Part two of the “week of the neighbors”, as Bayern travelled to Augsburg a few days after beating them in the German cup. A win was needed and expected, in order to keep the league lead in Munich.
3 things we noticed
1. Robben learning
A week ago, we had criticized that Lewandowski and Robben aren’t a great fit. Apparently they wanted to prove us wrong this time around.
Two goals and an assist for Lewandowski, a goal and two assists for Robben – an incredible improvement compared to recent weeks. Arjen Robben even created another one-on-one scoring chance for Lewandowski.
The more team-oriented, or rather more Lewandowski-oriented approach by Robben was a massive boost for the striker. The Polish international took seven shots in this match, compared to two attempts against Gladbach. Explains how he ended up goalless (in the league) for over 450 minutes, explains why that streak ended here.
Not only did Arjen Robben assist two goals, he played another six key passes in addition. That’s a brilliant stat. This approach adds a whole new dimension to the Bayern game, one that’s shaped less by constantly similar shooting and passing patterns.
If Robben always plays like he did here, future opponents will have to deal with a much more complex FC Bayern.
2. Ancelotti’s little tweaks
As of now, Carlo Ancelotti has stayed true to his basic 4-3-3 shape. Nevertheless, against Augsburg it became apparent that there are different playing styles to be found within that system.
Compared to the weeks prior to the international break, Bayern are now much more present in the central attacking midfield. In order to achieve that, Ancelotti takes advantage of an asymmetrical formation. The left winger, in this case Douglas Costa, often moves into central areas when the team has established possession. The big positive of this little trick is that the central midfield receives an additional passing option. Also, the right flank isn’t as isolated if the ball ends up there early in the buildup.
At the same time, the left-back pushes forward intensely – almost taking over the left-wing position. Because of that, the opposing defense can’t just follow the winger and leave the flank vacated.
One problem of this however is that there’s tons of open space behind the left-back. Against Augsburg, Ancelotti tried to reduce that threat by placing the central midfield in a relatively flat line. It remains to be seen whether this will be successful against top teams such as Atletico or Dortmund.
3. 90 minutes are still too much
It looks as if Bayern have forgotten how to stay focused. Against PSV, Gladbach and in both matches against Augsburg, we saw them struggle for a bit. In the last three matches, it was always right in the middle of the second half where the team lost focus.
This results in dumb mistakes, such as those leading to Augsburg’s goals. PSV and Gladbach too almost celebrated a comeback due to individual mistakes.
The team currently isn’t capable of shifting down to second gear comfortable. Phases without possession show far too many mistakes in the collective movement, while the own build-up becomes shaky and erratic. There’s nothing wrong with securing a lead by falling back into a solid 4-4-2 system. But it needs to be done right and not by giving up all control.
Simply said: Minimize your mistakes.
The lack of intensity was criticised after the matches against Köln and Frankfurt. That issue hasn’t been resolved yet, it has only been reduced. In the upcoming weeks, they need to solve this problem altogether. In Eindhoven, Hoffenheim and Dortmund, there are strong opponents up ahead.
|FC Augsburg – FC Bayern München 1:3 (0:2)|
|FC Augsburg||Hitz – Verhaegh, Janker, Hinteregger, Stafylidis – Kacar (82. Moravek), Baier – Koo, Altintop (65. Teigl), Schmid (55. Max) – Ji|
|Subs||Luthe, Feulner, Usami, Schmidt|
|FC Bayern München||Neuer – Lahm, Boateng (62. Badstuber), Martínez (29. Hummels), Alaba – Xabi Alonso – Thiago, Vidal – Robben (76. Kimmich), Lewandowski, Costa|
|Subs||Ulreich, Bernat, Sanches, Müller|
|Goals||0:1 Lewandowski (19.), 0:2 Robben (21.), 0:3 Lewandowsk (48.), 1:3 Koo (67.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Koo, Teigl / –|
|Referee||Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle)|
|Attendance||30.660 (sold out)|