3 things we noticed:
1. Party like it’s 2013?
Bayern’s core structure was similar to the 2013 one. The full-backs pushed forward vertically, Thiago and Martinez acted as double pivot with an obvious difference in roles, Thomas Müller was the bridge between Robben and Lewandowski.
The main winners of this change were Kingsley Coman and David Alaba, their straightforward cooperation worked out very well. That being said, the main issues of recent times haven’t disappeared yet. In possession, there’s still an apparent lack of creativity and set plays, only few chances were created.
The aggressive and high pressing was effective against an insecure Freiburg. Bayern however weren’t that much more solid under pressure, they just happened to face it less frequently – partially because Bayern’s passing took a leap forward.
The return of Heynckes was no tactical revolution. With the lack of preperation in mind, it looks like the development of the team will come step by step. It’s impossible to predict just how long it will take but it surely won’t just be a matter of weeks, despite early improvements.
It was only 90 minutes of football. Still, the Austrian’s performance on the left flank gave us hope. Tactically, his role as a vertical beast helped, his movements looking way more familiar and fluid than recently. He and Coman looked good together, they never obstructed each other’s movement, with Alaba’s flexible routes playing a big role.
Just as apparent was the mental liberation. Alaba acted carefree and confident, both offensively and defensively. After quite a while, he’s finally won a full-back “battle” with Kimmich again. David Alaba’s path back to world class is a long one but, with a supportive coach by his side, it’s far from an impossible one.
3. Back to the future?
A few weeks ago, we said that Bayern have to return to old strength step-by-step. At times, things started to look better, but then it became obvious: this just won’t happen under Ancelotti.
Now it’s Heynckes time and we’re talking about those very first steps. Bayern hinted at a strong performance against Freiburg. The mentality was much improved, the tactics were tweaked – wingers looked more involved, half-spaces were attacked more often and the pressing was executed much more aggressively.
Nevertheless, there’s no reason for euphoria. In the upcoming weeks, the coaching staff will have to make the players internalize the system. They still lack creativity, especially in the attacking third. Once again, they played 29 crosses and couldn’t create enough scoring chances. Expectations weren’t high after just one week of practice anyway, so the next few weeks will be exciting to follow. Will Bayern take the next steps?
3.1: Welcome back, Jupp Heynckes and Peter Hermann!
|FC Bayern – SC Freiburg 5:0 (2:9)|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng (82. Süle), Hummels, Alaba – Martínez (70. Rudy), Thiago – Robben, Müller (78. Tolisso), Coman – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Starke – Rafinha, James, Wriedt||SC Freiburg||Schwolow – Lienhart, Schuster, Söyüncü – Frantz (71. Ravet), Stenzel, Günter, Höfler – Niederlechner (76. Terrazzino), Kent (66. Petersen) – Haberer|
|Subs||Koch, Gikiewicz, Kübler, Kath|
|Goals||1:0 Schuster (8., OG); 2:0 Coman (42.); 3:0 Thiago (63.); 4:0 Lewandowski (75.); 5:0 Kimmich (90.+3)|
|Referee||Frank Willenborg (Osnabrück)|
|Attendance||75.000 (sold out)|