Preview: FC Augsburg – FC Bayern München

Justin Separator April 7, 2018

On Patreon we have compiled a number of questions in the last few days, which we will now answer as part of the preview. From time to time the preview format will be used to discuss your topics.

Shouldn’t FC Bayern gradually be finding a regular team to get used to each other and allow all of their efforts to pass into flesh and blood?

ndeed, I think it is important to make a clear decision, especially in midfield. Thiago was out last, but played outstandingly against Sevilla except for one disastrous bad pass. He has to be a regular, there can be no argument.

James is simply in top form at the moment. He should also be the most important player in midfield. He proved his worth in Sevilla. Now Heynckes has a problem with Vidal. Martínez is the only player in the squad who can hold the sixth position as the coach wishes. In my opinion, Heynckes robs us of our strengths when he breaks this trio in order to create an apparent stability that is not a stability at all. See Sevilla.

Personally, I find Thiago much more stabilizing in our system than Vidal. From this point on Heynckes has to make that decision for himself, and then see to it that his midfield plays a special role. We saw against Real last year how deadly a loss of control can be in the center. If we do not gradually find a well-rehearsed trio on the pitch, it will be difficult. However, Jupp Heynckes must also continue to rotate. It’s going to happen. If you don’t, you’ll be in even more trouble. Therefore he will (must) find the right balance. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Against Sevilla I was not impressed with the way they played around their opponent’s high pressing. We have already seen teams that have started even more aggressively against us. I could well imagine that Augsburg might behave in this way. How would you position the team to get around such an aggressive and compact pressing from the opponent?

In principle, the midfield plays a central role here as well. I already wrote in the preview of Sevilla that we play too fast on the outside with Vidal, because he is rarely available and even less often has a good subsequent action – and that’s how it happened. With Vidal, you actually have to accept losing the ball, and then force the counter-pressing.

With Thiago and James on the pitch, things looked much better. Sevilla retreated quickly because they had no more success at the front. That it still didn’t run perfectly in the final third remains a mystery, but the game structure was absolutely acceptable in this combination. Particularly because Hummels and Boateng have the quality to play longer passes.

Against Augsburg I also expect a slightly higher starting opponent, but it will not be any comparison to Sevilla. The real benchmarks are now limited to the DFB Cup and the Champions League.

How does Thomas Müller perform best, and what are the consequences on the midfield defensive formation? Are there any statistics? How should he be used in a suspected semi-final of the Champions League against Real/Barca/Liverpool?

The question also included – which I cut out for the sake of length – whether he gets along with James and Robben. The special thing about Müller is that he gets along with almost every player. The fears that James AND Müller would not be successful have not proven to be accurate. Both together are currently the most important attacking players. Müller is best integrated when he is allowed to run freely and as a connection over the entire pitch.

Under Van Gaal it was Müller who supported the two wing players, the midfield and the striker in such a way that everyone around him became better. Müller is a phenomenon. We need this free spiritedness in the big games if we want to have even a slight chance. The only statistics I know of is that Bayern rarely loses with Müller. When Thiago and Martínez play behind him, I’m not worried about a supposed lack of stability. If the (counter) pressing works, there is no danger.

Does Jupp not understand Rudy (as a player type), or why is he currently an outcast? How can a new coach integrate Rudy’s strengths into the Bayern game?

I don’t think Heynckes doesn’t understand him. Rudy just doesn’t fit into his system. Heynckes has often used him as a six, and then Rudy has to try to play like Martínez. However, he is much closer to a lesser Thiago. Rudy had his best performances when Thiago attracted the attention of his opponents next to him. That was when Rudy could finally open up.

Currently, he is always set up in such a way that the opponent can immediately put pressure on him. The resulting mistakes have weakened his self-confidence and his performance has suffered as a result. So it all adds up: odd involvement, bad form and a lack of self-confidence. I’d still like to see him under another coach. His potential is still there.

In a nutshell: Martínez is the man for the combination of ball possession football and midfield battle. He’s the man for Heynckes football. Rudy is better for systems completely focused on dominance and control. He needs the support of his neighbors more than Martínez. But the FCB doesn’t play like that anymore.

