Another Bavarian Blowout: Three depressing observations from FC Bayern v Fortuna Düsseldorf
The dismal run at the Allianz Arena continues, as Niko Kovač’s side threw away a two-goal advantage against relegation-threatened Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Those who are genuine Bayern fans will know what I am talking about here. For those who do not, Google is your friend. In my close to forty years as a follower of Die Roten, I have had this well-worn term fired at me time and time again.
This season has shown that “Bayern-Dusel” is no longer a thing. If indeed it was ever a thing.
Not that long ago, the Allianz Arena was a fortress. A stronghold, a redoubt where opponents feared to tread. Not any longer. Even the likes of relegation-threatened Fortuna Düsseldorf, a team that saw Eintracht Frankfurt pump seven past them last month, are laughing their way out of Bavaria.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Perhaps the most shocking thing is the Bayern’s new-found propensity for conceding late goals. Not just late goals, but late, late goals.
Against FC Augsburg back in September, the Bavarians conceded an equaliser in the 86th minute. Against SC Freiburg, all three points were in the bag until a minute from normal time. Today, Kovač’s men were two in front with thirteen minutes left, before suffering another killer blow in injury time.
In these three matches, all against opponents that can honestly be described as second rate, six crucial points have been dropped. It has been over two months since Die Roten last won a Bundesliga match in front of their home crowd.
Not for the first time this season, Bayern’s defence was a complete and utter shambles. In a game where they twice led by two goals, they were the architects of their own downfall.
It has become a common and frankly tiresome theme, the sort of thing that popular memes are made of. Either somebody has a lapse in concentration, is turned inside out by an opponent, or left eating dust. All of the arrows will be fired directly at the coach, but perhaps we need to look at the defensive unit.
Niklas Süle may have been in the goals this week, but he needs to remember that his paid-for role is as a centre-back. Jérôme Boateng has not been anything close to top level for a while now. It all made for a depressing dénouement in a match that should have been wrapped up long before.
While Kovač cannot be blamed for this latest defensive meltdown, his decision to bring on Mats Hummels late on for two-goal Thomas Müller was yet another white flag moment. Bayern should have stuck to their guns and seen things out. Instead, they gave their opponents the green light to swing a couple of late punches before the bell.
If just to show how grim things are defensively, we can throw out a couple of disturbing stats. The last time Bayern managed to finish with a clean sheet in the Bundesliga was when they beat Schalke 04 back in September. To find the last Bundesliga clean sheet at the Allianz Arena, we have to travel back to March and the 6:0 demolition of Borussia Dortmund.
How times have changed.
Before we move back to this depressing post-match postmortem, we can acknowledge the one bright spark. Probably not having to worry about the injured James Rodríguez vying for his starting spot, Thomas Müller looked like a man reborn. After a typically Mülleresque first goal, a nice finish to what was a lovely team effort gave der Raumdeuter his first brace since January.
But that was pretty much it. Elsewhere, the Bavarians continued to misfire.
The golden rule used to be that when any team conceded two goals in the opening twenty minutes against Bayern, it was a matter of waiting until the rest flooded in. The Bayern we know and love would have knocked six or more past a team like Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Müller was on point, but there was nothing from those around him. Granted, there was no Serge Gnabry. But Franck Ribéry huffed and puffed for no reward, and Robert Lewandowski had another shocker. The Polish striker had plenty of opportunities to add to the score, but drew a complete blank.
Lewy had plenty of opportunties, but not once did he threaten former Red Michael Rensing in the Düsseldorf goal. He could have saved Bavarian blushes in the final minute and restored Bayern’s two-goal advantage, but instead shanked the ball over the target.
Lewandowski once mentioned that he uses the name Emil when out in public. From today’s lethargic showing by the man in the red number nine shirt, it looked like it was Emil Lewandowski had decided to turn up on the pitch too.
It just to rub more salt into this festering sore, Düsseldorf’s hitman Dodi Lukebakio banged in a superb hat-trick.