After 34 days, the Bundesliga is back from the winter break and Bayern faced Hamburg for the eternal duel of the Bundesliga. For the 4th time both teams faced off on the 18th matchday – never had Bayern been able to beat Hamburg for the start of the second half of the season. In 2000 they tied and even lost in 1999 and 2009.
How hard the start could be was shown last year when Bayern lost 1-4 in Wolfsburg. The game showed the biggest weakness Guardiola’s team still has – protection against counter-attacks. This was also the problem against Karlsruhe in the first game of the year. The test match against the second-tier team, which Bayern surprisingly lost 1-2, was dominated by counter-attacks for the home side and individual mistakes in all parts of the team.
3 things we noticed:
1. Lahm in a half-baked role
Theoretically, the idea to play more offensively then in previous away games was right. Hamburg were supposed to play a lot of pressing, having the second-most sprints of the league coming into the game. Guardiola tried to solve this with a variable back line. The idea was for Lahm to push into central midfield, be a passing option and pull Ilicevic away from the wing to create room for Costa.
It didn’t work because the distance to his teammates was wrong. When Lahm went to midfield, the distance to Boateng and also Alonso, who fell back too far and too early, was too big. The result was a long ball to Costa who was then isolated. When the distance to the defenders was correct, it was the distance to Müller and Thiago was too big. Lahm was useless. Guardiola recognised that and went back to a clear four men at the back around minute 30. From his traditional position, he created the leading goal with his long ball. It was a solid game by Lahm who had the most touches and only 4 turnovers. With 75%, his tackle ratio was better then in the games before the break.
2. Lewandowski – a playmaking striker
In his 18th game of the campaign, he scored his goals 16 and 17, even though it had been an ungrateful game for a striker. The penalty was his first shot – and even the first for the entire Bayern team. Lewandowski took over responsibility. Simultaneously he had started the attack with his interpretation of the role, falling back into midfield. Djourou had to step out far from the defensive line and with that opened up space for Müller. He didn’t achieve much else from that position – which was more the fault of the tricky situations.
Nevertheless he tried to make the best of it – even if that means a sprinting duel with Diekmeier at the touchline. After Costa (5), he had the second-most dribbles (4). He also took several shots in the second half: 8 in the end, which is 3 more than Costa, Müller and Coman had combined. That he scored his second goal by deflecting Müller’s shot luckily is proof for his current streak.
3. Alonso’s performance drop
We already mentioned his falling back that was too intense. It is something that needs to be analysed and might have been a tactical specification by the coach. More worrying is the performance drop, beginning after minute 52. A careless mistake and a turnover resulted in a Hamburg cross from half spaces. It obviously was a good cross but he again made a mistake when he wasn’t able to clear the ball and let himself be interrupted by Lasogga. From that mistake he never recovered. In the last 30 minutes, he only had 19 ball actions – 5 of them shortly after the equalizer and 4 in added time.
To make it short: there was a clear phase in which he couldn’t control and dictate the game. The entire structure was gone. The substitution of Vidal didn’t help him either. 10 turnovers from 90 passes are another sign of his underperformance. Symbolical was his foul right outside the penalty box which almost brought Hamburg back into the game. Alonso and the rest of the Bayern midfield will have to improve a lot in the upcoming weeks – even more so with Jerome Boateng, the key piece of the defensive line, being out of the game for months due to a muscle injury.
|HAMBURGER SV – FC BAYERN 1-2 (0-1)|
|Hamburger SV||Adler – Diekmeier, Djourou, Cleber, Ostrzolek – Kacar (81. Jung), Holtby – Müller, Hunt, Ilicevic (69. Gregoritsch) – Lasogga (77. Rudnevs)|
|Subs||Drobny – Carolus, Sakai, Porath|
|FC Bayern München||Neuer – Boateng (56. Martinez), Badstuber, Alaba – Lahm, Alonso – Costa (81. Robben), Thiago, Coman – Müller (69. Vidal), Lewandowski|
|Subs||Starke – Kimmich, Rode|
|Goals||0-1 Lewandowski (37., penalty), 1-1 Hunt (53.), 1-2 Lewandowski (61.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Ostrzolek, Kacar, Adler, Müller / Lahm, Alonso|
|Referee||Felix Zwayer (Berlin)|
|Attendance||57.000 (sold out)|