It was the club’s first match after Philipp Lahm’s retirement announcement – a statement that overshadowed the awful cup match against Wolfsburg which Bayern won 1-0.
In Ingolstadt, the team had the chance to gain some confidence for the upcoming Champions League match against Arsenal.
Three things we noticed
1. No goal threat
Two, two, one, one, zero. Bayern scored merely six goals in their last five matches – all the way until the 89th minute against Ingolstadt. This is not enough for a team with such aspirations. The reasons are plentiful. The lack of a presence in the central attacking midfield, a reoccurring issue, and the self-inflicted lack of wingers are only two of several well-documented problems.
Arturo Vidal’s late winner might hide some worries but, once again, there was no real goal threat being provided from the midfield. Thomas Müller remains at one goal scored in this Bundesliga campaign, with Kimmich at four, and Alonso and Thiago both at three goals. Up until today, Vidal too had only scored once. Müller and Thiago had some decent scoring chances in this match, but both are showing no evidence of finishing skills – a new problem for Müller, unfortunately a regular one for Thiago.
This is something that Carlo Ancelotti will have to work on in the upcoming weeks. Aside from Robert Lewandowski, there are no real options inside the opposing box.
2. No buildup structure
It is February and Bayern are still looking for a decent structure in their buildup play. Against Ingolstadt, Ancelotti tightened up the center by fielding four central midfielders in Kimmich, Thiago, Vidal and Alonso. In order to achieve that, he decided to leave both wings vacated. At least Ingolstadt couldn’t get through a non-existent Bayern midfield like Schalke did a week before. The link between Alonso and Thiago/Vidal worked out a little better but only shifted the problems 5 to 10 meters further up the pitch.
Müller, as a second striker, was rather isolated, and Lewandowski too could only get involved by dropping deep. Only the substitutions improved things a bit. Ingolstadt had to defend more horizontally and were no longer capable of clogging up the central areas. Both Bayern goals saw multiple attacking players inside the opposing box.
All in all, the desperate clinging to the back-four seems like one of the main reasons why the Bayern buildup is failing. Especially when you look at the roles of Alaba and Lahm – since they only get to act in wide areas.
3. No opposition
Even a draw would’ve increased Bayern’s league lead. That proves just how balanced the Bundesliga currently is. Both the second- and third-placed team lost 0-3. Fourth-placed Dortmund lost against last-placed Darmstadt. Simply put: Bayern aren’t facing much of a challenge this season. Mostly mediocre performances appear to be enough. With 14 matches to go, the lead has been increased to seven points.
This obviously doesn’t mean the title race is over, even more so when you consider that Bayern’s opponents in 2017 haven’t been better than 12th place. The main rivals for the title are still on the schedule. Nevertheless, this win brought Bayern another step closer to the fifth consecutive Bundesliga trophy. Despite the performances, the Leipzig match aside, having been disappointing.
|FC Ingolstadt – FC Bayern 0:2 (0:0)|
|FC Ingolstadt||Hansen – Brégerie, Matip, Tisserand – Hadergjonaj, Cohen, Morales, Suttner – Lezcano (73. Hinterseer), Groß (79. Lex), Leckie (89. Jung)|
|Subs||Nyland, Bernardo, Leipertz, Levels|
|FC Bayern München||Neuer – Lahm (79. Rafinha), Martínez, Hummels, Alaba – Kimmich (73. Robben), Xabi Alonso (64. Costa), Vidal – Müller, Thiago – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Ulreich – Bernat, Coman, Sanches|
|Goals||0:1 Vidal (90.), 0:2 Robben (90.+1)|
|Cards||Yellow: Brégerie, Groß / Lewandowski|
|Referee||Felix Zwayer (Berlin)|
|Attendance||15.200 (sold out)|