3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – Hertha BSC 0-0

Maurice Separator February 24, 2018

It was the 66th time the two teams from the German capital and the record champion from the Isar met in the Bundesliga. Munich went into the game on a 14 game win streak. This streak is now over.

Heynckes made five changes after the convincing home win in the Champions League against Besiktas Istanbul. The banged up trio Kimmich, Boateng and James weren’t in the squad. Vidal and Coman took a seat on the bench at first.

Starting lineups Bayern - BesiktasStarting lineups Bundesliga: FC Bayern Munich – Hertha BSC

3 Things We Noticed

1. On Saturdays cruise-control is not always enough

There’s been a certain pattern throughout most of the games in the second half of the season so far. The team is taking their foot off the gas in the first half more than you’d expect from the league leaders.

Against Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg they went a goal down early and it was a tough game against Hertha today, too. Bayern were lacking individual sparks and creativity. They were focused on a controlled attack above anything else.

It almost seemed as if all 22 players already knew how the game would end, and only wanted to reach the final whistle. Simply getting the ninety minutes over and done with.

Often enough this style has been enough for Munich. A short sprint usually resulted in decisive goals. Why more trouble than necessary?

In today’s game Hertha were focused on a compact defense. They purposely avoived higher pressing, which resulted in early goals for Hoffenheim in Munich. However, Bayern were lacking creativity to crack Hertha’s deadlock.

Especially at the start of the game FC Bayern tried to get behind the defensive line with vertical passes. Most passes landed in no man’s land because the timing wasn’t on point. When Hertha deployed a deeper block in the second half, these vertical passes were used much less.

The cruise-control that was enough in many games recently, didn’t suffice today. In the future, Heynckes will have to find a solution, that the team goes into these Bundesliga games with more energy and creative solutions — no matter how big the lead in the league is.

2. No dribblings on the wings

At the half the whole Munich team only completed four dribblings. Ribéry had one and Robben was without one for the first 45 minutes.

The left side was vacant for the most part. Ribéry’s heatmap hardly showed any action on the left wing close to the box. A bad day at the office for the Frenchman after 60 minutes.

Against a deep Hertha side successful take-ons on the wings would’ve been necessary to pull the defenders out of the centre to create space in the middle for Lewandowski.

Munich were too reliant on the centre which faced difficulties against a well-positioned Hertha Berlin. Thiago was on his own several times. A situation the Spaniard is not yet able to solve with his current level of fitness.

An additional creative partner in midfield would surely help him. Raumdeuter Müller isn’t able to fill that role. Defensive midfielder Martínez isn’t made for it either.

As soon as James is fit again he could be starting against deep blocks, that aren’t looking to build from the back, to replace Martinez.

Heynckes is facing the task to get Ribéry and Robben back in form and get them into situations where they can still create danger close to the box, even if they aren’t that good at one-on-ones anymore.

3. Dedicated Lewandowski unlucky

Towards the end of the week Lewandowski was in the headlines off the pitch. The Pole parted ways with his long-time agent. To focus on a move abroad, as many media outlets speculated.

FC Bayern’s top goalscorer wasn’t bothered by any of that on the pitch. This underlines his professionalism once more. Whatever happens off the pitch, once Lewandowski is wearing Munich’s shirt he undoubtedly leaves everything on the pitch.

In his 250th Bundesliga match the Polish footballer of the year displayed a good performance. He covered a lot of distance for his usual standards and picked up the ball at the halfway line to get some dynamism in Bayern’s static play.

If Bayern got into dangerous areas, Lewandowski was always involved. Initiating Ribéry’s chance on the counter or one of his many shots on target. Getting the 12th goal in the 12th home game of the season wasn’t meant to happen, unfortunately.

He missed a few good chances. A tendency one sees more frequently with Lewandowski. Especially with the supposedly easier chances he’s finding it difficult. An admittedly small flaw.

Lewandowski won the most headers next to Hummels against Hertha Berlin. Today no one could complain about his lack of effort.

FC Bayern – Hertha BSC 0-0
FC Bayern Ulreich – Rafinha, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez – Robben, Müller (71. Wagner), Thiago (75. Vidal), Ribéry (68. Coman) – Lewandowski
Bench Starke, Bernat, Rudy, Tolisso
Hertha Jarstein – Pekarik, Stark, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt – Darida, Lustenberger – Leckie, Lazaro, Kalou (80. Duda) – Selke (71. Esswein)
Bench Kraft, Weiser, Dardai, Mittelstädt, Skjelbred
Cards – / –
Referee Guido Winkmann (Kerken)
Attendance 75.000 (sold out)

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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