3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 5-2 (2-2)

Steffen Separator January 28, 2018

If one does not pay attention properly, such situations often lead to a certain carelessness, from which even bigger problems can arise.

On Saturday afternoon, FC Bayern looked after them. But only after a wake-up call.

Grundformationen FC Bayern - HoffenheimStarting formations FC Bayern – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Three Things We Noticed

1. What happened after the 15th minute?

It’s the little mysteries of football that can probably only be solved by those who stand on the pitch themselves. Why did Hoffenheim from the 15th minute onwards become this one bit more passive, which made it possible for FC Bayern to find a way back into the game? Until then Hoffenheim had basically played the way you have to play against Heynckes-Bayern. With a focus on dangerous counter-pressing moments and an excellently coordinated bus parking scheme, which made Bayern’s build-up play extremely difficult.

The result was exactly what Hoffenheim wanted. Long balls by Bayern, many transition chances and Bayern combinations into dead spaces on the outside. So what happened after 2-0? The conscious decision to drop a little deeper and minimize the risk? Or, by making small, barely visible adjustments, Bayern found the key to free themselves more frequently and to shift the game. Possibly the more intensive counterpressing of the Munich team also played a role. Perhaps also the more defensive orientation of Vidal in this phase. It is not possible to resolve it completely.

Up to the end it was striking: The classical pressing bypassing through the half-spaces close to the ball – i. e. especially through the number 8s spaces – practically never worked. This is undoubtedly due to the rather rugged Vidal and Tolisso. When then it worked it was by switching the ball or double isolations with the full-back and winger on the sideline. Hoffenheim tried, but couldn’t find the right distance again.

Whatever it was that happened after the 15th minute. It enabled the Munich players to re-enter the game.

2. Strong left side

It’s nice to see David Alaba in such an early form. He and Kingsley Coman played a big part in the good moments of this game. Alaba was particularly pleasing with his highly motivated and constructive vertical runs. Whenever he saw a few meters of grass in front of him, the left-back marched off and put a lot of pressure on the Hoffenheim backline.

Kingsley Coman, who worked very well with Alaba, took apart the pitiful Pavel Kaderabek, who had no chance at all to stop the Frenchman one-on-one. Hoffenheim tried several times by double teaming. It didn’t have much success.

Coman was involved in 8 shots on goal, had five successful dribblings (often just sprinting past his opponent without dribbling) and by far the most sprints (39, Alaba 29).

The left side was much stronger against Hoffenheim than the right side with Robben and Kimmich.

3. How does Gnabry fit in?

This was the inevitable question to be asked in this game. Gnabry, as a player, is sometimes hard to grasp. He’s a hell of a goal threat. He’s got a good shot, aproper dribble, but again and again also stretches in a game in which one forgets that he’s on the pitch.

Gnabry scored a goal himself, assisted the second through the penalty kick. What was remarkable was his high passing accuracy (over 90%), which is also due to the fact that he had few ball contacts high up the pitch in the later phases of the game, but rather helped out as a supporting outlet during the build-up play.

Does Gnabry have the power and individual class to keep making breakthroughs on the wing against deep opponents, as Coman did against Hoffenheim? Basically, one could also imagine Gnabry making an attack from the half space. Or as an evasive second striker, whereas this position does not really exist so far.

The impression that remains despite his two scorer points: The move to Munich next summer is a huge step for Gnabry. In order to find a place in the Munich rotation, he has to refine his game and become more effective in much of what happens outside the penalty area.


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FC Bayern – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Bayern Ulreich – Kimmich (85. Wagner), Boateng, Süle, Alaba – Rudy – Robben (77. Rafinha), Tolisso (64. Müller), Vidal, Coman – Lewandowski
Bench Starke – Bernat, James, Ribery
Hoffenheim Baumann – Bicakcic (46. Akpoguma), Vogt, Hübner (67. Kramaric) – Kaderabek, Grilitsch, Geiger, Rupp (59. Amiri), Zuber – Uth, Gnabry
Bench Stolz – Schulz, Zulj, Szalai
Goals 0-1 Uth (3.), 0-2 Gnabry (12.), 1-2 Lewandowski (21.), 2-2 Boateng (25.), 3-2 Coman (63.), 4-2 Vidal (66.), 5-2 Wagner (90.)
Cards Yellow: – / Bicakcic, Hübner
Referee Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
Attendance 75,000 (sold out)

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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