Preview: FC Bayern – FC Augsburg

Justin Separator September 24, 2018

Four games, 6:7 goals, four points – FC Augsburg could do better but also worse. At the weekend, however, coach Manuel Baum became emotional after the game. His team had just lost against Werder Bremen with 2:3. After a big fight, the team managed to equalize a 2-0 deficit. But then goalkeeper Fabian Giefer blundered and Bremen secured the three points.

“I really empathize with the human being,” Baum said with tears in his eyes, defending his goalkeeper. “In my career, I have never experienced a match that we have lost so unfairly,” he added. Individual mistakes cost Augsburg the victory.

Augsburg’s man orientations

Indeed, one can justify this analysis. Augsburg was prepared. In a 3-4-3 the team partly pushed far forward. Baum wanted to make sure that Werder’s control center around Klaassen and Kruse was taken out of the game.

This was achieved by the back three defending Kruse’s dropping by consistently pushing out. For Werder relatively little went through the middle and by clever movements the spaces were covered.

Tactically, this was a great performance without a ball, which should give FCA courage for the duel against Bayern. Especially in the centre they worked with many man orientations, which made Werder’s own passing game enormously difficult. 77% passing accuracy was the lowest score in the Bundesliga Bremen had so far.

Against Bayern, the tactical route could be renewed. Perhaps Baum then also relies on a very aggressive and partly also high pressing, in which up to three Augsburg players in front disturb the build-up of the game. At the weekend sometimes a 1-2 staggering could be observed, which complicated the passing lanes of the central defenders into the half spaces and on the six.

So why not also in Munich? FC Augsburg has nothing to lose anyway and Bayern showed itself willing to give up the ball in some phases. In addition, it is expected that Kovač will rotate vigorously again before the performance in his hometown Berlin. Baum’s team can therefore only win.

But it will depend on the compactness above all. Whether high or lower staggering, his players must cover the dangerous zones in the number eight area well, in order to cut the connections of the record champion. Especially the individual mistakes should finally be minimized. A goal that many teams had in the Allianz Arena, but which is incredibly difficult to achieve this season.

With a mistake, Giefer provided the lead of the Bremen team.
(Photo: Christian Kaspar-Bartke / Bongarts / Getty Images)

FC Bayern and the boring league

That’s mainly due to a very strong Bayern team, which is able to generate unbelievable pressure in counter-pressing and threaten to run away from the league again after four games. It’s the old discussion. Is the record champion not challenged enough to remain internationally competitive? The answer to this cannot be given at this point in time.

Even Niko Kovač shows no interest in thinking so far into the future now: “There are still 30 games to go and there will also be games in which we will drop points.” For him, the next weeks count, in which he already announced rotation. Wagner will get his starts just like Renato Sanches.

The coach will wait and see how things develop in the full-back position. Currently, according to Kovač, both Kimmich and Alaba have sufficient fitness to play their games. However, if it was to run in a dangerous direction, he would have to pull the handbrake.

The rotation against FC Augsburg will create tension, especially from a tactical point of view. How quickly can Sandro Wagner, who was a bit alien to the game at Schalke, integrate himself into the team? How strongly will Kovač rotate? Could this lead to major problems in their own ball circulation for the first time?

Again and again FC Bayern had smaller phases, in which they gave away the ball without opponent pressure. That has to be eliminated. It is these nuances that decide the Champions League in April and May.

All the more important is the rhythm of the entire squad. Kovač promised each player playing time and will follow his words already on Tuesday evening deeds. Then you will see for the first time what the supposed second suit looks like.

Aggressive Augsburgers will examine each seam for strength against tearing. This test will certainly not be a walk in the park for FC Bayern. If you look at the table, the Bundesliga threatens to become a boring league again in title race. But in the individual matches, teams like Augsburg will again demand a lot from the record champion.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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