Bayern Open 2023 With A Draw
That time unfortunately saw a massive blow in the loss of their captain Manuel Neuer to a skiing injury and the very recent signing of Yann Sommer in addition to the injury of Lucas Hernandez in his first World Cup match leaving Bayern to find a replacement in Daley Blind.
Julian Nagelsmann would waste no time in getting Sommer into the line up starting the Swiss international in goal with Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt and Alphonso Davies in defense. Joshua Kimmich would take over as captain with Leon Goretzka playing next to him in the midfield. The attack would consist of Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting up front.
The effect of a two plus month break was obvious within the first ten minutes of the match starting. A break that is unquestionably going to affect Bayern far more than most of the rest of the Bundesliga due to the amount of international players in their squad.
For nearly all of the allotted 90 minutes, Bayern looked like a team that had not played with each other in a long time. Their passing was not as clinical as it usually is. Their movements and runs were not as well coordinated. The defense particularly looked uncomfortable at times.
Given the injuries mentioned above, not to mention the others still lingering, coupled with the fatigue of the World Cup and length of the break, it really is to be expected. Still they will need to get things up and running sooner rather than later.
While the first half was palatable from a Bayern perspective, even if you overlook the goal and 1-0 lead, the second half was bad. There’s really no other way to say it. Leipzig’s pressure on the ball caused problems even in the first half but they ramped it up to start the second, scored their goal and caused massive issues till at least the 75th minute.
It is not the first time this season that Bayern have had a poor second half of a game, and is even somewhat of a trend over recent years. The pressure problem as well has been a bit of an ongoing issue for the last few seasons as high pressure and quick counters have often been the undoing of the Munich side.
When they are as out of sync as they were Friday evening, things can get out of hand very quickly. Luckily Leipzig did not punish Bayern on this night but it won’t take long before they come across a team that will if they do not address the issue quickly.
Friday night may very well have signaled the start of a new era at Bayern. With Manuel Neuer out indefinitely and Thomas Müller starting on the bench, Bayern was manned by a team entirely bereft of the 2013 Champions League winners. This has likely happened prior to now but this felt more significant this time.
Jamal Musiala starting in Müller’s preferred spot is well deserved but very arguably sends a message to the rest of team, especially as it would have been Müller as the vice captain to Neuer wearing the arm band, not Kimmich.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this. Perhaps Müller had something that was limiting him. But by all appearances, we might have just seen that subtle shift that signals things are winding down on one of the greatest generations of modern football.
That’s not to say the expectations are any lower for this new era. We all expect great things. It’s also not to say that Müller is finished or washed up. I actually wouldn’t even be surprised to see Neuer make a return. Both of them have proved time and again how silly it is to count them out and I expect that Müller in particular will still have a lot of success this season and next.
However, we have to be realistic in that both players are reaching the age where we can’t ignore these things. I think we all know that Kimmich is the future captain and leader of this team. It therefore seemed significant that he would be the one to open the new year as the one wearing the arm band.