3 Things We Noticed: Hamburger SV – FC Bayern 0-1 (0-0)

Maurice Separator October 21, 2017
HSV-FCB, GrundformationenHSV-FCB, starting formations

3 things we noticed:

1. Washed away by the high pressing

After not even a minute, Gisdol’s match plan became clear. With his HSV he didn’t want to hide himself in and around his own box, but to surprise the Bavarian with extremely high pressing. This worked very well due to the Bayern’s structural problems.

A 33rd-minute action was symbolic of these problems for Bayern, when Vidal was attacked at his own box and hectically passed to Hummels in the middle, who himself was also being attacked. A small error in the first touch led to a dangerous action in the Bayern penalty area, where Ulreich, Süle and Hummels had to rescue several times.

Vidal presented himself again and again in his best imitation of Alonso and tried to escape the pressing by dropping back between the central defenders. The bypassing of the pressings, which was applauded against Freiburg due to the staggering of Martinez and Thiago, no longer worked out at all. This was also, but not only due to Vidal, who must nevertheless take more responsibility in such a game and try to find solutions on his own.

While Martinez had his midfield partner Thiago and the highly advanced outside players in the previous week, the defenders and Vidal were isolated by Hamburg’s pressing. Especially Tolisso didn’t know how to impose himself as a target. The HSV also prevented the option to pass to the wings.

In general, Tolisso was overwhelmed by the high pressure. Not only did he fall too often in the passing shadows, but even when he was on the ball, he made too many wrong decisions. At halftime, he only completed 18 passes, with a passing accuracy of 63% up until the red card for Hamburg.

This was a reflection of the concerns expressed before the season about Tolisso. The young Frenchman is not used to such a kind of pressing from his domestic league. This makes it all the more important that he is supported by a tactical concept and a reliable partner on the double six. Against Hamburg, both apparently did not exist today.

The behaviour against the pressing was a step backwards. Particularly in view of the forthcoming matches against strong Leipzigers, Heynckes should focus on coping with these situations.

2. Without access against eleven HSV players

Due to the problems of getting rid of Hamburg’s pressing, it was not possible to develop a structured build-up forward. The distances between the defence and attack were too great, for example, due to the dropping back of Vidal. A structural challenge that Bayern had already faced under Ancelotti.

If the Bayern did manage to bypass the first wave of pressing, creativity was lacking in the next step. Neither Tolisso nor Vidal managed to take one or more Hamburgers out of the game with clever passes. A build-up with more than five or six consecutive passes was rare.

This caused James to hang in the air. The newcomer was only allowed to play under Heynckes for a short time and was therefore all the more in the spotlight of today’s game. The Colombian, however, had obvious difficulties with this, as Hamburg consistently ran at him after he received the ball. Furthermore, there was a lack of automatisms in the interaction with his offensive partners. Therefore his passes to Robben and Coman often didn’t reach them in their forward movement but slightly in the back.

A team concept was also not visible over long distances. The right-backed defender’s overlapping on the side of Robben, followed by overloading of the half space by the number ten player, which worked superbly against Glasgow, could not be seen. The interplay between Coman and Alaba on the left-hand side neither. Not least because Bayern hardly got into the right positions.

Even more so than James, Lewandowski hung in the air. The Pole was sought almost only with long balls. However, if he could claim the ball, there was seldom a red player around who Lewandowski could have connected with. The central midfielders’ progression was insufficient here. Of course, James’ lack of familiarity with Lewandowsky was also noticeable here. In the end, only 23 ball actions for Lewandowski were recorded.

When things got dangerous, it was only when Bayern bypassed Hamburg’s pressing with long balls from the defence and sent the fast wingers Coman and Robben long. However, they were too seldom supported by teammates and were forced into direct duels with at least one defender.

3. Unlucky and unexpected rotation by Heynckes

The line-up of the Munich team with five changes came as a surprise to many, since Heynckes had announced that he would trust the team that had been successful against Freiburg and Glasgow without any major injuries.

The decision is certainly justifiable in the team for atmospheric reasons, but it turned out to be at least unfortunate. The double six of Tolisso and Vidal was overwhelmed with the Hamburg pressing as described. The Chilean and French players are too similar for a joint effort. Heynckes should try to match at least one creative passer in central midfield like Thiago or Rudy with Tolisso, Vidal or Martinez to keep the balance in midfield.

Rafinha’s replacement of Kimmich, who has been heavily burdened over the past few months, influenced the attacking game as well as James’ line-up, who was visibly lacking midfield support.

Accordingly, today’s line-up can be seen as the first small blunder by Heynckes. His attempt at rotation failed in the first try. The current structure of the Munich team is still too fragile and depends on the class of certain individual players in order to cope with a large rotation.

According to today’s performance, Heynckes is expected to return to the pitch with his team from the first two games in the upcoming important games. How Heynckes manages to ensure that this doesn’t have a negative effect on the mood of the players, who are left out of the game, will be exciting to see. Already last week, he announced that many individual discussions are necessary for this.


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Hamburger SV – FC Bayern
Hamburg Mathenia – Van Drongelen (76. Ito), Mavraj, Papadopoulos – Santos, Sakai, Jung, Diekmeier – Hunt ( 62. Holtby), Hahn (76. Kostić) – Wood
Bench Pollersbeck, Walace, Schipplock, Waldschmidt
Bayern Ulreich – Alaba, Hummels, Süle, Rafinha – Vidal, Tolisso – Coman (90+3. Kimmich), James (46. Müller, 55. Thiago), Robben – Ulreich
Bench Starke, Boateng, Rudy, Wriedt
Goals 0-1 Tolisso (52.)
Cards Yellow: Sakai (73.) – / James (45.), Tolisso (75.); Rot: Jung (39.) / –
Referee Marco Fritz (Korb)
Attendance 57,000 sold out

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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