Preview: FC Bayern – FC Augsburg
At home Munich are yet to lose against Augsburg in their ten meetings. Eight wins and two draws make this very clear. Ancelotti’s XI would be well-advised not to underestimate their opponent, though.
It will be down to Bayern themselves to dictate the tempo and the outcome on Saturday. If they can keep up their form from the last weeks, the visitors shouldn’t pose a threat.
It’s to be expected, that the record champion will come up against a massive defence. In the past years FCA nearly always played with a back-five, no matter which coach was on the sideline.
It’s a well known situation, when an underdog is visiting the Allianz Arena, that’s why Munich will have to create solutions when in possession. This became less and less of an issue as the season progressed. It looked like the attack is finally clicking and chimed well together recently.
There’s still room for improvement when possession is lost. Going backwards, Bayern aren’t always stable and are still leaving dangerous gaps at times, which should be reduced in the upcoming big weeks. In a few games Munich showed, that they’re still able to balance counter-pressing and compact, deeper work against the ball and thus hardly allowing any counter-attacks.
They’re not doing that enough yet. One should really let go of the perfect attacking high press or overwhelming dominance over 90 minutes. This will only happen over short stretches within certain games under Ancelotti this season. The same applies to the ball circulation in midfield.
In the last few games it became apparent, that the occupation of the centre hasn’t been done overly consistent. It seems as if the manager demands situational overloads in the final third. The central midfielders push up very far, while the defensive midfielder is taking over the centre.
From Hummels and the returning Boateng it’ll be expected to bypass the midfield and get the ball directly into dangerous areas in the attacking third. This extremely vertical play is leading to a certain chaos, but also the opportunity to react with several players, if the risky pass ends up being a misplaced.
The disadvantage being, that this idea is based on coincidence and a bit of luck. In bad phases this could end up being a pretty terrible game of football. One shouldn’t rely on this tool too often, albeit it being very productive in a few situations.
Furthermore, it’s important that this concept only worked, when Thiago was in defensive midfield or as a deeper central midfielder. With Alonso and Vidal this is hard to imagine, as both need support doing so. Especially against stronger teams, Munich will have to adjust their midfield line-up accordingly.
The game against Augsburg won’t be of overly big significance. It’s important to get back into the rhythm after the international break but that’s about it.
This means one shouldn’t expect Bayern going all guns blazing. The pragmatic and experienced players of the Bundesliga leaders will probably only increase the tempo, if it’s really necessary.
It should be the aspiration of FC Bayern to control the opponent. Under Ancelotti control is defined a little bit different compared to the previous years. The defence is stable over the course of the whole season, the pressing is getting more effective and considering there is currently no stand-out team in Europe, the record champion has a better chance of reaching the big success than one might have thought in the winter.
April will be no joke for Munich. Nine games and a lot of decisions are awaiting.
The month will start against Augsburg at the weekend. Three days later an away game in Hoffenheim is waiting, followed by two home games against Dortmund and Real Madrid.
The game in Leverkusen is relatively insignificant, given that shortly afterwards the second leg in Madrid will be played. The schedule is completed by a Bundesliga home game against Mainz, the cup semi-final against Dortmund at home and an away fixture in Wolfsburg.
Looking at the schedule, it’s all the more valuable to have such a big lead in the league. Bayern can really focus on the highlights against Madrid and Dortmund.
However, one wants to assess the Bundesliga in terms of rhythm and confidence, you can’t really argue about one thing: These are the weeks FC Bayern fans are waiting for every season.
They’ll not only show if the perceived improvement in the past few games really was a progression, but also determine the evaluation of the whole season.
Nine games, a lot of highlights and a month, that will reveal how big the chances really are of getting the maximum amount of silverware.
Five bold predictions
- Bayern will score at least three times.
- They’ll shoot on target at least 18 times.
- Müller will score.
- FC Augsburg won’t score.
- One goal in the first half at most.
Only one measly thesis was correct recently. Overall I’m at 86/165.