The midweek victory against Arsenal was impressive. Three days later, it was back to everyday business with Bundesliga on the plan. In terms of the standings this was not a big game but it was a meeting of the two Bundesliga teams with the most scoring chances created.
Stuttgart’s stats generally sound convincing. They are only lacking the appropriate results. Up to this match, they had allowed the fourth-lowest number of shots of all Bundesliga clubs. However, these were all high-quality opportunities for the opponents. The result is that they’ve conceded the most goals of the Bundesliga – and the third most of Europe’s top 5 leagues.
3 things we noticed:
1. Risk is rewarded again
Not just for Stuttgart – Pep Guardiola risked a lot like against Köln and again fielded five attacking players. Costa, Coman, Müller, Robben and Lewandowski rotated a lot and made the attacking pressing of the Swabians ineffective. Stuttgart’s aggressive moving forward repeatedly opened up spaces for 5 v 5 or 4 v 5 situations. Bayern did well to take advantage of those situations. Especially in the buildups to the 3-0 and 4-0 this could be observed, when Bayern managed to bypass the midfield, causing Stuttgart to lose control and shape. The Bavarians presented themselves as extremely flexible in the attacking third. Costa, Müller and Robben swapped positions repeatedly and attempted to tear apart the opposing back line with forward runs. Successfully – four of the five attacking players recorded at least one goal or assist.
At the same time, Bayern were able to prevent scoring chances for the visitors through their own overwhelming attacking strength. Taking 33 shots made a fast transitional game almost impossible for Stuttgart. Only from minute 30-35 did Zorniger’s team have two scoring chances, one of which came from a failed clearance by Robben. In total, they only had five shots on goal. Bayern benefited from their own shot rate and their ability to keep the ball. Stuttgart rarely won the ball in midfield or in defense, being unable to execute their mostly good counter-attacks often enough. In the first 30 minutes, the offensive was the most important factor of the Bayern defensive.
2. Kimmich as calm presence
Pep Guardiola decided against Xabi Alonso, despite the upcoming international break. For the second time this season, Joshua Kimmich got to replace him in the starting lineup. The decision of the coach was certainly encouraged by the fact that Kimmich is more pressing-resistant than Alonso. Despite being numerically outnumbered in midfield, Kimmich was rarely ever found making the wrong decision. A passing accuracy of 92% against a team that is known for their ability to press aggressively is a very good number. With 126 ball actions, Kimmich was the pivot in the Bayern game. The composed way in which Kimmich presents himself is noteworthy and at the same time it is reassuring to see that Guardiola has many options in midfield and can allow Alonso to rest, especially since Kimmich proved to be a good alternative. He paid back the trust of the coach with a convincing performance, despite limited playing time in the last few weeks.
3. Robben changes Lewandowski’s game
By increasing the playing time of Arjen Robben, the focus shifts a bit away from Robert Lewandowski again in offense. The Polish striker took “only” seven shots in this match. Arjen Robben had two more than him. Without Arjen Robben, the Bayern game was more tailored to the strengths of Lewandowski. It was mostly Costa who passed the ball into the box from the wing or Müller who fed the striker with passes as a sort of playmaker. This way of creating scoring chances wasn’t seen much in the last two league games because Robben goes for goal more often than Costa, Coman or partially even Müller. Robben alone recorded nine shots, with only three however going on target. Especially in the second half he lacked focus twice when going for goal (minutes 52 and 71). Against Arsenal too Robben had plenty of scoring chances after being subbed on. On the one hand it’s a positive that Lewandowski no longer has to be relied on as the main threat, on the other hand Robben failed to pass the ball to his unmarked teammates in the aforementioned situations. Nonetheless, in the long term Bayern will only benefit from the task of scoring goals being carried by more than one player.
|FC BAYERN – VFB STUTTGART 4-0 (4-0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Rafinha, Boateng (46. Benatia), Alaba – Vidal, Kimmich – Robben, Müller (59. Badstuber), Costa (69. Thiago), Coman – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Ulreich, Martinez, Alonso, Lahm|
|VfB Stuttgart||Tyton – Schwaab, Sunjic (63. Heise), Baumgartl, Insua – Klein, Dié (85. Ristl), Gentner – Didavi – Kostic (46. Hlousek), Werner|
|Goals||1-0 Robben (11.), 2-0 Costa (18.), 3-0 Lewandowski (37.), 4-0 Müller (40.)|
|Cards||– / –|
|Referee||Bastian Dankert (Rostock)|
|Attendance||75.000 (sold out)|