Preview: FC Bayern – SC Freiburg

Justin Separator October 13, 2017

When Heynckes last stood on the sidelines in a match against Freiburg, he set a new record for most points in a single Bundesliga season. Thanks to a goal by Emre Can, Munich came away with a 1-0 victory and added three more points to a new total of 84. At the end of the season this number rose to 91 points. A record still in place today. Freiburg finished that season in fifth place. Now Bayern’s successful coach is back and gets to meet Christian Streich in his first game, who is fighting relegation.

(Image: Patrik Stollarz / AFP / Getty Images)

In his first presser Heynckes talked about tactical flexibility and adaption – both things that had not been heard in Munich for a while. Zone markings have returned to the practice grounds. They remind of days when juego de posicion was practiced daily. FC Bayern has rusted in that respect. The build-up is sound, the movement in midfield is rather week and the attack has separated from the rest of the team. A true unity looks different.

The task of the coaches is on the one hand to establish a tactical corset again. Clear sequences have been practiced within the first week and the marked zones point at already identified problems. With Peter Hermann a new assistant was signed who will have this as his main task.

Jupp Heynckes on the other hand is the master of management. He will have to ensure that the team accepts the tactical ideas of the coaching staff and submits to them fully. Everyone needs to follow one common goal and show team spirit. Most likely the success will return when everyone works towards achieving the same aim and nobody tries a solo run.

Dortmund is already five points ahead and Bayern better doesn’t show any more weaknesses. The toughest tasks might still be on the horizon for the BVB, but the following weeks are no cake walk for Bayern either. All the more important that passion returned to Säbener Straße. The mindset in the first practice sessions with Jupp were completely different, as well as the mood. Something that both the club officials and everyone present noticed right away.

Jupp Heynckes is for sure no pensioner, who does this job for the lack of things to do. He is a very good coach, who certainly wasn’t asleep the last four years. He is excited for this first matchday back as a coach against Freiburg. This feeling spreads to the whole team, which is showing ambition that most often lacked during Ancelotti’s tenure.

Who would have expected these two to meet as Bundesliga coaches again: Jupp Heynckes and Christian Streich.
(Image: Alex Grimm / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Match preview: High intensity

The Breisgauer will challenge Bayern right away. Christian Streich traditionally has a good feeling on how to make this difficult for Munich. His SC is known for extremely high intensity.

Committment, falling back and finding solutions

More often than not Freiburg tried a higher midfield pressing against Bayern. Especially in the last duels a clear 4-4-2 formation became obvious: two forwards up front in order to disturb Bayern’s buildup, but always keeping the balance and connection to the own midfield. Behind them two players in the half-spaces, who would form a hexagon with the defending midfielders and strikers.

This formation calls for a high commitment and also sets up traps for the opposition. If Bayern wants to attack through the centre, they will need good spacing ahead of their defense.

In Freiburg they struggled in the past, mainly because Vidal tried to keep himself away from the pressure and Xabi Alonso was left alone in this 3-1 staggering. It will all depend on whether Bayern can overplay the first row of pressing laid out by the Sportclub. There are many possible solutions: inside wing defenders, three at the back, defensive midfielders with great passing, good structure at the eight and ten in order to overplay the dangerous zones. It is too early to tell which of these solutions are realistic for the Heynckes-led Bayern.

However, the feeling remains that once more a coaching staff is on the sidelines that cares and busies themselves especially with tactics. This is needed in order to reduce the focus on crosses and reactivate the creative short passes.

The individual class of Bayern is so high, that simply putting all players in the right positions will be enough to be successful against most Bundesliga opponents, as it became clear against Schalke for example.

Against Schalke Bayern put in a good performance.
(Image: Patrik Stollarz / AFP / Getty Images)

Objective: Create chances

But if someone can bring back the basics of the once famous juego de posicion, the potential is enormous. So the objective for the game against SC Freiburg is clear: create chances.

Finding ways to access the half spaces, build triangles and finally combine into the opponents box, those are the tasks for the next weeks. Against Freiburg first steps in the right direction should be visible and will be needed.

Christian Streich’s team will demand everything from Bayern. On a good day they are able to close the gap to Bayern just by their enormous will and running. Should the ball circulation of Heynckes’ Bayern be stuttering just a little because nobody is available, the pressing of Freiburg will strike.

However, most likely there will be spaces as well. No team so far this season has been as vulnerable as Freiburg. They concede almost twenty shots per game. Which makes it all the more impressive, that they managed to keep a clean sheet three times. E.g. against Dortmund, when they narrowed the centre even though they were a man down. If they can’t retrieve this sort of performance, a big defeat might be upon them as Bayern is willing to end their crisis.

The players are responsible

The squad of the Meister has been criticized as of late. How did Ancelotti out of all people fail on a personal level? Maybe the quality in the players isn’t there anymore?

Now it is up to the player to prove the public wrong. They have a new coach, who will spend day and night to restlessly work on the weaknesses of the club. With him came his new assistant who is able to tighten the tactical corset.

Everything is set for an early turning point in the season. There are no alibis left and the players will have to prove what they are worth. Diagonal passing, quick changes of sides, more accuracy in every action are the basics that should become visible against Freiburg. Passing accuracy was one of the main focusses in practice last week.

It’s now up to the players to implement the ideas of the coaching staff.
(Image: Christof Stache / AFP / Getty Images)

Over and over again Peter Hermann coached the players and stepped in to improve. His voice echoed throughout the practice facilities while Heynckes analyzed in the back. A certain intensity and meticulousness was apparent, which will be needed this weekend against highly motivated Freiburg.

Bringing this passion from the training grounds to the green of Allianz Arena will be next. With a tactical idea and an attitude that is fit for the “mia san mia” club.

Expert predictions

For this season an extern expert predicts the match. For a correct prediction three points are awarded, for the correct outcome (victory, tie, loss) one point is given. The extern expert will be up against one of the Miasanrot editors. At the end of the season we will see, whether the invited experts can trump the editorial staff.

Marc Schwitzky got the correct trend as he predicted a 1-1, so he will get one point. That cuts the editorial staff’s lead to 11-8. This week Sven Metzger will go up against Bettina.

Sven: Jupp, Jupp and Jupp again. Anything else? Ah yes, Freiburg travels to Munich. They bring more defensive stability along together with a well worth seeing attacking pressing and offensive play. Will that be enough to take home some points in Munich? I doubt it, and that is why I pick a 3-0 victory for Bayern.

Bettina: The enthusiasm that Heynckes’ return has caused is noticeable everywhere and will show on the pitch. Even though Freiburg will act brave, they won’t stand a chance against the new spirit at Bayern which will even infect Sven Ulreich. My pick: 3-0.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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