Leverkusen 3 – 0 Bayern: It takes only a few bad decisions to lose a title
This article written by Rainer Pompermayer
Tuchel surprised everyone with a three at the back system, with Upamecano, Dier and Kim as center backs, Boey and Mazraoui at left and right wing back respectively, Pavlović and Goretzka in the midfield and Musiala, Sané and Kane up front. At the same time Xabi Alonso also went with a different than usual approach with back four. However, it became noticeable after a while that the Spanish coach had the better plan.
In the beginning of the first half, Bayern controlled the possession and was actually the first to have a shot, although far from Hradécky’s goal. But, after a couple minutes Leverkusen took the lead when all the Bayern defense simply stopped to watch Andrich cross onto Stanišić to score. An abysmal error of all the defensive side, especially from Boey who should have been covering the left flank. Still five players at the back should be more than enough to cover these transition balls from one side to the other revealing a complete lack of concentration and poor marking from the whole back five.
The rest of the first half on resulted in a few minor chances, one good Neuer save following a Tella shot and an easy Hradécky one after a weak shot from Mazraoui. But it was pretty clear that the new Bayern system wasn’t working, with Leverkusen slowly but surely gaining more hold over the match, and that we needed changes for the second half.
Unfortunately, the changes didn’t happen at half time and Bayern came back with the same line up and systems. Naturally, after just a couple minutes, Leverkusen scored again through Grimaldo. After that, Leverkusen continued to have the best chances, until Bayern finally made some minor changes. Around the 60 minute, Müller and Kimmich came on for Pavlović and Upamecano, with the squad reverting back to the usual 4-2-3-1.
To be fair, Bayern was a bit better after these changes and finally started to get more possession and more security, with Leverkusen being able to hit the Bayern defense only on the counter. But after some chances for both sides, in the final minute, after a crazy move by Neuer going to the opposition box in a corner, Leverkusen scored the third goal and ended the match.
The system choice really didn’t fit the squad in such an important match. I know that Tuchel tried to surprise Alonso, that would make sense against the way that Leverkusen usually plays, and that this system can work with the current squad. But, oh boy, that was a bad bet. Also, it didn’t help that the team probably wasn’t completely used to it and that Boey was playing in the left, something that he was certainly not used to. Also why leave Mazroui on the left when Guerreiro came onto the field in the 80th minute? One bad decision after another from Tuchel today.
It was really noticeable that after the second goal, the team was shattered. If in the first half most players didn’t show much in the field and were clearly lacking energy, after the second goal nothing much worked anywhere. For the whole match, Sané seemed to be back to his worst moments in the 20/21 and 21/22 season, Musiala didn’t manage to do much and Kane was almost invisible for the whole of the 90 minutes. If in the previous games the Englishman didn’t have amazing performances, he at least scored some goals and had some shots, today it seems that he wasn’t even on the field.
After the two comebacks in the previous matches, we should expect a more “never say die” attitude from Bayern, but I guess that asking for attitude and full concentration from this squad could be too much.
Why did he go to the opposition box if the match was already 2-0? Why?
Probably, given a five point lead and with this Bayern team showing a weak mentality, I don’t see why Leverkusen should not start planning their first Bundesliga celebration. It would take some slips from Xabi Alonso’s team, Tuchel performing masterfully and this Bayern squad showing both a strong mentality and will to win, for Bayern to be able to maybe start hoping for the 12th title in a row.
The young Croatian had a wonderful match, scoring the first and most important goal and stopping most advances from Boey…. Oh, sorry, a player that was indeed playing for Bayern Munchen today? Hum, I cannot think of a single one… Let’s say Müller for the sake of it, because at least he showed up for the interview after the match and said some truths about the missing attitude on the field.
Do we really need to choose just one? I think at least 9 or 10 players could take this prize home. But I will choose Boey, the French wingback had a terrible day at the office today. Being the most responsible party for the first goal and not being able to inflict any danger at all on the right side of the Leverkusen defense. Of course we need to highlight that he was put in a bad situation being asked to play on the left.
LINE UPS AND GOALS:
Goals : 1:0 (Stanišić, 18), 2:0 (Grimaldo, 50), 3:0 (Frimpong, 90)
Yellow cards: Boey (36t), Goretzka (62), Tapsoba ( 64), Adli (77), Hrádecký (83)
Lineup Bayer 04 Leverkusen : Hrádecký – Stanišić, Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie – Xhaka, Andrich, Wirtz (Hlozek, 90), Tella (Frimpong, 65), Grimaldo (Puerta, 90) – Adli (Hofmann, 82)
Lineup FC Bayern Munich : Neuer – Upamecano (Müller, 60), Dier, Kim – Mazraoui, Boey (Guerreiro, 81), Pavlović (Kimmich, 60 ), Goretzka, L. Sané, Musiala (Choupo-Moting, 81) – Kane