) – Muto, Bojan (68. Onisiwo)
BenchLössl, De Blasis, Seydel, Serdar
Goals0-1 Bojan (3′), 1-1 Robben (16′), 1-2 Brosinski (40’/penalty), 2-2 Thiago (73′)
Yellow CardsRafinha / Onisiwo
RefereeFrank Willenborg (Osnabrück)
Attendance75.000 (sold out)

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