Bayern Thump Leverkusen

Marc Separator June 6, 2020

Coman started the scoring for the Bavarian side with a nice through ball from Goretzka. The assist provider then turned to goal scorer with a well taken shot across the goal to beat the wrong footed Leverkusen keeper. The third came from Gnabry right before the half. On the second of two fantastic long balls over the Leverkusen defense he chip it over the oncoming keeper instead of blasting it directly at him. Finally Robert Lewandowski hammered home a header from a beautiful cross by Thomas Müller to finish the scoring.

Self Belief

Maybe the most important aspect of Hansi Flick’s impact on Bayern is the confidence he seems to have instilled in the players. Once again, Bayern allowed Leverkusen to score the first goal of the match. They put a lot of pressure on the Bavarian side from the start and capitalized on their first chance of the game. However, the Munich side did not let that get them down.

Watching this match, one never really got the sense that the Bayen players were negatively affected by that goal. After a period of back and forth play, Goretzka provided the breakthrough pass to a speeding Coman who was able to slot it past the keeper and tie the match. From there, Bayern never looked back.

While it’s hard to say that players with the quality that Bayern have ever lack confidence, there is a noticeable difference in this team compared to recent years. The swagger is back. The unshakable self belief that they are the best team has returned. Coupled with the talent within the squad, it has turned this Munich side into a force to be reckoned with for any team in Europe.

Physicality

In what seems to be a recurring theme since the return to Bundesliga play, Bayern’s opposition came out with a clear intention of being very physical with them. In all honesty, the tactic makes sense. If you are less physically gifted, trying to out muscle your opponent is a logical approach. However, Leverkusen may have taken this to the extreme, especially since the referee of todays match seemed hesitant to book the pharmaceutical side.

Davies was absolutely mauled from the beginning of the match. Kimmich was run over on several occasions. The Leverkusen players in general seemed to take on the philosophy: “If we can’t beat you in football, we’ll beat you another way.”

However, the Bavarian team again did not let it get them down. Despite the frequent fouls and tackles, they never lost their cool nor did they back down. Instead, they found ways around and, when necessary, through their opposition. It created some beautiful passing sequences around the high pressing, physical Leverkusen players and eventually to four goals.

This will certainly not be the last time we see this type of tactic from the opposition. Most likely Frankfurt and Gladbach will both be very physical with the Munich side. However, this is yet another warning to those sides that this team will not back down simply because you give them a few bumps and bruises.

Seeing Yellow

Despite all of the positives from this match there were two big negatives. Both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller picked up their 5th yellow cards of the season and will therefore miss the next match against Gladbach.

This is a huge blow to Bayern as both players are in the form of their lives. This match then became all that more important in regards to the potential title race. The fact that they will at minimum retain their 7 point lead heading into, on paper, the biggest remaining match of the season without the best striker in the world and one of the best assist men makes a huge difference in both how they approach the match and the amount of stress likely to be put on certain players.

While it’s an unfortunate time for Lewandowski and Müller to miss a match, it feels slightly less problematic after this big win. However, they will both be available for the midweek tie with Frankfurt in the Pokal at home and I’m sure they’ll both be motivated to send their team into next weekend with as much momentum as possible.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. Coman in particular stood out today, and perhaps partly due to the fact that he was switched with Gnabry midway through the halftime. Why did Flick switch, what do you think was the main reason, as he does seem to prefer this setup so far?

    Also Goretzka seems to get more stronger physically now, and he fits very well into the system. It’s amazing to see him replacing Thiago, very different style and characteristics, yet still maintaining the midfield functioning well.

  2. Hi Hien,

    Yes, Hansi Flick really seems to have found a first eleven (to thirteen) and a system he’s comfortable with, which at the moment provides a real boost to Bayern’s performances. As Marc has said, the swagger is back, the confidence, the “mia san mia”. The team looks fit, it looks well organized and always eager to play and score goals.

    I don’t know why Coman and Gnabry switched sides sometime mid-game or what specific incident you’re referring to. But the two of them like to switch sides often, if only to keep the opponent on their toes and perhaps use the resulting confusion to their advantage.

    I agree with you that Coman was the most noticeable player on Saturday, even if not always in a good way. He had some of the more spectacular scenes in front of goal and scored the equalizer. But he was to me also the one player who had the ball often who sneaked in a fair few bad first touches and misplaced passes. Yet all in all I’d say it’s better for a player like Coman to get the ball often and make a few mistakes than being completely invisible.

    Goretzka was really strong on Saturday, too. Although it was Thiago who arguably had the touch of the game in the 94th minute (remember that one? When he was double-teamed by two Leverkusen players and yet managed to pluck a high ball towards him out of the air with his right foot and slid it past the defender in front oh him in one fluid motion to wriggle completely free and calmly play the next pass?), Goretzka did very well replacing him in midfield, not least because of his tremendous steal and the subsequent beautifully weighted pass right in the path of Coman before Bayern’s first goal.

    At the moment, you can hardly criticize anything about Bayern. They really are the team to beat right now. If the Champions League does indeed resume and the interval between Bayern’s last league game and the beginning of the CL matches isn’t too long, I call Bayern odds on favourites for the title.

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