The schedule for February has six games in store for FC Bayern. The DFB Pokal and Champions League are back from their winter breaks. In the Bundesliga it’s probably also just going to be a matter of time before Bayern brings home the title.
Three Things We Noticed
1. Patchy start for Wagner
After his transfer to FC Bayern, Sandro Wagner made his first start for the club, and certainly looked motivated. However, for long stretches he found it hard to get into the game. He did drop deep very often, like Lewandowski usually does, in order to support the midfield, but he mostly worked himself into the ground in duels, of which he was only able to win three of twelve up until half-time. He also only won one of his nine aerial duels, and picked up a yellow card for complaining after his third foul.
At times, too, he lacked coordination with his team-mates in midfield. His best moment came with Müller just before the second goal, when they were, however, unable to make the most of a counter-attack together.
Things were better in the second half for Wagner. At the very start of the second period, James set up the striker for a good opportunity, but Zentner had no problem with his shot. After 60 minutes, though, the working day came to a premature end for Wagner.
2. Mainz midfield pressing forces Bayern into errors
Mainz surprised with a 4-4-2/4-5-1 with pressing in midfield, somewhat unexpectedly not opting for a five at the back. That paid off especially in the first half for wide stretches of the match. Bayern hardly had any chances, since Mainz constantly lured Boateng and Hummels into pressing traps with Muto, Gbamin, Latza, and Holtmann. It was mostly Muto hassling nimbly, while Mainz covered Rudy behind, and also Tolisso. As a result, only a pass to full-back Rafinha remained. The ball there would then be intercepted by Holtmann for example. That happened to Bayern a lot. Hummels had only 80% passing accuracy, and Boateng 88%.
In the second half, Mainz, due to the scoreline, pressed higher up, but wasn’t quite so successful.
3. Rudy luckless
Sebastian Rudy is still looking for his position at FC Bayern. It was his 23rd appearance this season in Bayern’s kit. It’s mostly been hard luck for him to be playing in a role not quite suitable to him. Rudy needs a technically gifted and, ideally, rather more defensive-minded player alongside him. In many games, both have been lacking. A trio of Rudy, Martínez, and Thiago would emphasise Rudy’s strengths in building the play and at the same time cover up his weaknesses in positional play and tackles.
Lately Rudy managed to play all 90 minutes against his ex-club Hoffenheim, before 60 laboured minutes against Mainz. Altogether he got on the ball 54 times over those two appearances. 75% tackles won and a pass rate near 90%. At some moments, one would prefer to see a bit more action from Rudy – the game passes him by too often.
That Rudy was replaced by Alaba is notable insomuch as it might mean another player pushes into midfield.
|1. FSV Mainz 05 – FC Bayern|
|1. FSV Mainz 05||Zentner – Donati, Bell, Hack, Diallo – Öztunali (46. Quaison), Gbamin, Latza, Holtmann (73. Berggreen) – Maxim (57. Serdar) – Muto|
|Bench||Müller, De Jong, Brosinski, Ujah|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Rafinha, Boateng, Hummels, Bernat – Tolisso, Rudy (70. Alaba), James – Müller, Wagner (63. Lewandowski), Ribéry (82. Coman)|
|Bench||Starke, Süle, Robben, Kimmich|
|Goals||0-1 Ribéry (33.), 0-2 James (44.)|
|Cards||Yellow: – / Rudy, Wagner, Boateng|
|Referee||Sören Storks (Velen)|
|Attendance||34,000 (sold out)|