Back then, the current league leaders found it difficult because Ancelotti and the squad hadn’t clicked yet. Frankfurt took advantage of the gaps and were aggressive in the challenges against the record champion.
The same can be expected this time around. Frankfurt is a well-organised, aggressive team. Nearly every Kovac side has these skills.
However, Frankfurt are currently in a “mini crisis”, although one has to be careful with that term. An impressive season, which is currently rewarded with 6th place, has been hampered by many injuries.
The outstanding Vallejo picked up an injury and will definitely miss the game against Bayern. Ordónez, Anderson, Regäsel, Varela, Medojevic, Stendera, and Fabián are injured as well; Seferovic is suspended.
Eintracht’s squad is big, but some absences simply can’t be replaced. In the last four Bundesliga matches, they conceded nine goals and only scored one themselves.
All this means that expectations for Frankfurt should be much lower than during the first half of the season. Munich’s form is just too good.
Kovac likes to field a flexible team and frequently adjusts the basic formation, mostly to tailor the occupation of space to the upcoming opponent.
Against stronger teams, he usually goes with a 5-4-1, which is to be expected in the Allianz Arena, too. Like many teams before them, Frankfurt will hope for chances on the break and a bit of luck that is necessary in Munich.
Considering their banged-up squad and problems in the defence because of that, it’ll be a near impossible task for Frankfurt.
Bayern will need to confirm the trend. As of late, the team has been more dangerous and vertical in possession. Especially against teams that are sitting deep, the Ancelotti eleven needs a lot of pace in their play.
Frankfurt’s 5-4-1 should be pulled apart with the right runs so Müller, Thiago, or whoever else is starting in the centre, will have enough space.
Ancelotti would be well-advised to choose an attacking option with Müller and Thiago against Frankfurt. Recently we discussed the two options the manager has discovered for himself. An option with both Müller and Thiago could be the most promising one against SGE.
The staggering defence of the visitors has to be put under pressure as soon as possible. The sooner Bayern score, the less worries they’ll have against Frankfurt’s stronghold.
Müller and Kimmich have to subordinate
There are definitely losers under Ancelotti, and Müller and Kimmich, as well as Bernat, Sanches, and Coman are some of them. The hype is considerable, especially around Thomas Müller. The German international has hardly featured in the big matches and isn’t performing well enough.
It’s the right consequence by the manager to let him take a seat on the bench. There is a saying that no player is bigger than the club – that includes likable icons like the Bavarian.
Kimmich’s situation is a little bit different. He was convincing in the summer and autumn, but was replaced in the winter by players coming back from injuries, who needed some time to find their form. This threw off 22-year-old’s rhythm. Currently he’s only getting a few appearances as a sub.
Ancelotti made the right choice here. Alonso, Vidal, and Thiago are all in good shape right now. With them, Bayern’s plays work both with and against the ball. There is no need to make Kimmich a starter again.
Now it’s down to keeping the players happy. So far, that has been working quite well. No player has complained, and Müller in particular is handling the situation very professionally in public.
The situation is similar to 2013; back then Robben was close to a bench-warmer role and suddenly Toni Kroos got injured. In the end, Robben became “Mr. Wembley”.
Mario Gomez is a prime example, too. The striker was replaced by Mandzukic in the treble season, but was still always there when needed. While the Croatian created a bad atmosphere a year later, Gomez was a guarantor for the treble with his positive attitude.
Only if all players are working together towards a shared goal can something big be achieved. Müller, Kimmich, and all the others in the squad seem to be aware of that. Particularly since both should know that they’ll get their chances in the middle- and long-term anyway.
Possibly even in the short-term. Ancelotti could go for a bit more rotation in the Bundesliga again. Important weeks are coming up for the record champion and for this, more than just the starting eleven of the Italian will be needed, but rather the whole team.
Five bold predictions
- Lewandowski will score at least once.
- A defender will score a goal.
- Kimmich starts. (It has to happen again eventually.)
- Ancelotti will rotate at least three positions compared to the Arsenal game.
- Bayern will win with a margin of at least three goals.
Small setback for me against Cologne. Not a single correct prediction, meaning we’re still sitting at 82 out of 155.