When a dog’s dinner is good enough: Three takeaways from FC Bayern’s grubby cup win against SV Rödinghausen
Apart from the result itself, there were no positives to take away from this disjointed, grubby display against fourth-tier SV Rödinghausen in Osnabrück. In short, it was a bit of a dog’s dinner.
Let us provide some sort of context here. SV Rödinghausen are not exactly stellar opposition. They are currently sitting in fourth position in the Regionalliga West, with five wins from thirteen matches.
For a team like FC Bayern München, this is the sort of opponent that should be little more than cannon fodder. Even if they pile everybody they can muster and the kitchen sink behind the ball. No disrespect intended.
If Die Roten’s million-dollar team are struggling to overcome part-time opposition, they are really going to struggle when the going gets tough. Of course, it may be all part of a strategy. To play just a touch above the level of the opposition, with the aim of eking out a series of deceptively close 2:1 wins.
Seriously though, there is something broken in the Bayern machine. At times during what was a dismal second half, one was left wondering which team was the one playing in the fourth tier. Can the real FC Bayern please stand up?
OK, I am starting to slip into moan-mode now. This is a game that Bayern should not just be winning, but winning well. Even Fortuna Düsseldorf, right down at the base of the Bundesliga, managed to put five past SSV Ulm, the team that had knocked out holders Eintracht Frankfurt in the first round.
Not hitting the target is one thing. But leaking goals on a consistent basis is even more un-Bayern. To leak a goal against a fourth-tier team that would have so little time on the ball (22 percent) is more than concerning.
Clean sheets have been hard to come by this season for the Bavarians. Before last week’s 2:0 victory against AEK Athens, we have to go back to the end of September and the win by the same scoreline at Schalke.
It is not just a matter of conceding, but the manner in which the team are conceding. Time and again, players have been slow to react, have gone AWOL at set pieces, or have been caught cold by a fast counterattack. This evening, we saw Javi Martínez left eating dust and Rafinha beaten for pace – by players whose training facilities are light years away from those at the Säbener Straße.
How is this even possible?
Despite all this, let me be clear. This is not a crisis. It is a problem that has dragged on for far too long, but it is not a crisis. It can be fixed. We still have sheets, but they are just a little bit grubby.
Like many FC Bayern supporters, I have long been a fan of Franck Ribéry. Brought back into the starting lineup to give Serge Gnabry a bit of a rest, the Frenchman should have been in his element. Left to unleash his bag of tricks against weaker opposition, it was the perfect opportunity to shine.
Instead, Ribéry shuffled about like a lobotomised hare on speed. Runs that went nowhere, foiled repeatedly by defenders who will back doing their day jobs tomorrow. It was arguably the worst display I have ever seen from the Bayern number seven, who was utterly consternant.
Perhaps it is time that Ribéry calls it a day. He simply should not and cannot be seen as the first choice any more. He can still see out the season as an impact sub, but it is now up to Niko Kovač to put his foot down and help Serge Gnabry to cement his place in the starting eleven.