Lewy Sinks Augsburg

Marc Separator April 10, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann made several changes to the side as expected given the importance of Tuesday’s second leg tie in the Champions League. Manuel Neuer started in goal as usual. Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano started as well but Tanguay Nianzou and Omar Richards replaced Lucas Hernandez and Alphonso Davies, respectively. Joshua Kimmich of course started in the midfield but was joined by Leon Goretzka who was in for Jamal Musiala. In attack, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski all kept their spots but were joined by Leroy Sane who came in for Kingsley Coman.

Bayern vs Augsburg

For all of us expecting a bounce back performance, it became clear early on that it was unlikely to happen. Once again, Bayern looked flat out of the gates. The first half rolled by with very little in the way of chances for either side.

There were four shots a piece from the two sides with only one a piece being on target. All of Bayern’s were taken from outside the box as well compared to 2 inside from Augsburg. While these statistics can be misleading at times, in this case they also felt right by how the half went. Neither team produced much but Augsburg’s chances felt slightly more dangerous.

Nagelsmann would make one change at the half bringing on Musiala for Gnabry. Musiala’s dribbling ability was a nice feature given how poor the passing was on the day but he didn’t have a huge impact. Just twelve minutes later, Marcel Sabitzer and Alphonso Davies would replace Goretzka and Richards.

These substitutions had a far greater impact overall. Sabitzer was easily the most impactful midfielder on the day and Davies immediately started causing problems for Augsburg on the left. Coman was brought on eight minutes after those two for the ineffective Sane moving Musiala over to the right.

While these changes sparked a little bit of life into the side, the team still struggled mightily to find any kind of purchase in the attacking third. Truth be told, Bayern still only looked slightly better at all.

However, Augsburg also never looked overly likely to do much. As the match progressed, it became increasingly obvious that Augsburg would be more than happy to escape Munich with a point.

Those dreams were dashed however in the 82nd minute. Davies whipped in a cross to Lewandowski who headed towards goal but Reece Oxford had his hand extended which ultimately blocked the balls path resulting in a penalty. Lewandowski stepped up to take it of course and buried it to make it 1-0.

This appeared to give Bayern a little bit of momentum and confidence as they looked more likely to score again in the remaining eight minutes than they had for the vast majority of the opening 80. However they wouldn’t add to their total ending the match 1-0 while maintaining their nine point lead over BVB in the table.

Three Things We Noticed

Poor Passing

Perhaps the most disappointing and unforgivable display on the day was the abysmal passing. While there will be a few external factors that contributed to this, ultimately it was more a result of poor attention to detail and unforced mistakes.

What’s most distressing is some of the culprits. While we hope more from the likes of Omar Richards and Nianzou, I feel like a few misplaced passes from them is somewhat understandable. Who you don’t expect to have this kind of problem is Kimmich.

Our midfield engine had a very bad day in this regard. Seemingly every few minutes he was making a pass that had neither the correct weight or direction. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, he gave the ball away a lot for any first team player, much less a player we rarely see making simple errors.

He was not the only one and I’m not going to point out every player, but come Tuesday night the team has to be more focused and clinical in how they move the ball. These types of mistakes are avoidable and can ultimately make the difference between winning and losing in such an important match.

Lack of Rhythm

The passing of course had a major impact on the attacking side of the ball yet again. This time however, you almost have to feel sorry for the attackers. The defense and midfield really struggled to get them involved for much of the match.

Even when they did get the ball into the final third, they then struggled to do much of anything besides swing in a cross here or there. The middle of the pitch has become so rarely used in the last few matches that Muller and Lewandowski barely feel involved.

Nagelsmann needs to find a way to utilize the middle of the pitch more and open up the wings to expand the defense. The last few matches, it has seemed as though the entire center of the box was clogged up as none of the wingers have been very successful in beating their defenders and instead have forced in increasingly desperate crosses.

Changing Winds?

In my humble opinion though, I think there has been a bit of confidence issues over the last few matches. Things haven’t really been going right and when that happens it’s very easy to feel as though there is a cloud following you as a player.

As talented as these players are, most of the time it only takes a little nudge to push them out of this type of funk. The life that they showed after Lewandowski’s penalty showed that they’re not that far from picking things up again.

Hopefully that really was all they needed. It won’t be for everyone, but if the likes of Kimmich, Gnabry, Muller and Lewandowski can get their feet under them, Bayern should have a good chance of changing things around on Tuesday and push towards the Champions League semifinals.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. I’ll let the dead horse lay for a bit- (I don’t know if German has this phrase, lmk). Another disappointing performance, moreso given the circumstances. My concerns about the coach and team remain the same, but here’s to hoping that the penalty was that turning point this team needed. I think we’ll win tomorrow, but I don’t know too many fans who were sweating about Villareal like we are now. I could totally see a draw tomorrow, but with the home crowd, I’m hoping for an inspired performance. Auf geht’s Bayern!

