Bayern Draw Against Stuttgart
Sunday saw the Munich side host their final home match this season against VfB Stuttgart at the Allianz Arena. Julian Nagelsmann lined up with Manuel Neuer, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Tanguy Nianzou, Alphonso Davies, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski.
Stuttgart were always going to come into this match with more motivation and spirit given that they are plying for far more at the bottom of the table. However Bayern came out looking far more energetic and dangerous than they had a week earlier.
Bayern had a several chances in the opening minutes to take the lead however it would be Stuttgart who would get the opener in the eighth minute. Tiago Tomas would receive a pass on the edge of the box and curl it past Neuer to make it 0-1.
Bayern would have the better of the chances for the remainder of the half. Müller had several excellent opportunities including hitting the crossbar from within the 6 yard box and a header that required a quick reaction save by the Stuttgart keeper.
It would be Gnabry who eventually found the leveler though. In the 35th minute, the winger cut in to the box and hit a shot/cross towards the back post/Coman that was redirected in by Konstantinos Mavropanos 1-1.
Then just before the half, Müller would finally get his goal. Müller would receive the ball in the box and turn beautifully before toe poking it past the keeper to make it 2-1.
The second half Bayern’s chance creation started to slip a bit. Ultimately, it would be Stuttgart who took advantage of a costly mistake by the Bayern defense as Saša Kalajdžić would end the scoring and make it 2-2.
Following the disastrous showing last week, and the subsequent “team building” trip to Ibiza, there was a legitimate question as to how Bayern would perform today. While that trip may still be subject to legitimate criticism, Bayern played with passion today and much better than they have in recent months apart from perhaps that BVB win.
The attack looked dangerous from the opening whistle. Everything looked shaper and crisper. The passing had purpose. The players looked determined and focused. Even the opening goal from Stuttgart appeared to be far more unlucky than a terrible lackluster performance.
The midfield as well looked far more focused and cohesive. These are the performances we expect to see from Bayern. Everyone from Gnabry to Müller was involved. The attack was spread out and not focused simply on one side or through one individual.
Despite the much improved efforts and performance offensively, the defense continued to struggle to consistently perform. Both Nianzou and Upamecano struggled with specific aspects of the game which ultimately lead to chances for Stuttgart.
Upamecano specifically has continued to struggle with his passing and ball control. Far too often his passes are off target, improperly weighted or completely ill-advised. Nianzou on the other hand continues to have some issue with positioning and over playing.
Nianzou’s issues are somewhat understandable. These are things that tend to get better the longer you play and older you get. However Upamecano, really needs to focus on improving his ball control and passing this summer. Giving away the ball as easily and in the positions that he does is extremely problematic.
There have been a lot opinions out there since Villarreal on everything from Nagelsmann, to Brazzo, to Kahn, to the players. While I’m not going to comment on those conjectures at this point, the one thing I do think has become obvious throughout the course of this season is the need for consistency.
There have been far too many peaks and valley’s throughout this season. In all honesty, this isn’t exactly a new occurrence either, despite what some of the fanbase would have you believe. This consistency needs to be instilled throughout the organization.
Brazzo and the board need to provide the players to offer that consistency. Nagelsmann needs to develop and provide that consistency in training. The players need to keep their level of play, desire and energy throughout the season regardless of the opponent or whatever situation is happening off the pitch.
While I know some were still very disappointed by the performance/result today, to me this was at least a step in the right direction. The team played with conviction. They had a lot of chances. They could have scored five or six on a different day. While they could have conceded a few more as well, ultimately I at minimum saw a team that played with desire and passion. I’ll take that after the performance a week ago.