MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 17: Robert Lewandowski (R) of Muenchen battles for the ball with Marvin Matip of Ingolstadt during the Bundesliga match between Bayern Muenchen and FC Ingolstadt 04 at Allianz Arena on September 17, 2016 in Munich, Germany.

Analysis: FC Bayern Munich – FC Ingolstadt 3-1 (1-1)

Christopher Separator September 17, 2016

Carlo Ancelotti’s Oktoberfest premiere was dampened ahead of the game by the loss of three players, as Thomas Müller, David Alaba, and Philipp Lahm battle gastrointestinal issues. In addition, the Allianz Arena turf is visibly overworked, with three games in five days clearly too much to keep it in good shape.

In case you missed it

In Mats Hummels, yet another player is missing from Ancelotti’s squad, due not to his head injury from the Rostov game, but rather a cold. All of the absences cause several changes in the starting eleven compared to the Champions League game.

Bernat replaces Alaba as left-back, Sanches and Alonso take Hummels and Thiago’s places. Coman has his starting debut in the new Bundesliga season, and Ribéry has come back into the team after his break against Rostov.

Bayern - Ingolstadt, AufstellungFC Bayern Munich vs. FC Ingolstadt, 17/09/2016, basic formations.

In terms of tactics, everything stays the same with Carlo Ancelotti’s trusted 4-3-3 system, the only change being Kimmich with a move to central defender in Hummels’ place. On the bench, Boateng and Robben return after their injuries, but the starting eleven would have been too soon for them.

Ingolstadt’s manager Kauczinski, on the other hand, trusts the same team that conceded the 0-2 loss against Hertha BSC, although the system changes from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-2-3-1. Pascal Groß is more defensive, playing in defensive midfield with Roger.

Ingolstadt starts the game with plenty of pressing, hoping for Munich to make a mistake in their build-up play. And exactly that happened in minute 6: after Bayern loses the ball in an attack on the right, Ingolstadt quickly play their way through midfield and Lecki can pass to Lezcano, who finishes with a toe punt. Neuer gets a touch of the ball, but can’t stop the goal from happening. The nutmeg was Bayern’s first goal against all season.

Five minutes after the 0-1, Bayern score the equaliser. Vidal wins the ball in midfield, passing it on to Ribéry and then Lewandowski, who has seemingly drifted too far to the side, but lobs it over Nyland, who hurries out of his goal.

After the tumultuous beginning, the game calms down. Ingolstadt shifts into a defensive 4-4-2, but doesn’t just wait at the back and instead tries to interfere with Bayern’s build-up play via smart pressing. Munich is most dangerous when they force Ingolstadt to make their own mistakes, a way of playing that has already become noticeable under Ancelotti.

The level of play gets noticeably worse as the game slowly edges towards the half-time break. Bayern has too many mistakes in their own build-up, with only 85% passing accuracy – a very low score, considering they had almost 70% possession.

At half-time break, Carlo Ancelotti reacts and subs on Costa for Coman, who had obvious fitness issues after his return from injury. Ingolstadt – who had more shots on goal than Bayern during the first half – unsurprisingly make no substitutions.

Right away, Costa is involved in the first scene of the second half, together with Rafinha. After several short passes, Ribéry gets the ball in the centre, plays a one-two with Bernat and moves the ball along to Alonso. Nobody attacks him, so he can shoot from 20 metres out, scoring in the lower left corner.

Unfortunately, the lead doesn’t make Bayern’s play more secure: Leckie gets into the penalty box on the right and goes past Alonso; his shoot from 11 metres is blocked by Neuer and the ball goes past the crossbar (53′). In the 67th minute, Groß sends Hinterseer towards goal and he is alone in front of Neuer, but the ball misses the goal by inches. Ingolstadt continues to have better goal-scoring opportunities in the second half.

After the 70-75th minute, Ingolstadt tries to equalise with more and more vigour. Bayern’s defense doesn’t always look very secure around their own penalty box, and Ingolstadt gets plenty of chances during that phase via freekicks and corner kicks.

Soon after, Ancelotti has to sub off Douglas Costa, who had come on at half-time, due to an injury in his thigh. Instead, Boateng takes the field, wins a tackle only seconds later and starts a counterattack. Ribéry sees Rafinha, who made his way up the field, and his shot from 17 metres hits the net on the lower left. His first goal since 2013 decides the game, even though Neuer denies Lex once more in injury time (91′).

Rafinha bejubelt Treffer (Foto: Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts / Getty Images)
Rafinha celebrates his goal to make it 3-1.
(Photo: Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts / Getty Images)

In the end, Bayern gets a very luck 3-1 win over Ingolstadt and Oktoberfest season 2016 has kicked off successfully. No rest for the wicked, however: the next Bundesliga game is on Wednesday, with yet another home game. Munich will play their closest pursuer from matchday 2, Hertha BSC.