  2. Oh, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say Niklas Dorsch was the best midfielder on the pitch today. So there’s that.

  3. Thanks @Marc for the sum up, and yes @DBF indeed the last 2 matches were so disappointing I’m puzzled. I hope they can kick start another good period, and they need to do it soon (a.k.a tonight) because it will be a huge disappointment if we cannot get to the semi-final.

  4. It has certainly been a difficult stretch, going back well past these previous two matches. I still tend to think that the absences of Davies and Goretzka and lack of match experience prior to their return to the champions league is a huge factor. Both seem to be getting back into the swing of things and that will help a lot.

    As always, I tend to think far more of our problems come down to squad depth and the effects of putting players in positions that they’re either not accustomed to or suited for because of a lack of other options. Think about it this way. As recently as a few weeks ago, I kept seeing questions as to why Nianzou couldn’t get a start when Upa was playing so poorly. His performance on Saturday to me completely answered that question. While I think some players (ie Roca) are primarily overlooked for reasons unrelated to performance, for the most part I genuinely believe the depth players in the squad since the start of 2022 are just not good enough. They simply don’t have the players to withstand multiple injuries or missing starters. Even going more than one player down the list anywhere but in the Attack is a massive fall off in quality.

    Their performance also affects all of the other players on the team. Consistently having below standard players on the field really can drag down the performance of players who are normally amazing. Unfortunately, our CL success (assuming we make it through today) will probably depend entirely on the health of our starting 11. If they can remain healthy for the remainder of the season, they have a good shot of making a run. If one or more players go down again, most likely so will any chance of winning a 7th CL title.

  5. Hi Marc, yes, I also noticed last weekend that Goreztka and Davies seem to be sharper and fitter, hope this complete XI on paper will help them overcoming the 0-1 deficit tonight.

    Regarding squad depth, you’re right and this has been discussed several time. I don’t know the real status of Bayern’s finance but their seemingly reluctant to spend is worrying me. Perhaps they’re preparing for the future with Neuer, Muller and Lewandowski all aging and possibly leaving, but unless some talents emerge quickly à la Musiala, or some Daviesesque golds are striped, I doubt Bayern will have better depth anytime soon. One possible route is Nagelsmann making a good system that can utilise squad players better, or he will make each individual better, or both, I think Bayern is also counting on that, but while I like Nagelsmann, I’m not putting all my money on it.

    Considering the current rumours, Niklas Sule leaving without any adequate replacement/upgrade is a huge concern. I think each of Hernandez or Upamecano is a good defender but they can only perform to the best next to a defensive leader, not to each other. The midfield too, I heard they were going for Ryan Gravenbech from Ajax. It must be said that I know next to nothing about this player, but he seems to be an all round box-to-box midfields, who in theory could replace Goretzka and support Kimmich, but I think we need another Kimmich more than another Goreztka, especially considering we still have Sabitzer in the rank. So this potential transfer also puzzles me.

    Then the real possibility of losing Lewandowski and Gnarbry on top of Thiago, Alaba, now Sule. Ok I guess I will stop now and look forward to the match in 3 hours. Good luck to Bayern.

  6. Funny you mention Nianzou. I really didn’t rate his performance as that bad. I honestly rated his performance better than Kimmich. He had a few careless errors that could have been exploited by a superior opponent, but I think that is to be expected given his age and first team experience, but that’s exactly why you get him on the pitch against a lower level Bundesliga team with comparable talent. He improves, the team improves; and while he’s not perfect, he’s not costing us points (and sadly I’ve seen similar mistakes from our more experienced players).
    I’d compare his situation with that of Sabitzer. The main difference in the two is that we’ve seen Sabitzer better so we know the quality is there. Sabitzer’s performances had not been great, but leaving him on the bench was not the answer. I think these last performances were a turnaround for him, and feel he will continue to improve as he gets more time on the pitch with the team. I think the same could be said of others regulated to the bench. Ok, sure, Sarr is fine there, but they’re not all that bad. For every Sarr there’s a Stanisic.
    I’d like to think back to that Ancelotti comment about Ribery being a Ferrari. You don’t always need your Ferrari, sometimes the Camry (or Volkswagen) will do, especially if it’s just a quick trip to Ausburg.

  7. Very negative things! Very negative things! My emotional state is such that I should be vague and concrete lest I offend. Bad manager, very very bad manager.

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