Kovač was not very keen to experiment these days. The preparation was rather boring. The strategy so far had not changed much at Säbener Straße. Back four, half-space overloads – even the midfield line-up resembled Jupp Heynckes’. A sweeper, a metronome, and a vertical player.
Against his old employer the coach had to do without James, Gnabry, Boateng, Sanches and Tolisso.
Three things we noticed
1. Without speed and creativity, but with efficiency
Anyone who has watched the games of Liverpool and Manchester City this afternoon may have been a little disappointed with the match of Bayern. Klopp’s and Guardiola’s teams convinced with speed, dynamism and offensive football. They played out chances almost every minute.
Kovač seems to rely on other values in his beginning phase at Bayern. The ball possession game of the Reds against Frankfurt was characterized by little risk. Especially during the attack there was not enough movement to really provide surprises.
The eights usually stood relatively wide in order to direct the structure of the game into the half spaces. There you could observe the typical overloads that were already practiced under Heynckes.
If it once went through the middle, then only by a dropping back of Lewandowski, whose movement was caught by the advancing Robben. Most of the time, however, the number ten zone was unoccupied and there were no many approaches to attacks initiated from the center. The only thing that was exciting here was that it was often Müller who provided the width in the game when Robben pulled into the middle and not Kimmich.
The right-back was on average deeper than last season, but still took part in almost every attack. Kovač was quite right with his approach in this game. Two goals from the first two possibilities were enough to seal the deal early.
It was the merciless effectiveness of Bayern that decided the duel early on. Of course it is desirable that the team can show this opportunity throughout the entire season. But that’s probably not the case.
That is precisely why the lack of speed in the offensive must be addressed in the coming weeks. Ribéry and Robben did not manage to make breakthroughs with dribblings. On the one hand, because they are known to have lost speed. On the other hand, because they were also too rarely set up properly.
The Bayern game lacked shifts and creativity. From the defense, the ball usually went towards the wing, from there to Ribéry or Robben. Frankfurt had enough time to defend this.
2. Kingsley Coman is needed
At the beginning of the second half Bayern could free themselves from the pressure of the Eintracht. Alaba almost lost the ball, but the Austrian cleverly put the ball into the hole and finally had a clear shot.
Usually a scene for a textbook counterattack. Like 2013, when Alaba and Ribéry ran over the FC Barcelona players.
In 2018, however, the Austrian lacked the Ribéry of that time. The Frenchman tried to follow the left-back, but he simply did not make it. And so the two mates walked a good 30 metres at a height in the same direction without creating any space to reach the goal.
It was a scene that was as funny as it was significant. Ribéry – and this applies equally to Robben – no longer manages to distance himself from his opponent with tempo. This decisive advantage was also missing in the final games of the past season.
Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are two more dynamic players in the squad this season. Last year Coman showed that he radiates more drive and danger than the two Bayern legends.
The 22-year-old also brought direct added value against Frankfurt. He contributed a goal and an assist after his substitution.
Kovač has it in his hands to divide the playing time between the four players in such a way that everyone gets into a good shape. Looking back at the duels with Real Madrid, for example, there can be no doubt that Coman would have looked very good on the Bayern team.
3. Strong Pressing
Whether 4-1-4-1, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 – the pressing of the Reds was already at a very good level. In higher zones, their structured attack pressing forced multiple ball losses by Eintracht.
Physis, fitness and duel behaviour were at least also the focal points in the preparation of the coaching team. This advantage was all the more striking in a direct duel with a team that is defined precisely by these values.
The Frankfurters didn’t have many good chances. Bayern certainly left gaps here and there, but there was never a feeling of instability. If the Reds manage to bring a little more risk into their own game in the next weeks and months, and to keep this stability, Kovač has already won a lot. Against Frankfurt his team did not burn down fireworks, but control was always in place.
|Eintracht Frankfurt – FC Bayern 0:5 (0:2)|
|Eintracht Frankfurt||Rönnow – Abraham, Hasebe, Salcedo – da Costa (64. Blum), Torro, de Guzman (64. Rebic), Willems – Gacinovic, Fabian – Haller (76. Jovic)|
|Bench||Wiedwald, Tawatha, Russ, G. Fernandes|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Martinez, Thiago, Müller (64. Goretzka) – Robben (58. Coman), Lewandowski (72. Wagner), Ribery|
|Bench||Ulreich – Rafinha, Bernat, Rudy|
|Goals||0:1 Lewandowski (21.), 0:2 Lewandowski (26.), 0:3 Lewandowski (54.), 0:4 Coman (64.), 0:5 Thiago (85.)|
|Yellow Cards||Abraham – Hummels|