For long stretches of the game Anderlecht managed to put up a challenge that was stronger than the final result suggests, despite being a man down for the bigger part of the game.
3 things we noticed:
1. Bad connections
The early sent-off for Anderlecht didn’t help Bayern. At all. The space between the midfield and the attack was too large for most of the game. Even the space between the defence and the midfield was flawed. These spacing issues caused many errors, when the player with the ball could not reach his teammates and had to rely on high risk passes. At halftime, the passing accuracy was below 90% and the players in red only won 49% of their duels. Pretty underwhelming numbers for a team with numerical superiority. The pass and duel selection was off.
Ancelotti’s team created few situations in which they were able to move the ball through Anderlecht’s 4-4-1 and pose a threat for Anderlecht’s goal. As the time progressed, Bayern improved. The 2-0 was the decision, but for 60 minutes Bayern’s game was missing the important connections.
2. James was trying
The Colombian international made his first start for FC Bayern. He missed the first games due to a muscle injury. He put up very solid numbers. 92 touches, 9 crosses and 4 key passes.
In the 37th minute he took multiple opponents out of the game with his central pass to Robben. It was one of the scenes FC Bayern does and should expect from James, providing an additional dimension to the game. Attacks can commence from the centre, even in a packed field. Overall James still had too few of these moments.
It was visible how he tried to give the game some structure. His many long switches that found his teammates in 7 out of 9 tries were striking. Of course, it wasn’t a perfect game, especially his crosses lacked precision.
Nevertheless, it was a decent showing. The link-up with Thiago and Tolisso was promising. The zone 14 in the centre was better occupied than in the previous games this season, but the positioning still needs improvement and Anderlecht’s red card also played its part.
3. Missing wing focus
This season FC Bayern not only struggles in trying to occupy the zone 14, but also on the wings. After 60 minutes, they only won three 1vs1s, Ribery twice and Thiago once. Too few for a team that builds its dominance on dominating the wings. Ancelotti hasn’t found a working concept so far this season. At the same time players like Ribery and Robben aren’t getting younger. Especially the latter is currently still some steps below the level he had in previous years. His injury at the start of the season probably plays its part.
Nevertheless, Ancelotti is still unable to implement a formation or a system that puts the golden oldies in 1vs1 situations utilizing their strengths. Especially against a team with one man down one could and should expect more. Maybe less from the left wing with Rafinha and Ribery, but definitely from the duo Robben and Kimmich – acknowledging Kimmich found his footing in the latter parts of the game. The connection with Robben still doesn’t resemble the dream like understanding between Lahm and Robben or also Alaba and Ribery. A little bit of fine tuning is still lacking.
|FC Bayern – RSC Anderlecht 3-0 (1-0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Rafinha, Süle, Martínez (77. Boateng), Kimmich – Thiago, Tolisso – Ribery (78. Müller), James (85. Coman), Robben – Lewandowski|
|Bench||Ulreich – Rudy, Friedl, Hummels|
|RSC Anderlecht||Sels – Najar (26. Appiah), Deschacht, Kums, Spajić, Chipciu – Hanni, Trebel, Dendoncker, Stanciu (59. Onyekuru) – Teodorczyk (Harbaoui (84.)|
|Bench||Gerkens – Boeckx, Obradović, Adjei|
|Goals||1-0 Lewandowski (12′, penalty), 2-0 Thiago (65′), 3-0 Kimmich (90′)|
|Cards||Yellow: Ribery (11′), Tolisso (74′) / Trebel (22′), Stanciu (53′); Red: – / Kums (11′)|
|Referee||Paolo Tagliavento (Italy)|