Bayern win 6-1 – Goodtinho destroys Bremen

Christopher Separator December 16, 2019

Bayern against Bremen: Starting formations

The stars seemed to have aligned favourably for Bayern before the game. The team had not lost against Bremen for ages. Last season, the team form the Weser at least managed to give Bayern a fight in the DFB-Pokal and the second game in the Bundesliga.

In case you missed it:

The starting lineups

Hansi Flick unsurprisingly made some changes from his Champions League starting eleven. Alaba, Pavard, Goretzka and Lewandowski returned to the pitch while Coutinho kept his place. He started for the injured Coman who will not be back before January.

Florian Kohfeldt opted for a defensive setup, which seemed a reasonable thing to do considering Bremen’s run of only one win in the last six games. He went for a 5-3-2 formation to inhibit Bayern’s considerable attacking capability down the flanks. Sahin, Klaassen and M. Eggestein were meant to provide stability in the center. Osako and Rashica were supposed to hit Bayern on counter attacks.

The first half

The match started lively right out of the gate. In the first 10 minutes alone, there were chances for at least 4 or 5 goals on both sides with Bayern being slightly more threatening. Yet the biggest chance of all in the early exchanges fell to Rashica, who had a free run on Bayern’s goal but slipped before he could find a finish.

In the following, Bremen successively warmed to the game and began to press higher and disrupt Bayern’s hitherto well-structured build-up play. Simple turnovers of possession in midfield by Bayern were the result.

Bremen reaped the rewards for their energetic play just a few minutes later. Once again, they won the ball in midfield and played a quick, vertical pass in the path of Rashica. Boateng desperately tried to stop him in a foot race back towards Bayern’s goal, but couldn’t. Rashica hammered the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty area, making it 0-1 for Bremen in the 24th minute. Bremen now took control of the game while Bayern resorted to putting helpless crosses into the penalty area to create a sort of goal threat themselves. This was about the worst phase of performance in all games under Flick so far.

It took until shortly before the break for Bayern to find back to more control and have their next big opportunity through Robert Lewandowski, but the Polish striker missed up a chance which he would normally convert in a somnambulist state (39′). Then Bayern’s goal finally came in the 45th minute. Kimmich played over the top of Bremen’s defense with a smart chip. Gnabry showed good vision and squared a cross to Coutinho who scored a tap-in for the equalizer (45′). Unfortunately for Bremen, they lost Gebre Selassie to injury in the same situation. The former Bayern youth player Friedl came on for him. Bayern used the resulting disorder in Bremen’s defense to take the lead in stoppage time. Coutinho chipped a smart ball in the path of Lewandowski, similar to that of Kimmich before the first goal. The striker had a free route on Pavlenka’s goal and put the ball over the line for the 2-1 lead (45’+3).

A funny first half. Bayern had a good initial 10 minutes followed by a complete slump, which was somewhat painted over by the two goals shortly before the interval.

The second half

At half time, Hansi Flick made personell changes to adjust to Bremen’s tactics. Perišić came on for Boateng, Pavard moved to center-back, Kimmich out to right-back and Coutinho to the left number eight position.

The changes helped Bayern to gain more control of the game, but they still could not really create many chances, apart from a big chance by Coutinho right after the whistle. The fans were compensated for a game idling by in the 63rd minute. Alaba played a marvellous long ball over the top of the entire Werder team. Coutinho’s first touch was excellent and with the second, he dinked the ball over Pavlenka in a high arc to make it 3:1 for Bayern. 

A short time later, Flick tackled the second structural problem in his lineup. He brought on Müller for Goretzka, who had had almost no connection to the events on the pitch all game. The substitution payed off after only two minutes. In midfield, Müller crossed a ball to Lewandowski, who in one slick move brought the ball down and converted it directly (72′). The game was now effectively over. Three minutes later, it was for Müller to score after a nice combination of Perišić and Coutinho the ball came his way (75′).

And so it went on. Three minutes later, Coutinho got the ball on the edge of the penalty area, dropped his shoulder past a defender and curled the ball in the upper right-hand corner. Another breathtaking goal – and his third of the game (77′).

In the end, Bayern saw out the game in second gear. Flick brought Singh for Coutinho to give the Brazilian his applause and the youngster his first few minutes in the Bundesliga. The game ended on time. Bayern played a first half that was woeful at times, but managed to hoist themselves up in the second half to win 6-1.

Things that caught our eye

1. Defensive work found wanting

It was the first time under Hansi Flick that Bayern’s pressing was not equal to the task. Especially in the first half, Bremen had some massive chances on the break. On the one hand, this was due to a bad positional play, but it also did not help that not all players joined in to consistently press as a unit. Thus, Bremen managed to play some incisive vertical long balls to release the speed of Rashica. Jérôme Boateng in particular did not seem able to cope with this. Rashica made him look dated and out of his depth twice in the early stages of the game, the second time of which he scored his goal. Boateng clearly is not a runner anymore. Hansi Flick brought him off at the break.

2. Bare bones squad

In addition to Perišić and Müller, Mai, Singh, Batista Meier and Zirkzee sat on the bench this Saturday afternoon along with a number of up-and-coming players. On the one hand, this is a good sign that Bayern’s investments in youth football over the past years are slowly coming to fruition. On the other hand, a bench like this is an indication that there is not enough strength in depth to be able to bring on a like for like replacement in every position. It was prudent for Flick to use the later stages of the game to give a young player the experience of playing in the Bundesliga. In the end, this honor fell to Singh who made his Bundesliga debut. During the winter break, it’s time to look closely at whether there a need for new players.

3. Goodtinho’s breakthrough

3 goals, 2 assists, 8 shots on goal, 4 key passes, 90% passes completed of over 50 passes. Coutinho finally seems to have arrived at FC Bayern. Just at a time when the doubters had been growing in number, the Brazilian has had a terrific week. He was already an asset against Tottenham and against Bremen he became even more so with every minute of play. His positioning between the lines helped Bayern to reduce their strong wing focus.

All the frustrations and lack of fulfilled promise that pent up in the first two months seemed to break out all at once on this day. His shots found their way into the net – and boy, did they ever. Coutinho has arrived. Here is to hoping that he stays.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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