Bayern Bounced Out of DFB Pokal
Tuchel started the match with nearly the same lineup that faced BVB with the only change being João Concelo replacing Alphonso Davies at left back. Yann Sommer, Benjamin Pavard, Matthijis de Ligt, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting filled out the starting eleven.
It was an ugly match with three total goals as Dayot Upamecano scored the opener for the Bavarians in the 19th minute followed closely by an absolutely screamer by Nicolas Höfler in the 27th. Lucas Höler would net the winner on the penalty after Jamal Musiala had his hands raised in the box on a shot.
Bayern may have a new coach but the same issues plagued Bayern once again. The creativity and chance creation tonight was almost nonexistent. Sané was the only player who consistently put himself in threatening situations on the night and he never produced an opportunity of note.
The inconsistencies of the attacking unit have been one of the biggest recurring issues for Bayern in the second half. Coman has been by far their most consistent offensive player and had a match to forget tonight as well.
Meanwhile, Choupo and Müller weren’t particularly bad but neither ever really did much to threaten the goal and were missing quite often in and around the box. Musiala and Sadio Mané did not change the match much, if at all, when they came off the bench.
Serge Gnabry on the other hand did at least make several threatening runs. However, apart from a couple of shots, those didn’t really result in much either.
All in all, Tuchel has his work cut out for him in the coming days. Performances like this happen to almost every team, but it is becoming habit in the second half. Too many players are performing too inconsistently on the offensive end and tonight they paid for that.
It would be wrong however to only single out the offensive unit. The entire team seemed off tonight. Whether it is a bit of a hangover from their win against Dortmund or just a lack of concentration, the performance was pretty poor all over.
The passing in particular was unusually bad. From the first whistle, Bayern struggled to connect with each other misplacing, misweighting and telegraphing seemingly every kick of the ball.
Freiburg of course deserves credit here. They were very good at closing up and challenging passing lanes, but Bayern made it far too easy for them.
The first half seemed particularly bad as they would seem to be a moment from breaking free only to have a ball struck far too heavy or behind the player they intended. It was extremely frustrating to watch.
One thing I appreciated from Tuchel was his willingness to make changes relatively early. I feel as though the Bayern managers since Jupp have all tended to wait far too long to make changes in matches.
However, a couple of them left me scratching my head. Despite maybe not having the best match overall, I found it interesting that Choupo would be taken off in the 64th minute. Coman on the other hand made perfect sense as they were replaced by Musiala and Gnabry.
Then he brought on Mané for Goretzka in the 79th minute. Honestly, Goretzka had had a pretty forgettable match, however it felt odd at the time to take off a physical player who is capable on both sides of the ball of making a difference.
Finally, I am a little confused that Alphonso Davies didn’t make an appearance. Cancelo did not have a particularly good match on the left. de Ligt seemed particularly irritated with his position, movements and passing decisions in the first half.
He also did not appear to link up with Sané particularly well. He spent far more time cutting in towards the middle of the pitch and seemingly stepping on Sané’s toes than he did providing any width or really any of his trademark balls into the box.
Davies speed and creativity can create chaos for the other team and this game needed that desperately. It also felt as though that speed would have been extremely effective on the night.
However, it also highlighted for me that perhaps we should not be deploying Cancelo so much on the left. His early performances which were generally very good, all came on the right. Obviously I know he is capable of playing on the left, but he appears far more suited to the right.
I know Pavard has been in a good run of form, but most of that came as a result of playing as a central defender in a back three. I still don’t really think that right back is the ideal position for him and is likely to result in a regression over the coming weeks.
For me, it’s hard to understand why we have yet to see a match with Cancelo on the right and Davies on the left. Yes it’s very attacking. Yes it might open up some opportunities for the other team. But given our struggles to create chances on the offensive end, those two both have unique skills that can achieve just that if given the opportunity.