FC Bayern in Augsburg: Chaos and a bit of evolution
Guest Author Rainer Pompermayer
But, even with a bit of chaos and a lot of confusion in the field, be it by the teams or the referees, Bayern came on top in the end and, after the draw between Leverkusen and Borussia M’Gladbach, managed to shorten the distance to the leaders by only two points.
Without Upamecano, Laimer and Kimmich, and still being unable to use Sacha Boey, Tuchel went with the “safest” options on the defensive side of the line up, with Guerreiro at right back, De Ligt and Dier as center backs, Davies back in the line up and Goretzka and Pavlovic in the midfield. In the attack it was business as usual with Sané, Musiala, Coman and Harry Kane up front.
Bayern Munich had some difficulty at the start of the game at the WWK Arena. In the first minutes, it was already clear that the players were not 100% used to line-up, and the team didn’t have a good start to the game. Missing passes, allowing spaces and long balls, not being able to create any dangers to the Augsburg defensive players, etc.
Augsburg really started better than their more famous Bavarian opponent, and put pressure on Bayern in the opening minutes. They were awarded a penalty call, after some nonsense from De Ligt at the top to the box, but VAR made it clear that the handball was outside of the box. Then, at 12 minutes, Rexhbeçaj took advantage of the ball at the edge of the small area and shot across the goal to score. However, the play was disallowed after being offside by some centimeters.
After a while, Bayern began to get better and better, started to be able to connect some good passes, progress through the pitch and create good chances. The first one came through the right side, with Leroy Sané making a beautiful move and launching Harry Kane into the back of the defense. The English striker was almost completely free in the box and had a crossed shot, scaring the whole arena.
Finally In the 23rd minute, Pavlovic took advantage of confusion in the area, after a good corner kick from Guerreiro, and sent the ball into the back of the net, opening the score for Bayern Munich and making his first professional goal. But, since apparently we cannot celebrate much in 2024 so far, Coman stayed on the floor with an injury to his knee that will probably leave him on the sidelines for 2-3 months.
After the goal, Bayern was definitely the better team on the pitch and controlled the game. In the last play of the first half, Leon Goretzka passed the ball nicely to Alphonso Davies who advanced on the field and with his right leg, a surprise shot, hit Dahmen’s corner to increase the lead.
The game in the second half had a different shape, as both teams were less controlled and more chaotic. Augsburg needed to do something more to change the outcome of the match and created some good chances, before Demirovic scored with a good header. It was interesting to see that he was being marked in the moment only by Harry Kane, with another Augsburg colleague also free by his side.
Not long after Kane took advantage of another leftover ball, as Musiala was dispossessed in the box, and sent the ball into the back of the goal. The goal was disallowed at first, before VAR corrected the referee and saw that Augsburg’s defense ended up making a wrong tackle, eliminating the offside, and confirming Bayern’s third goal.
Trying to get back in the match, Augsburg went on the attack once again and a few minutes later, Neuer made an amazing save, recovering from being down and using pure reflex to hold the ball firmly after a header.
Holding back, to take advantage of their counterattacks, Bayern had a clear chance to score the fourth goal and end the match with Tel. Sané made a beautiful pass to the Frenchman who ran free through the field, entered the box, and sent the ball in Dahmen’s left corner hitting the post.
After that, in the 85th minute, Neuer made an unusual error. After a cross in the box, the goalkeeper missed a punch of the ball, hitting an Augsburg player. After another VAR review, Sven Michel took responsibility to try to score the home team’s second goal in the match. But then, Neuer showed why he is considered the GOAT, making a spectacular save and keeping Bayern in good odds to win the match.
Unfortunately, in stoppage, Demirovic was brought down by Thomas Müller, in a silly move, inside the area. This time, Demirovic himself took the penalty and sent the ball into Neuer’s right corner, finishing the match.
In the beginning it was pretty clear that the players needed a bit of time to get used to the line up, be it with Guerreiro at right back, always playing the ball to the middle of the pitch or De Ligt and Dier positions between themselves. The two center backs made silly errors and more than once were in the wrong position, leaving gaps in the middle of the box.
But, it is also important to highlight that during some periods of the match we had a clear evolution from the previous two matches. The passes through the middle were quicker and advanced more into Augsburg defensive side of the pitch, especially in the second part of the first half. Also, another good thing to notice was Alphonso Davies performing better and even scoring, after so many months of increasingly weak performances, it was good to see the Canadian being important to the final result again.
And, the good chemistry between Goretzka and Pavlović continued to deliver results to Bayern, with Laimer out for a longer period, the young serbian-german needs to have more minutes on the pitch and show more of his potential.
As much as I would like to give this “award” to Pavlović, for his goal, we can’t help but give it to Jamal Musiala. In his best game in 2024, the young German managed to do what he does so well, freeing up more complicated plays in the middle, making progressive passes and his beautiful dribbles to advance the play and even stealing the ball from opponents. It’s really good to see Bambi thriving again after some disappointing performances.
It’s difficult and a little sad, but De Ligt once again played a weak game. Maybe not as bad as in past matches but the Dutchman clearly hasn’t managed to put his injury behind him and gain rhythm in the right way. With Kim away in the Asian Cup, this was his great opportunity to show Tuchel that he can be a starter in the team, but so far he has only been proving that the coach is right to continue counting on Upamecano and the Korean as starters. Of course, the fact that he plays alongside Dier, who just arrived and also didn’t play well in this match, counts somewhat positively for De Ligt, but the dutchman has to improve if he wants to be a starter.
Goals: 0:1 Pavlovic (23rd), 0:2 Davies (45th+5), 1:2 Demirovic (52nd), 1:3 Kane (58th), 2:3 Demirovic (90th+4)
Yellow cards: De Ligt (6th), Mbabu (19th), Pavlovic (67th), Iago (69th), Sané (80th), Choupo-Moting (90th + 6)
FC Augsburg line-up: Dahmen – Mbabu, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai, Iago (Maier, 75th) – Jakic, F. Jensen (Engels, 62nd), Rexhbecaj (Pedersen, 62nd), Vargas (Michel, 80th) – Demirovic, P. Tietz (Beljo, 62.)
FC Bayern line-up: Neuer – Guerreiro, de Ligt, Dier, Davies – Pavlovic (Zvonarek, 90+6), Goretzka – Sané (Choupo-Moting, 89), Musiala (Müller, 89), Coman (Tel, 26 .) – Kane