Bayern Stumble Against Man. City
Julian Naglesmann would start with a back four again that featured Manuel Neuer in goal, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernández and Alphonso Davies in defense, Marcel Sabitzer and Joshua Kimmich in midfield with Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané playing just behind Serge Gnabry in attack.
Amid weather delays due to torrential downpours and lightning, Bayern would play some rather uninspiring football. Manchester City would gain a 12th minute lead through former BVB striker Erling Håland. After a free kick, Kevin DeBruyne would play a pass into Jack Grealish would crossed across the net to a waiting Håland for an easy tap in 0-1.
Man City would dominate play for the majority of the first half having nearly 60% possession and by far the better chances. Bayern would get a few half chances but never really threatened Ederson’s goal.
The second half started with far less changes than the previous match as only Sven Ulreich took over in goal for Neuer and Noussair Mazraoui replaced Coman.
The second half would not see the Reds fair any better however. Bayern would gain a little more control overall but never really managed to get a good shot on goal. In fact, one statistic can pretty readily summarize this match. Bayern were outshot 22 to 3 and had zero shots on goal to City’s five.
After an impressive showing on Wednesday, this one brought us all back down to earth. Bayern struggled in nearly every aspect of the game. They were very fortunate not to have conceded more than the one goal in the first half. Håland had several chances to extend that lead but was foiled by desperate tackles or offsides flags.
Meanwhile, Bayern couldn’t find any traction at the opposite end. Most of that was due to Bayern being overwhelmed in the midfield and City consistently making incisive attacks through the defense.
It’s clear that Bayern and Nagelsmann still have work to do before the season begins. Putting that work in and figuring out how to best utilize those players will ultimately decide how this season progresses.
A big part of that will be incorporating players in the right positions and right roles. While it would be a stretch to call the team fielded by Nagelsmann tonight their best eleven, it wasn’t that far off of it. This is a lineup you can easily see being deployed at times this season and against good opposition especially depending on injuries.
I suspect that Nagelsmann is using this time to tinker around with the lineup and formations to see how best to put this team together.
Somewhat surprisingly he has largely stuck with a four man chain in the back. I think most of us expected him to at least toy around with a back three. Given that these were the perfect matches to test out such a formation, it would seem as though he is at least planning to start the season with a traditional back four.
But probably the biggest challenge is going to be able to figure out exactly how to arrange the attack. He has no shortage of options at his disposal, but finding the right balance might prove to be difficult.
All of that said, there is certainly no reason to be panicked about the upcoming season. Or at least based on these two matches. Just as the first was never something to get overly excited about, this loss is nothing to be overly worried about.
The amount of turnover in key positions in addition to integrating new acquisitions takes time. Even with the exciting transfer period that Bayern have had so far, there is likely too be an adjustment period, especially up top as they transition from Lewandowski.
Up next Bayern will take on RB Leipzig in the DFL Supercup on July 30th. I would suspect that Nagelsmann will lineup with more of an eye on the season which should give us all a chance to see what he’s planning for this season.