Bayern Hold On Against Hertha
The starting lineup’s had 5 changes from the midweek match against BVB. The most notable of which was Richards playing at right back and Davies playing as a winger. From the start Bayern struggled to control the match. Hertha disrupted play and the Bayern players were out of sync enough that there were very few real chances until Lewandowski scored right before the half. The second half opened with another Lewandowski goal but Hetha would score the next two to tie things up. Then things would really get crazy. Lewandowski would score in the 85th minute before Ngankam would immediately tie things up again in the 88th. Finally, Lewandowski would be brought down in the box for a penalty in the 3rd minute of additional time and he would of course convert it himself to finish the match 4-3.
Return to Kovac Ball
This match had all the hallmarks of the Kovac era. A high scoring game where Bayern failed to gain any control, concede ridiculously easily on multiple occasions and eventually are saved by incredible skill on the part of Robert Lewandowski.
Most of the issues today can be fairly easily explained. The players have had a busy schedule with a very short summer break. There were several regulars out because of injury. Players were forced into positions that are maybe not their best. And the lack of playing time with each other and familiarity with those positions caused positioning and connectivity problems throughout the match. The pressing wasn’t quite as intense as it is when they’re at their best. If you watched only this match, this team looks like one that would have to really fight in every Bundesliga match to win the league.
Build Up Problems
The build up play was where that was the most obvious. The team never really seemed to be on the same page. A lot of this felt like a result of the two wing backs that Bayern played. Hernandez has been great defensively so far this year. He has more than earned regular playing time. However, he does not bring the same skillset that Davies does in that position. The offense struggle because of it. He tends to drift more centrally at times while in possession which narrows the field and when he does stay wide, his distribution is far less threatening than when Davies is out there.
Richards on the other hand was visibly nervous. By the second half you could actually see the Bayern players trying to force the ball away from the youngster during build up play. That being said, he did manage to put in 3 or 4 excellent crosses one of which resulted in Lewandowski’s second goal and another that Müller appeared to have scored before being called offside. However, his hesitancy and inability to quickly progress the ball caused some issues for the backline. Between that, his pressing and positioning, he has some things he will need to work on if he is to become Bayern’s back up right back for this season. It was not a bad match from the young American and hopefully with more practice, game time and thereby confidence, he will develop into a real asset in the back.
Squad Problems on Display
I’m tired of writing about it. I’m sure you’re tired of reading about it. But once again the depth of the squad was proven to be an issue again. Missing just Sané and Coman left Bayern with little option but to player either Davies, Müller or Musiala on the wing. Giving Pavard a day off meant playing a 20 year old who primarily plays as a center back with no real Bundesliga experience.
The real issue today though was the bench. Starting Davies and Richards in a Bundesliga match isn’t the end of the world. It’s a long, busy season and there will be times that Hansi needs to rotate players. However, the fact that Musiala and Zirkzee were the only offensive options available in the face of two players missing a match is not good. Just before the match it was announced that Marc Roca had officially signed with the Club. There are plenty of other rumors out there regarding other players. All we can do now is sit back and hope that Brazzo can bring in the players that Flick needs to compete on all fronts.
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Aside from the reasons you specified (for the Kovac style), I think mentally the team was not at 100%. It’s always hard to do so, especially with 2 Cup finals sandwiched between 3 Bundesliga matches. I expect some improvements after then winter break since they will have a bit of time to clear their heads.
And yes, I’m also tired of whining about squad depth, and hopefully we won’t have to do so from tomorrow. Since I never watch anyone (of the current rumoured targets and even Marc Roca) except for Douglas Costa, I’m looking forward to hearing your initial assessment on them one everything is finalised.
And, to be fair, I think missing Sane and Coman is not “just” :-) it’s a tall order for team. Hopefully with them being back to full fitness in the next period, and the supposed 4th winger, we won’t have to see Tolisso or Musiala coming on when we are chasing again, though, again, to be fair, I like what I saw yesterday with Musiala.
One moment that looked quite bizarre to me, was Flick laughing after our opening goal. Usually he has his gravity look, even when we’re 4-0 up, and considering the match situation at 1-0, a win was far from clear. Perhaps Brazzo just text him to confirm the signing of his wish?
From a neutral’s viewpoint, it was a really fun game. Actually, it was as a Bayern fan as well. One thing that surprised me was how well Richards did offensively, but then looked overwhelmed with defense and positioning. I really hoped that they would loan him out to a team where he can get more 1st team experience.
It’s good for the Bundesliga that Hertha is looking strong.
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