Bayern Manage A Draw with Leipzig
Leipzig would start off the scoring in the 19th minute as Manuel Neuer would attempt to clean up a mess from his defense, as he so often does, only to misjudge the ball and give Nkunku a tap in to make it 0-1. Shortly after, Javi Martinez would be forced to come off due to an apparent groin issue and his replacement Jamal Musiala would waste no time in contributing to the match.
Kingsely Coman received the ball in a dangerous spot outside the box and while he might have taken a shot himself, he decided to pass it to the youngster who took one touch and then blasted it past Gulasci to make it 1-1. Just four minutes later Coman would again get the ball on the edge of the area and think about shooting but instead found an on running Thomas Müller who easily slid the ball in to make it 2-1. Unfortunately, the defense seemed to have gone into a coma following that goal and allowed Leipzig to march down the field and tie things up at 2-2 just two minutes later.
That coma carried over into the second half as just three minutes after the restart, Forsberg would be allowed to waltz into the box completely unmarked and head home a cross to make it 2-3. The next 25 mintues didn’t produce much from either side. Leipzig appeared to go into their shell a little more and sit deeper while Bayern struggled to break down their defense.
However, Kingsley Coman would come to the rescue once again with a beautiful curling cross to Thomas Müller on the far post who headed it home for his second to make it 3-3. Bayern would have the better of the opportunities for the remaining 15 minutes but would never get close to a winner and so the match would end in a deserved draw.
In what is becoming a trend, Bayern’s back line once again struggled in nearly every facet of the game. There are obviously some very real reasons why there are issues. Injuries the chief among them. However, the back four today consisted of players who have a lot of experience playing together and yet somehow looked as though they had never previously set foot on a field at the same time.
There were miscommunications all over. The passing amongst them always looked off. They did a very poor job of positioning themselves when Leipzig got forward. Perhaps most disappointingly, they also provided very little to the buildup or offense.
Süle and Boateng both had pretty shocking games overall. Alaba was ok on the left and Pavard at least had a few good moments in attack. However, all four of them looked uncomfortable on the ball nearly the entire match. As mentioned, this is hardly new either. For as good as Alaba and Boateng were last season at leading the defense and organizing the team, they have been equally absent this season and that has to change if Bayern are to win any of their three competitions.
Perhaps where this is most notable is in Bayern’s ability to deal with high pressure from opponents. The thing that they did so well last season is being used to smother them this season. The loss of Thiago and now Kimmich has really shed a light on some deficiencies within the squad.
When Kimmich went down, we all knew that there would be problems in the midfield. He is unquestionably one of the best midfielders in the world and his talents on the ball are now irreplaceable in this side. However, what I didn’t expect, is just how much his absence would affect all the other players behind the attacking four.
A lot of those on ball problems mentioned above for the defenders seem to originate with Kimmich no longer being that outlet for them. All those little spaces that they would play long balls into have vanished because there is no midfield presence for Bayern. Goretzka is doing his best but we’re asking the impossible of one man.
Likewise, the wingers and midfield in general also are missing Kimmich as that general safety net of a passing station. While it looks like Kimmich is well on his way to returning, every one of the Bayern players needs more work on playing in tight spaces and finding solutions to retain possession when the press is on. While I’m sure fatigue is also a bit of a factor, there is no excuse for how easily they have been harried off the ball at times this season.
When we were discussing idea of awarding a man of the match in our match reports, I jokingly asked if people would get bored because Lewandowski and Neuer would win it too often. As things have turned out, I should have been worried about Kingsley Coman. The French winger has been in tremendous form over the last few months and yet again was imperative to Bayern’s ability to get a point out of tonight’s match.
His first assist to Musiala was the least influential in the final result. Musiala’s effort was fantastic and that goal was all about his vision and shot. However the second two assists to Müller were much more about his vision and pinpoint passing. Müller deserves tons of credit for his movement and finishing but the passes from Coman were inch perfect.
Right now it feels like any offensive chances that Bayern get come from one of the two and tonight it was Coman who turned provider and Müller who turned scorer. Both deserve tons of credit for bolstering an offense that at times has struggled to break down opposing defenses. Additionally, both have provided much needed energy on both sides of the ball at times. Bayern have plenty of offensive talent at their disposal and surely it is a matter of time before the likes of Sane and Gnabry step up their game as well. The possibilities if all four of those players are in form with Robert Lewandowski up top is the stuff of nightmares for defenders.