Analysis: FC Bayern Munich – PSV Eindhoven 4-1 (2-1)

The game against PSV Eindhoven was the start into a tough period for Bayern with games against strong opponents in the upcoming weeks. In the end it was just a small test for the Reds, in which they convinced despite few weaker moments. Author: Steffen • Translator:

Robben and Müller earned themselves a special praise.

Bayern - Rostov starting formationsFC Bayern Munich – PSV Eindhoven, 19.10.2016, starting formations. At the end of the first half Narsingh switched sides.

3 things we noticed

1. A good reaction for long spells

It’s been a long time since this much discussion took place about the form of Bayern Munich as it did in the last two weeks. Ancelotti demanded a reaction of the team and the team showed one on the pitch over very long stretches. High intensity, hard fought duels and a better positional play were the ingredients for a very good first half and a very solid performance overall.

14-0 shots after 35 minutes and 26-8 after the final whistle paint a clear picture. The Reds wanted to send a signal after the weaker performances recently, but it was more than just effort. Cocu’s approach did have some interesting features: The deep 5-3-2 against the ball transformed into a rather bold interpretation of a 4-2-3-1 in possession, which was even enhanced with counter pressing elements leading to a 4-2-4 in the Bayern half at the beginning. Narsingh’s man coverage of Lahm also wasn’t a bad idea by the PSV coach.

But the Bayern team rendered these ideas futile and made Eindhoven look inferior individually over most parts of the game. The asymmetric approach by the home team was striking. Since Müller (11 shots or key passes in 71 minutes) was allowed to run into all the important zones and Alaba was providing width left, very useful overloadings were created in the right halfspace with Kimmich, Robben, Müller and even Lewandowski. When the build-up was switched to the other side, Alaba was able to use his speed against the moving Eindhoven block and create situations.

Between the 13th and the 20th minute the ever-present pressure at the opponents box that was a given in most games under Guardiola was created. Three, four good chances were thus created after early recoveries. A good sign for the recently weaker counterpressing, which nevertheless did not work constantly against PSV.

Eindhoven cannot be the benchmark for Bayern, but Ancelotti will be able to draw some conclusions from the game. Müller’s free role and the strong asymmetry on the right side were helpful and effective elements. In offense it was one of the strongest games for Bayern in this season so far.

2. Defence again with problems

To make one thing clear: A team like PSV Eindhoven should not get four clear goal scoring opportunities in Munich. It wasn’t like the guests were able to create real pressure, but they still scored one goal and had four very decent chances to their name in the end.

The same picture was already visible against Frankfurt. Bayern gave away chances despite outnumbering the opponent in and around the box. There is not a clear pattern recognizable. It’s not just counter-attacks. It’s not just crosses. It’s a combination of weird 50/50 situations, which led to massive chances. This rather hints at problems in concentration.

Ancelotti better take care of the reasons. The back four was supposed to be a major asset for Bayern in this season. Hummels and Boateng have demonstrated in the national team how well they can play together. Lahm’s speed limitations are noticeable. Some support by a better 1vs1 player than Alonso (Vidal/Martinez) in central midfield could for the moment at least be a solution, until the automatisms get going.

3. Robben being Robben again

(Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Arjen Robben with a beautiful header for the 4-1 against PSV goalkeeper Zoet. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)

It’s nice to see how Arjen Robben currently is able to have his signature impact on a game for Bayern. Even if the opponent on Wednesday was “just” Eindhoven. Robben was very active right from the get-go and he had a good balance of individual situations and supporting runs. Robben’s biggest asset has always been his volume. He has so many good situations that even if he takes the wrong the decision in some of them, he does generate an output in the end eventually.

Robben was involved in 10 shots and three goals, together with his three successful dribblings and a passing accuracy above 88%. After the first quarter of the season one thing is clear: Bayern Munich does look better when Robben is on the pitch. To get him on the pitch is actually the bigger challenge for the club.

FC Bayern Munich – PSV Eindhoven 4-1 (2-1)
FC Bayern MunichNeuer – Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Kimmich (85. Martinez), Alonso, Thiago – Müller (72. Costa), Lewandowski, Robben (87. Sanches)
BenchUlreich, Bernat, Coman, Rafinha
PSV EindhovenZoet – Brenet, Schwaab (85. Zinchenko), Moreno, Willems – Pröpper, Guardado (61. Isimit-Marin) – Pereiro (77. Bergwijn), de Jong, Narsingh – de Jong
BenchArias, de Wijs, Ramselaar, Pasveer
Goals1-0 Müller (13.), 2-0 Kimmich (21.), 2-1 Narsingh (41.), 3-1 Lewandowski (59.), 4-1 Robben (84.)
CardsYellow: Lahm/-
RefereeWilliam Collum (Scotland)
Attendance70,000 (sold out)

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