Same Performance Different Result
Thomas Tuchel made several changes to the starting eleven as he lined up with Yann Sommer in goal, Joāo Cancelo, Benjamin Pavard, Matthijis de Ligt and Alphonso Davies in defense, Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala in midfield and an attack of Sadio Mané, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané.
The match would be nearly a carbon copy performance of the one from the weekend from Bayern. Again they would only manage one goal from open play. Again it was from a central defender, this time through a very nice de Ligt goal in the 51st minute.
The only difference this match was Freiburg’s luck was quite different than it was midweek. There was no blast from 35 yards out. There was no late handball in the box. Apart from that, there was almost no difference in how this match was played versus the one on Tuesday.
As if Tuchel was reading my post last week, I finally got what I had been looking for with Davies on the left and Cancelo on the right. The result…meh.
Partially, you can point to the opponent and the fact that Bayern were playing yet again without a striker. For a player whose best attribute is his passing, these two conditions were certainly detrimental to his performance.
However, it’s undeniable that he was once again disappointing. I do not recall a single moment today in which he was involved. He was just there. That’s not good enough.
He has too much talent to be invisible on the pitch and while Davies certainly has his moments of lapse defensively, he almost always at least makes an impact offensively.
Given that so many others have been in good form at the back, it’s really hard to see him getting many more opportunities, which is a shame given the impact we all know he can make when he’s on.
Today is maybe the best example we have had of the problems Bayern have in attack. With Choupo-Moting out, Tuchel was forced to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at Freiburg in attack.
With Sané, Mané, Müller, Gnabry and Musiala all on the field, the thought was clearly to hope with all that talent that they would create enough opportunities to eventually break through.
That’s not how things would play out. The first half was especially dismal as there were only about two half chances in the entire opening 45 minutes.
The second half was slightly better as Sané in particular had several very good chances while both Gnabry and Mané had a couple decent shots themselves.
Still the problems were obvious. No one knew who was supposed to be where, what their teammates were doing or where they were/would be. One possession the box would have six players in the middle. The next they would all be standing around the outside.
Only when they were able to break did they really look threatening at all, but given their opposition those opportunities were few and far between.
And so now we head into the biggest match of the year on the back of a coaching change, a big league win, a big Pokal loss and another mediocre performance.
Bayern will hope to have Choupo back for their trip to Manchester on Tuesday which should help things some. City are certainly very unlikely to defend the way that Freiburg has which is certainly to Bayern’s benefit.
However, there are still massive questions as to the form Bayern are in when facing a team as clearly talented as City are.
City will almost certainly be the favorite heading into this matchup for most people. Rightfully so. However, as they proved against PSG, you can’t count out the Bavarians. They have a knack for showing up when it matters and they will certainly be up for the match on Tuesday.
Bayern have enough talent to win. They will likely play with more than they’ve shown the last few matches. However when you rely on flipping a switch every few matches, eventually there’s the danger that switch will not work.
Tuchel will have his work cut out for him. City is a beatable team, but thing will need to go much better than they have the last two matches if Bayern are to advance any further in the Champions League.