After a very exhausting international break the Bayern Women were facing the sixth matchday of the Women’s Bundesliga. While things were going well in the DFB Pokal and Champions League, Bayern are yet to find their rhythm in the league. Five goals in the five opening games in the league. One in each game.
— Jolle Lahr-Eigen (@jollinski) October 29, 2016
The visitor’s coach Inka Grings laid out the strategy for her team. Quality-wise MSV were clearly inferior to Bayern. Only a snarky team performance would be up against it. The question for the Reds was, despite having little preparation time, if they could maintain the momentum from the recent blowouts.
3 things we noticed
1. Wörle relies on back four in 4-1-4-1 formation
The injured Schnaderbeck and van der Gragt usually filled their roles magnificently as half-defenders in the regular back three system. Thomas Wörle countered the absences with a switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation along with the back four being Verena Faißt, Nora Holstad, Carina Wenninger and Gina Lewandowski. He did that, although having a half-defender at his disposal in Caroline Abbé, who was a starter in the two championship years hardly missing any minutes.
Melanie Behringer was the lone defensive midfielder in front of the back four. Sara Däbritz and the tonsillitis hampered Melanie Leupolz played in central midfield. Simeone Laudehr, formerly at Duisburg, attacked down the left in her league debut at home after her return to Munich, with Lisa Evans down the right wing and Vivianne Miedema at central forward. Apparently Wörle trusted the unusual system with this personnel more than the regular system with rotation players.
Lewandowski had yet another impressive performance on the unfamiliar right side. Since Bayern have Simone Laudehr available at left wing, who is a leading player in the team, Verena Faißt’s presence has suffered a bit as she has been pulled back one position into defence.
2. MSV forces Bayern’s rhythm and highlights their problems
MSV Duisburg attacked in a classic 4-2-3-1 formation. Defensively they retreated in two blocks of four with two troublemakers up top and also had other mechanism in their toolbox, which helped them contain Bayern quite well. With sacrificial, collective switching towards the ball as well as disciplined correlation and handover of opposition players. Especially at free kicks of FC Bayern every Bayern player found herself in the shadow of a Duisburg counterpart. While MSV allowed a bit more space out wide, central players of the Bavarian control centre were closed down immediately. Däbritz, Behringer and Leupolz barely had any time on the ball and had trouble to create.
Duisburg also frequently dispersed phases of resentful midfield pressing to close down Bayern in their half already. MSV convinced with fully automatic sequences.
If only one player had less courage in going forward or missed the call, all the running would’ve been for nothing, but Grings set up her team brilliantly and caught the hosts off guard several times.
There were numerous plausible reasons for the lack of sharpness on that day, however, it’s the quality of a top team to perform well even on a bad day, where nothing’s really working. For 75 minutes, MSV made sure that Bayern weren’t able to do that. Instead of forcing the opposition on the limit of their stamina with quick and precise passes, Bayern stood out with bad passes, refusal of movement and slow reaction time.
3. Bayern’s central midfielders prevent necessary spacing
4-1-4-1 is often described as a 4-3-3. This system has its roots in the Netherlands. In front of the back four there’s a triangle consisting of midfielders that are good at passing, the three forwards attack in an arc-shape. The wingers provide width going forward, but also use the option to attack the defence centrally with diagonal runs or dribblings (think Arjen Robben).
These runs have to be balanced out with specific movement by teammates. If the winger moves inside, the full-back and central midfielder of that side push forward to create a passing triangle. The striker can run in behind or set up the winger with a one-two in between the opponents formation. Next to speed and passing accuracy, the positional play as well as timing are absolutely crucial to not get tangled up in the opponent’s deep defensive line.
Bayern were missing exactly that against MSV Duisburg. Often the central midfielders moved up into the last line, thus creating a straight line consisting of five Bayern attackers along the opponent’s defensive chain. For instance, a square pass from Laudehr to the centre could easily be intercepted by one of the many MSV legs and result in a counter attack. Due to the impatient push forward from the central midfielders there weren’t any usable passing angles left, leaving a huge gap between the attacking line and Behringer. Passes behind the backline were rarely tried and there wasn’t enough movement to dissolve the straight line back into reasonable spacing.
The 1-0 was a welcomed exception. Laudehr and Evans used the space on their wings the best in the first half already and had several good moments. In the last 15 minutes Bayern’s positional play improved drastically. The full-backs supported the midfield in the central midfield space, while Behringer fell back between the centre-backs to take care of the build-up. Evans increasingly moved into the right half-space, where she rotated with Lewandowski pushing up or Miedema dropping back.
Because of this Bayern got more movement and passing options into their game and could show their skill just in time. Given the circumstances and especially the improved performance the result is okay. However, there is a risk that the clear score line is all too comforting and they don’t learn from the poor phase. Now, coach Wörle’s psychological abilities and collective work in training sessions are required.
— WoSo Comps (@WoSoComps) 29. Oktober 2016
|FC Bayern – MSV Duisburg 3-1 (0-0)|
|FC Bayern||Korpela – Faißt, Holstad, Wenninger, Lewandowski – Behringer – Laudehr, Däbritz (72’ Gerhardt), Leupolz, Evans (86’ Baunach) – Miedema|
|Bench||Weimar, Abbé, Baunach, Rolser, Falknor, Maier, Gerhardt|
|MSV Duisburg||Nuding – Radtke, Kirchberger, Kiwic, Betschat (55’ Hellfeier) – Debitzki, Wu – Falkon, Zielinski, Rácz – Nati (26’ Hess, 79’ Fliege)|
|Goals||1-0 Miedema (43’), 1-1 Hess (51’), 2-1 Lewandowski (69’), 3-1 Behringer (86’)|
|Referee||Imke Lohmeyer (Holtland), Anja Klimm (Ditzum), Jana Poppen (Leer), Anne-Kathrin Schinkel (Gera)|