3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – VfL Wolfsburg 5-0 (2-0)
Monotonous, lack of combinations and barely any urgency in the final third – that’s how Bayern’s play had to be described a few weeks ago. The positive news: The game against Wolfsburg seemed like another step in the right direction. Especially the first half showed, that even without Pep Guardiola, Bayern can combine well on the wings and play a variable game.
The passing sequences in close space in and around Wolfsburg’s penalty area were only one part of Bayern’s tactic for success. Time and time again, long balls from Thiago or Müller created chances on the wing. Furthermore, Lahm and Bernat played as “classic” full-backs, overlapping the wingers to create superiority in the final third. Both goals came from long-shots, which is remarkable and shows, there were several ways to success.
Of course: The combinations, crosses and dominance in general have to be looked at with caution – Bayern will struggle to find an opponent that’s more passive and poor at executing their counters. However, it’s still a good sign how variable Munich’s offence is currently playing and in how many different ways chances are created. A much bigger goal threat than it was back in November.
Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben have brought world-class to the wing of FC Bayern, Thiago is currently doing it in midfield. Week in week out the Spaniards performances have been simply outstanding. From a creative, intelligent midfielder with several injuries in the past few years, he’s developed into a strong tackling, pressing resistant and game changing world-class player, who’s lifting Bayern’s play to another level.
The game against Wolfsburg is a perfect example for the Spaniards incredible performances: he had the most touches, made the most tackles and created a heatmap, which is colouring the Allianz Arena’s pitch red. He created the 3-0 with superb pressing, gaining possession with a clever tackle and laid the ball off to Müller with a truly artistic move.
For one, Thiago isn’t only able to create a sense of security in the centre with his ability on the ball, his long balls initiate several chances and if that’s not enough, he brings unique flair to Bayern’s midfield with back-heels and hip-movement, that’s very rare in FC Bayern’s history.
It was probably the best first half of this season. A conclusion you could’ve drawn in the games against Gladbach or Eindhoven already. Contrary to the previous good first halfs, Bayern were able to uphold their level against Wolfsburg in the second half and showed greed, which is necessary if you want to display a certain degree of dominance in the race for the championship.
Even the 3-0 didn’t make Bayern ease off the throttle and secure the lead – no, even after the 5-0 there wasn’t a feeling, that Arjen Robben and his colleagues had enough. It was probably the first time under Ancelotti, where dominance has been shown over the whole 90 minutes, although Wolfsgburg did everything to not show any resistance. It was also one of the very few games this season, where the offence wasn’t lopsided. The attack created danger from left, right and centre.
The game against Wolfsburg was the perfect start for Ancelotti’s demanded strong finish to the year. A dominant performance rewarded with not only three points, but also top of the table enabled through the results of Munich’s rivals. After 14 match days FC Bayern is back in a comfortable position – top of the Bundesliga.
|FC Bayern – VfL Wolfsburg 5-0 (2-0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Lahm, Martínez, Alaba, Bernat – Vidal (71. Alonso), Thiago (81. Rafinha), Müller – Robben (46. Müller), Lewandowski, Ribéry (77. Costa)|
|Bench||Ulreich – Boateng, Kimmich, Sanches|
|VfL Wolfsburg||Benaglio – Knoche, Bruma, Rodriguez – Blaszczykowski (83. Vierinha), Caligiuri, Guilavogui, Gerhardt, Schäfer (22. Horn) – Gomez, Mayoral (61. Möbius)|
|Bench||Casteels, Träsch, Gustavo, Hansen|
|Goals||1-0 Robben (18.), 2-0 Lewandowski (22.), 3-0 Lewandowski (58), 4-0 Müller (76.), 5-0 Costa (86.)|
|Referee||Sascha Stegemann (Mittelrhein)|
|Attendance||75,000 (sold out)|