It was time for the third Bundesliga match within a week, as Bayern travelled all the way up north to Hamburg. Once a classic matchup between two of Germany’s biggest sides, the last few years have been terribly one-sided in favor of the Bavarians. The opponents entered this match with coach Bruno Labbadia being in the hot seat.
For Bayern, this was the first away match in 15 days, back when they won at Schalke. In the meantime, they played three matches at Allianz Arena, a questionable advantage when you consider the laughable pitch conditions.
3 things we noticed
1. Renato Sanches
His very first ball action was a bad one. A weak back pass allowed Hamburg a dangerous two-on-two attack but Neuer saved Bahoui’s shot. Sanches however recovered from the early shock and showed an improved passing accuracy of 92%, which is 7% higher than the team average. That being said, his positioning is still far from ideal, especially the creation of triangle shapes can be improved.
The defensive side of his game is good already, the young Portuguese managed to win 67% of his tackles – a respectable number for a central midfielder. Surprisingly, Renato Sanches didn’t cover as much distance as one would’ve assumed. To compare, Joshua Kimmich outran him by 1.5 km.
2. Ribery dependence
Bayern are still relying massively on individual strength. Against Hertha during the week, we saw Robben and Ribery securing the win. This time around, it was Franck Ribery by himself. In the 30 minutes with him on the pitch, the team took an impressive ten shots, not to mention several situations that easily could’ve led to dangerous shots.
With Ribery on the pitch, Bayern’s game was both of higher risk and higher efficiency. The Frenchman had two successful dribbles, as many as Coman in an hour. Their turnover numbers were equal as well. However, Ribery appears to be a way bigger threat to the opponents right now, with his assist to the match-winning goal showcasing just that.
On the one hand, it’s great to see Robben and Ribery still being such valuable assets. On the other hand, it is worrisome that the team is still dependent on those two, even more so when the build-up doesn’t work properly. Against Hamburg, the massive hole in the central attacking midfield was apparent. Müller’s current role as a right winger, with only occasional runs towards the center, doesn’t take full advantage of his strengths. Ancelotti needs to find a better solution to this if he wants to avoid having to rely too much on the ageing wingers.
3. A win is a win
For the most part, this wasn’t a good Bayern performance. As long as they win, that’s just a side note. The system appeared to be way too static, a relapse following improved positioning against Hertha. Hamburg managed to drag Bayern down to their level. Nevertheless, there are several positive things Carlo Ancelotti could spot today. The backups, if that’s what you want to call Kimmich, Sanches and Coman, function properly. Aside from the aforementioned early scare, Bayern controlled the match and didn’t allow many shots, even though it took them a while to create chances themselves. For Manuel Neuer, it was the fourth clean sheet in five matches.
The coach had the upcoming Champions League clash against Atletico on his mind and adjusted the lineup accordingly. A win there would be a huge step towards winning the group. Following that is one more home match and then we’ve got another international break disrupting the flow. This fragmented phase of the season is a highly results-oriented one. So far, Ancelotti has succeeded results-wise, although the adjustment issues remain visible.
|Hamburger SV – FC Bayern München 0:1 (0:0)|
|Hamburger SV||Adler – Sakai, Djourou, Spahic, Santos – Ekdal (90. Lasogga), Jung – Müller, Holtby, Bahoui (67. Kostic – Wood (84. Gregoritsch)|
|Subs||Mathenia, Hunt, Cleber, Ostrzolek|
|FC Bayern München||Neuer – Lahm, Hummels (51. Boateng), Martínez, Alaba – Thiago – Renato Sanches (61. Vidal), Kimmich – Müller, Lewandowski, Coman (61. Ribery)|
|Subs||Ulreich, Rafinha, Alonso, Robben|
|Goals||0:1 Kimmich (88.)|
|Cards||Santos, Gregoritsch / Martinez, Ribery, Kimmich|
|Attendance||57.000 (sold out)|