3 Things We Noticed: Historic Munich derby win
The last time Bayern’s reserves managed to win a local derby was in April 2015, when Lukas Görtler scored a beautiful goal. In the two years under Heiko Vogel that followed, the results against TSV’s reserves were two draws and two losses, with the draws making the team look better than it actually was. In each of the games, “little Bayern” were sluggish and weak in the duels on the field. This time, however, the tables were turned completely: the players in the red shirts fought, ran, and threw themselves into every duel, while the players in blue seemed to have tuned out for large portions of the game. Tim Walter had complained after a couple of games this season that there were too many individualists in the team, focused only on themselves – not this time. All was forgotten during this game, where several players delivered their best performances of the season.
After the win on the road against Rosenheim during the week (2-0), there had been a long conversation between fans and team near the team bus, focusing on the derby ahead. The importance of the game was reinforced, especially for those players that aren’t from Munich. Nico Feldhahn, speaking for the team, promised that there wouldn’t be another guileless appearance like during the last match in March. He kept his promise.
Tim Walter and Tobias Schweinsteiger both play an impressive role in all this, too. Last season, while still coaching the U-17s, they managed to bring their team to its peak performance in every important game. Almost all games against top competition were won, resulting in the German championship title. This season, too, the team was ready in the games that really mattered, showing their best outings against the best opponents. All four games so far against teams in the top half of the table were won, with the fifth one against Illertissen right ahead.
One of the reasons for the better results against better teams is likely that their more offensive style of playing plays into the cards of Bayern’s high pressing. Especially in the youth Bundesliga, where the players gained their experiences for many years, almost every team plays fairly aggressive pressing. Players therefore mainly learn how to play their way around opponents who attack them high up on the field. It’s rare to find deep-sitting opposition there, and if it does happen, they’re usually much weaker individually, so that they don’t pose any serious threat.
The challenge in Regionalliga Bayern (Germany’s fourth division) now is to create chances against much more experienced, physically much stronger teams. And all that without losing their head and getting caught in decisive counter-attacks. The derby, too, showed that Tim Walter’s team is still struggling to turn their dominance during the game into a sufficient number of chances. At the same time, it should be kept in mind that the team clearly had a stronger focus on securing their defense. Felix Götze, playing as right-back, was hardly involved in any offensive action. Marco Friedl on the other wing was a lot more active, but still doesn’t quite have the offensive drive of Derrik Köhn, who was the regular starter on that position in previous games.
During the long winter break (from early December to early March), these issues will surely make up a sizable part of the work in training.
“Number 1, number 1, number 1 in town is us!” and “Number 2, number 2, number is now us too!”