Bayern Manage A Draw with Leipzig

Marc Separator December 5, 2020

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.

Defensive Frailties

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.

Under Pressure

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.

Man of the Match

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.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. RB had a mysteriously huge amount of energy following the epic mid-week CL match in Turkey…I wonder if they’ll suffer the usual post- “WC final” v Bayern performance dip many BLiga teams experience when they play MU in the CL on Tuesday? It would be sad that they get ousted for the sake of trying to beat Bayern.
    While the 3 goals of Bayern were fantastic and hard-won, RB’s were almost gifts thanks to the soft underbelly defense…when will this nightmare end?

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    1. This match certainly came at an inopportune time for Leipzig. If they have any ambition of winning the league they had to leave it all on the pitch today but as you rightly mention, it comes between two hugely important Champions League matches. All of these high stakes matches are likely to catch up with them at some point though I’m sure they are hoping to make it one more match.

      Completely agree regarding the goals in today’s match. I do honestly think the return of Davies and Kimmich will go a long way to fixing many of the defensive deficiencies we’ve seen in recent weeks. While I feel a bit like a broken record at this point, Marc Roca earning the trust of Hansi Flick to be available in more matches would also help a lot with the issues in the defensive half of the pitch. Also, lets face it, even a mini winter break will really help the players to relax and rest a bit.

      1. Agree on all your points!

  2. I agree Marc, it was a highly entertaining game, with high quality play from both sides, minus Bayern’s horrendous defence. It was very frustrating to watch , and yes, the over-reliance on Kimmich was what I feared when Thiago left. Roca should step up quickly!

    On the other hand, I was also very impressed with Leipzig, they play well but they were also incredibly physical and high energy, I did not really expect that considering the sandwich of 2 Champions League matches, as I commented in the preview. I hope they can keep this up tomorrow, it’s very frustrating when a Bundesliga side give their all to play Bayern only to stumble stupidly in Europe not long after (cough…cough… Dortmund 2012).

    Did Musiala also deserve a mention? Of course he’s 17 and he showed his age occasionally, but his workrate was excellent, and I admire his fearless mentality. I think not many 17 years old would dare to make that (1-1) shot considering the pressure. Do we have a real gem here? I also hope this gives Roca an extra push rather than feeling bad because this is not the 1st time Musiala was picked ahead of him, if he can’t make the squad when Kimmich & Tolisso are away it will be never when they’re back.

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    1. I’m going to address your concerns about Roca first. I think there are other reasons for Roca not getting chances this season that go beyond his motivation or ability. I think a lot of it might simply come down to the fact that Hansi has not had a great amount of time to work with him in the system and develop his knowledge of what is expected from him, given that they have been playing two matches a week for pretty much the entire season. There are probably some other barriers that we are completely ignorant of (I’ve heard people mention the language barrier) but those I’m sure will resolve themselves over time. Regardless of what it is, there is something that Flick is simply not comfortable with, and given the performance he had the last time he played, I don’t think it’s because of Roca’s abilities. I’m hopeful that after the break or at some point in the spring, Flick will start to trust him but I don’t think we’re likely to see that in the next few weeks. Musiala on the other hand, despite not being a 1st team player the whole time, has been around Flick, his training methods and probably has better understanding of the system, especially given that his role is far more attacking and less structural than Roca’s.

      Speaking of Musiala, to answer your question, yes he does deserve a mention. His goal was fantastic. His impact when he was brought on was undeniable. But he is still 17 and IMO still show’s his age more than occasionally. For me personally, where this shows the most is in his vision when receiving the ball. For most players within the Bayern squad, there is an obvious knowledge of the players and options around him. It seems to me that Musiala’s first instinct is always to first take the ball in, then go on a dribble before looking to see what the field actually looks like. He is a talented dribbler and so he gets away with it, but it also get’s him into trouble fairly often. I would really like to see him improve on getting the ball, taking 1-2 touches max and moving it on unless he has a path to attack and create something that way. The other area where I think his age shows is in his stamina. He clearly doesn’t quite have an adult footballer’s physique yet and all of the body to body contact coupled with the vast amount of running he does has left him looking winded after about 35-50 minutes in nearly every match he’s appeared in. This will undoubtedly improve as he gets older, but it is a huge challenge for him currently. All of that said though, he clearly has the potential to take that next step and become a great player for Bayern. He has improved tremendously in the time that we’ve seen him with the first team and I would expect that to continue.

      I agree with you regarding Leipzig. As I said in the previous comment, I suspect they may care more about what they do in the Bundesliga right now than in the Champions League. There is an outside chance that they could win the Bundesliga, if things fell right. Also securing a Champions League spot for next season is hugely important for their revenue. While they would get a bigger payout by advancing this year, it is less relevant than securing that spot for next season. Additionally, they likely have no real shot at winning the Champions League. I suspect they will go out and play as hard as they did against Bayern when they face ManU but whether they can sustain it enough to win is certainly an unknown. Honestly, I can’t even really kill Dortmund for what they did in 2012. Winning the league is a huge accomplishment. Sometimes I think we all put a little too much emphasis on the Champions League given just how much luck goes into it. In this case especially though, I feel like Leipzig are much further off the CL than Dortmund was back in 2012 and that it probably does make sense to go out and try to get as many points from Bayern as they could.

      1. Thanks a lot Marc for taking time to discuss. Your assessment on Musiala is spot on, it’s exactly my impression but you said it much better than me. I have high hope for such young player with talent and great mentality. Regarding Roca, while I think you’re very reasonable, I’m still questioning the fact that he almost never gets any minutes on the pitch, which is mandatory for any player to improve. It’s not that we never had chance to do so, and I’m gonna assume Roca is starting tonight, if not it’s really puzzling.

        And Leipzig played another good game yesterday and went through, I’m very pleased. I also understand the perspective of Bundesliga clubs, among which Bayern is a completely different animal.

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