Outclassed in Manchester
Unfortunately, even that turned out to be optimistic. While it would be easy to completely point the finger at Dayot Upamecano for his second half performance, the reality is that Bayern were completely outplayed for the entire match apart from a 5-10 minute stretch early in the second half.
Three Things We Noticed
Lets get this out of the way. Upamecano had one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen from a player at this level. For the most part this season, Upa had looked as though he had overcome the errors and mental issues that plagued him in the previous season.
However tonight it looked as though they all were just pent up waiting to release in one performance. He did just enough for things not to get too bad during the first half, but by the hour mark it was clear to just about everyone watching that he was very quickly losing it.
Tuchel however decided to stick with the Frenchman and predictably Manchester eventually capitalized with a 70th minute goal and a 76th minute goal, both of which came as a direct result of Upamecano errors. Tuchel doggedly stuck with him throughout the remainder of the match and only luck kept City from from more goals.
While I generally am in favor of coaches giving players a chance and letting them work through things, I think tonight was a bit too far. It was pretty clear after the goal that there was no recovery for Upa tonight.
He wasn’t going to simply get over it or move past things. He was too far down the rabbit hole. Additionally, it is arguably the biggest match of the season for Bayern and by leaving him in, they might have cost themselves any chance of a comeback in Munich.
Sometimes you have to get a player off for their own benefit. Upa needed that tonight. Tuchel tried the opposite and it didn’t work. Hopefully both learn and grow from the experience.
To be fair though, even without Upamecano’s nightmarish match, Bayern thoroughly deserved to lose by multiple goals. Man City were simply better than Bayern in every facet of the game.
I genuinely believed heading into this match that Bayern were fairly close overall to the level of City. That might still be true on some level, but if you were to judge purely by tonight there can be no doubt that City is head and shoulders above Bayern in every aspect.
The organization. The pressing. The concentration. The intensity. Their play against the ball. What they do with it once they have it. In every one of those aspects, Bayern were completely outclassed.
By the end of that 90 minutes, I don’t think there’s a person in the world that could kid themselves that Bayern had any business being in that match, let alone winning it.
Sure Upa had an awful night and Choupo was missing but this team’s problems go much deeper than that. Maybe next year after Tuchel has more time with the squad things will get straightened out. Maybe if the club addresses some of the obvious problems within the squad things will improve. But this squad has too many issues to beat a team that is as talented and well organized as Manchester City this season.
For me this was one of the biggest differences between the two sides tonight. All season Bayern have struggled against any team who presses them consistently. Even against lower level Bundesliga sides, Bayern has looked pedestrian at best when pressed.
But this is one of the most talented teams in the world and therefore much more capable of making you pay when you make those mistakes.
Simply stated: Bayern are no longer a world class team in possession. They often don’t make great decisions with their passes. They panic far too easily. Worst of all, the players off the ball stand around far too often.
Bayern is talented enough that they largely have worked their way out of these issues. Bayern can usually control play by passing all the way back and spreading it out over the course of 90 minutes eventually wearing the other team down.
Tonight that caught up with them. Man City is capable of keeping the ball themselves, far better than Bayern is at this point. Bayern’s press wasn’t completely ineffective, but it doesn’t have the same intensity, organization or consistency throughout that City has.
The result was that City was able to pass their way in and out of situations where Bayern were pressing against the ball and were able to cause a never ending string of problems for Bayern when applying a press against them.
This is something that should be correctable. It’s something I even would expect Tuchel to remedy over the next 8-10 months. It’s not something that is likely to be fixed in the next seven days though. Unfortunately, that probably means another Quarter Final exit for Bayern in the Champions League and the end to their second cup competition in as many weeks.
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Wow! what a shellacking! This was a humbling and the board is probably most responsible with how they handled the coaching change. I don’t know that JN would have gotten a result, but that was simply ugly. I can take a loss, but the process was brutal. TT not only got his tactics wrong, but personnel and substitutions (though one can not be too hard on him given he’s only just taken over). Sane looked like our only offensive player ready to play, and no offense to him, but that’s a real bad sign for the team.
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