3 things we noticed

1. Sanches not convincing yet

The young Portuguese had received lots of praise before his transfer to Munich. Expectations have been high after Sanches’ Champions League appearances and increased even more when Sanches was elected “Man of the Match” twice during the Euros in France. A thigh injury that he sustained during the Euros held him back during his start at Bayern, and Ancelotti used him for the first time against Schalke – it didn’t pay off. Sanches seemed a little overwhelmed by the speed that Bundesliga games are played in.

The same can be said after the game against Ingolstadt. A bad turnover leads to an Ingolstadt counterattack, but he had no other mistakes apart from that. Still, it became obvious in many situations that Sanches is still a little too slow for possession football. Instead of quickly moving the ball along horizontally or vertically, Sanches holds on to it and gets drawn into unnecessary tackles. The 19-year-old needs more time to acclimatise to the Bundesliga. Sometimes, he does manage to win the ball, but lacks oversight in the actions following the tackle. After 60 minutes, Sanches’ second Bundesliga game was over, with 60 touches and 92% passing accuracy – good numbers on paper, but he won only 25% of his tackles. Not enough.

None of this is disastrous. It was only his third game for Bayern. Sanches needs time, and games against clubs like Ingolstadt are ideal for that. It would be preferable to see an increase in performance in every game, but with so many games coming up over the next couple of games and therefore not a lot of training time, this increase will probably take a while.

2. Quality players make the difference

Bayern currently survives on its players’ individual quality. While this might not be sensational news, it hasn’t been this obvious in any of the other recent Bundesliga games. It becomes blatantly obvious when looking at the goals: Both Lewandowski’s equaliser and Alonso’s 2-1 weren’t run-of-the-mill goals – quite the contrary. They were half-chances at best. The same is true for Rafinha’s 3-1 winner. In contrast to that, Leckie and Hinterseer had massive chances for Ingolstadt, their shots with much better quality. That Bayern still managed to win was mostly due to luck and coincidence – which, in this case, translates into the quality of their players. Lewandowski proves that he can score even though he seems out of touch with the game, and though his team-mates failed to put him into any promising situations to score. And, as much as parts of Alonso’s way of playing can be criticised, he still proved again that his scoring is still top-notch. In both Bundesliga home games, it was him who lead Bayern to their victory. And even Ribéry did little else for this game, he was directly involved in all three goals. Those few moments of brilliance were enough to win the game. Dominance and aplomb, however, are very far away from what the team showed today.

In Bayern’s current state, build-up play is their biggest problem. The distances between defense, midfield and attack are too big, the 4-3-3 is too static for big parts of the game. There is no solution to integrate Alonso, Vidal, and Sanches into build-up. Ancelotti will have to find a solution soon – not every game can be won like this. Especially if the opponent manages to get more shots (13 to 10 for Ingolstadt).

3. Bad pressing

Lezcano’s opening goal for Ingolstadt was Bayern’s first goal against all season. In the end, the team can live with it, but for the first time since the season opener against Borussia Dortmund in the Supercup it became obvious that Ancelotti’s defensive strategy hasn’t been adopted completely yet. In many situations, Bayern tried to press, with Sanches, Vidal, or Alonso moving high up the field. However, they rarely won the ball in doing so, causing big holes between Bayern’s midfield and defense. Ingolstadt saw that and kept pushing into these, with Groß and Hartmann in particular managing to put their offensive trio in good positions.

Of course there were plenty of changes in Bayern’s line-up. Bernat, Martínez, Kimmich, and Rafinha will likely not play together again any time soon as a back-four. It is understandable that Ingolstadt got some very easy chances to score. And yet, the back-four was very passive, especially in and around the penalty box, lacking the courage to go into tackles. Defensive behaviour that Bayern seemed to have dropped

As mentioned in numbers 2 and 3, there is still lots of work waiting for Carlo Ancelotti. It was the weakest game under his regency at Bayern. Of course, evaluating single players is always difficult, especially during busy times like the team is currently in. And yet, certain patterns and problems are starting to manifest that will need to get solved as soon as possible.

FC Bayern Munich – FC Ingolstadt 3-1 (1-1)
FC Bayern Munich Neuer – Rafinha, Kimmich, Martínez, Bernat – Vidal, Alonso, Sanches (61. Thiago) – Coman (46. Costa / 83. Boateng), Lewandowski, Ribéry
Bench Ulreich, Robben, F. Götze, Green
FC Ingolstadt Nyland – Levels, Matip, Tisserand, Suttner – Roger – Groß, Morales (63. Hinterseer) – Hartmann (71. Lex), Lezcano, Leckie (81. Cohen)
Bench Hansen, Jung, Wahl, Hadergjonaj
Goals 0-1 Lazcano (8.), 1-1 Lewandowski (12.), 2-1 Alonso (50.), 3-1 Rafinha (84.)
Cards Thiago / Lex, Tisserand
Referee Patrick Ittrich (Hamburg)
Attendance 75,000 (sold out)

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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