Lazio Down Bayern 1-0: Tactical Analysis

miasanrot Separator February 15, 2024

This article written by Pepe Salazar

Lazio won 1-0, statistically their most common result. Before the penalty and red card for Upamecano, even if Bayern dominated in terms of possession and chance creation, Lazio didn’t really seem troubled while defending, and played their game as expected. They dropped into a lowblock, which is the hardest structure for Bayern to break down, and kept it very simple.

Bayern’s lack of players that can overlap really showed in this game. This is mostly due to wingers being injured, but today, Sané, Müller, Musiala, Mazraoui and Guerreiro, the 5 players that covered the flanks, mostly tucked in creating a predictable horse shoe pattern around Lazio’s box. Bayern did create, but wasted a few chances, especially in the first half. There’s a saying in Spanish: “El que perdona pierde”, which roughly translates as “if you forgive, you lose.”

Sacking Tuchel

If Bayern goes for a revamp, they should think in the long term. Any big moves should happen in the summer. The recent results are not exclusively a “Tuchel” problem. He is to blame partially, but not exclusively. If there is a “reset” of this team in the summer, it’s not only the coach that should change, some players need to be replaced, there is clearly problem within this squad, the same players can perform and play attractive football one day and disappear in the following match.

Bayern hasn’t had a manager last more than 2 seasons since Guardiola (3), and before that, not even Jupp Heynckes was able to last more than 2 years (continuously) at the club. If we look at Arteta, Klöpp, or even Pep at City, they were given time to work on their projects. The three had difficult first seasons, but their clubs trusted in their vision and allowed them to build teams with a clear idea and intention, despite the pressure.

Whoever replaces Tuchel shouldn’t be expected to just arrive and fix everything magically. Rather, the club should think of a long term approach, not only regarding the manager, but also players, to build a cohesive team with a clear tactical idea and identity. I honestly want this team to change, not only Tuchel, but many players. Bayern needs to rebuild and think of what’s next instead of holding to sacred untouchable cows that constantly under perform.

Tactical analysis

Build up and possession / attack:

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Bayern build up in its nominal 4-2-3-1. Lazio took note on Leverkusen’s tactics, overloading the center of the pitch. While they allowed Bayern to build up and pass around, they didn’t allow passes to the center of the pitch, effectively nullifying Musiala (who again didn’t really try do drop deep) in this phase.

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When Bayern became wider, to try and create space, building up in a 2-4-4, Lazio sat in a midblock in a 4-4-2, maintaining their central overload. They were happy to let Bayern have the ball and build up slowly, and this meant there were few surprises or quick movements, most Bayern players tried attacking the halfspaces which were covered, so defensively speaking, it was an easy match for Lazio.

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After the build up, in attack and possession, Bayern used their go-to 2-3-5 formation. This is one of the most “attacking” structures in football. Müller moved from his CAM position, to an almost RW role. This meant Bayern didn’t overlap on the right flank, with Müller, Sané and Mazraoui creating a triangle that didn’t do much because they all tucked in and passed to the overloaded central area of the pitch with no surprise factor. Bayern did create a few chances in the first half from this structure, but they didn’t take them. On the left, Guerreiro didn’t overlap either, and Musiala is not a winger, so he always moved into his preferred left halfspace. This predictability is great for the defending team; no surprises means fewer chances conceded.

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Bayern also attacked in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 with Musiala, Sané and Müller switching in the halfspaces, with either Musiala or Guerreiro as situational wingers and Kimmich as the main DM (with Goretzka covering the LB gap). This structure was also ineffective.

Defense and Pressing

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Bayern defended in a 4-1-4-1. Currently, this is the best thing Bayern does; defending. They concede few chances. Lazio didn’t really create much or worry Bayern’s defenders, which is reflected on their xG. Still, good defending means nothing if in the one dangerous situation the opponent has you give away a dumb penalty / red card combo.

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Bayen defended in a 4-4-2. This is the go-to defensive formation for the whole season, and it’s worked, mostly.

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At the beginning of the match, Bayern really pressed Lazio. Unfortunately this squad has low gas or stamina and can’t press for long spells. They did get Lazio into trouble by overloading their building side of the pitch, by using relative width and being very compact in their pressing. If Bayern was able to press more, they could compensate for their lack of creation in attack, and get more goals and chances out of counterpressing, but again, having two veterans up front implies that the team can’t press much.

(Tactical) Conclusion

The training sessions are there. The tactics are there. Today Tuchel used simpler tactics, with not so much switching, which in theory would make the players job easier, but tactics can only get a team so far. Thomas Müller has stated that this team is not doing on the pitch what they practice in the training sessions, and it shows. The lack of chance creation is ridiculous, and while Lazio didn’t create much either, a simple foul, a simple red card, a simple penalty, was enough for them to get the win at home and bring joy to their fans.

Bayern has a team problem, the team includes the coach and the players, it includes tactics but also individual performances and execution. Bayern has enough players and enough quality to solve this problem, even if they had no coach. There should be no excuses and they should beat Lazio at the Allianz in the home match.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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