How would a center of Rudy, Thiago and James fit against Augsburg and how should the game structure / sequel be chosen?

Against Augsburg’s pressing this could be a good match. Rudy would be safe with enough points of contact, and the other two are terrific at all times. However, I believe that Heynckes will completely rotate before Sevilla. This in turn will offer opportunities for Augsburg. I expect a competitive midfield game and some chances for the home team.

Moreover, it is not Jupp Heynckes’ intention to solve all these problems in a gamble. That’s why we didn’t see Martínez, James and Thiago together. That’s why we probably won’t see Rudy with them.

Here it also becomes clear that the squad is much more flexible than Heynckes is making use of it. This is not to be understood as criticism, but in the future we may well be forced to examine whether the trainer needs this flexibility.

The Bundesliga teams in comparison.

Nobody crosses more than FC Bayern. When searching for the answer to the question, why is one so harmless with crosses in spite of this, you soon face the problem of the “occupation of the penalty area”. What is happening on this front and why is this such an issue?

Here too the predicament is clear: we have the best penalty area occupation with the Vidal. But with Vidal, we have a predictable structure that leads to an oversupply of crosses. Bayern would do well to solve left-wing issues more playfully, and then shift to Kimmich in surprising situations. When there’s enough space, it usually makes it around.

The occupation of the penalty area must be trained. With the number of crosses, Bayern is expected to finish. However, I hope that the playful solutions will continue to improve. The chance of scoring a goal is definitely higher. On this front, I have seen great progress, particularly in the half-spaces.

Two strikers over one – a model for the future?

Currently, Bayern is playing with a striker + Müller as a freethinker. This is the optimum solution in my opinion as well. The future model must be flexible in all positions. Also from a tactical perspective. With and against the ball.

Ancelotti has always been recommended to play with a triple chain – why did the call fall silent?

Because Heynckes found a good mix. Martínez is moving very well in this zone. Sometimes he drops, sometimes he pushes. That comes very close to the variant I requested with Martínez as a forward central defender. That’s why I’m not shouting quite as loud these days. But especially in games without Robbery, Heynckes still lacks the necessary skills to adapt to the situation. A clear triple chain of wingbacks could help.

Which German-speaking coach would be best suited to the Bayern Munich squad?

Since Tuchel is out: Julian Nagelsmann. He has enough experience (10 years as a trainer), and also learned a lot internationally this year. He stands for a style that could shape modern football. Currently, that might even give them a head start over other clubs. That he is “only” in mediocrity with Hoffenheim is due to the fact that this squad simply is no longer up to scratch. The key players are gone, very young players have been integrated (another advantage), and a large part played against relegation 3 years ago. He still gets a lot out of it. I am now 100% convinced that this step cannot come too soon. Nagelsmann could usher in a new era.

Could Marco Rose from Salzburg be a coach for the Bavarians, why or why not?

Together with René Maric and the whole team he does a great job. It would be very exciting to see a match manager at FCB. René is a good and competent character. Oh yeah, and Marco Rose seems to be quite good, too.

I don’t follow the U-teams and would like to know whether the two speculated departures Wintzheimer and Mai are a sign of a lack of perspective in the Bavarian squad, or whether they are not believed to have the necessary potential to prevail at FCB.
Particularly at a time when they are trying to focus more on their own youth again

With Wintzheimer, our author Martin recently stressed (I think on Twitter) that most likely he will not have enough for FC Bayern. On the other hand, we would all be very surprised by a Mai transfer. He has always been a high performer in the team, and has good prospects. That would be a real pity, and probably also a failure of the club.

Which amateur players (or U17/U19) should get action in the final push of the league?

I’d like to see Batista Meier working with the professionals. However, I have too little of a picture. In the end, I’m happy for anyone who gets the chance.

Champion for the 6th time in a row. Too much of a good thing? Is Bayern still “healthy” for the Bundesliga?

We haven’t been healthy for the league for a long time. We must remain competitive in Europe and buy in the best players in the league because we have to. It’s a vicious cycle. The DFL will have to find solutions. Even though everyone is against toppling 50+1, there is only ever a yell of “NO! An alternative is never presented. The task should have been handled earlier, now it is an even tougher challenge for the DFL.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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