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.
Three Things We Noticed
Questions Up Top
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.
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I was not able to fully watch the match because contrary to the Bundesliga and Champions League, where I pay a monthly subscription to an online streaming service to watch, the Pokal can only be found on L’Equipe TV channel here (France) and last night they decided to get creative, alternating between the Bayern – Freiburg and Athletic Bilbao – Osasuna that were at the same time. Very frustrating but I guess who cares about a German Cup match in France anyway?
Trying to defend Tuchel, here are my thoughts:
– He subbed out Choupo-Moting due to fitness reason (back problem and missing training recently). We need him for the next 2 weeks, desperately.
– He subbed out Goretzka because he wanted more penetration in the box (could not really confirmed that due to my intermittent watch). Freiburg was not really attacking anyway, and Cancelo moving central compensated for Goreztka subbed off (in a good or bad way, debatable)
– Cancelo vs Pavard: defensive stability first, attacking football second. Also I think he’s having an eye on Man City. A chain of four seems to be his choice for the rest of this season, and I don’t think we will play both Davies and Cancelo vs Man City, unless if we’re desperately chasing the game. So more time playing together for them to prepare.
All in all it’s true that yesterday game was a disappointment, both in terms of the play, and the elimination. Whether it’s a hangover, and whether Bayern learn from it, I guess we will learn more soon this weekend.
Well that’s unfortunate. Always frustrating when tv providers do things like that.
Sure, I think there are reasons why he made the substitutions he did. I think there is a world where all of them work out perfectly. The Choupo fitness issue is for sure a factor and makes it very justifiable. Goretzka I think offers a lot of physicality that is irreplaceable when he’s not on the field. So even when he’s not playing well like last night, against more physical teams I think it makes more sense to keep him on the pitch.
I completely understand your point with Cancelo and Pavard. I personally think that a back 4 with Davies and Cancelo would be enough for a team that was getting forward as little as Freiburg. But my bigger issue is that I don’t think that Cancelo looks all that great on the left.
Yeah, not sure what to expect this weekend and on Tuesday. Hopefully a lot more than they showed last night. Only time will tell I guess.
I think the plan was not for the fullbacks but the wingers to keep the width, Cancelo helped out Kimmich to control the centre. But of course in hindsight we can question why didn’t we have at least 1 natural attacking fullback to keep the balance. I think for the last 10-15 mins Tuchel and the team were also kind of trapped in the “all out attack for the 2nd goal vs waiting for the extra time” dilemma. The penalty was certainly unexpected.
I think we might be able to see the Davies – Cancelo combo as early as this weekend.
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