Closer than it should have been: three takeaways from Hertha BSC v FC Bayern
In what was a good night for Bayern’s flying wingers, Serge Gnabry bagged a lovely brace and Kingsley Coman forced home a deserved winner in extra time.
Teams can win football matches on the back of a good defence, even if they are unable to score goals. Then there are those occasions when a porous back line can be offset by scoring more goals than you concede. Only very rarely can a team win with both a poor defence and off-key attack.
I call this the Devil’s Equation.
Somehow, FC Bayern were able to fudge the maths in Berlin. Niko Kovač’s side conceded twice against a very ordinary Hertha side, and once again a defensive lapse gifted the opposition with a soft goal. At the other end, chances came and went.
The Bavarians managed to sneak through in extra time, but the simple truth is that it should have been over long before then. With the Champions League tie against Liverpool fast approaching, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. The one upside is that Jürgen Klopp’s men are not looking too crash-hot right now either.
At times, I am beginning to think that I am starting to sound like a broken record. But the needle is stuck, and there are no obvious signs that the situation is going to correct itself anytime soon. Once again, Bayern dominated the game but were let down by their lack of consistency and ongoing profligacy in front of goal.
As against Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend, Die Roten dominated the possession, racked up more passes, and created far more opportunities. But slack defending meant that Hertha were always in the contest, while a raft of missed chances meant that the Berliners were not put away as quickly as they should have been.
Unlike Leverkusen, Pál Dárdai’s men relied on their tried and tested strategy of parking the bus. It meant that despite Bayern’s statistical dominance, they actually looked worse then they did at the weekend. Thankfully, and unlike this season’s earlier encounter in Berlin, Bayern did manage to convert three of their 23 shots on goal.
OK, that got your attention.
I was unable to watch the game last night, and found myself following events on kicker.de and Twitter. For every half-dozen match comments, there was a barb about Niko Kovač. For some so-called fans, the coach cannot do anything right. When a result doesn’t fall in our favour, the keyboard warriors are out in force, moaning about a poor selection or a strange substitution.
Despite just seeing the potted highlights, I will trust those who were able to offer a more even perspective. Joshua Kimmich is going through a poor spell at the moment, and this has nothing to do with the coach. Serge Gnabry being subbed out was all down to his running out of steam. Mats Hummels’ defensive lapse was his and his alone.
Following Dortmund’s shootout shock against Werder Bremen, Bayern are now the hot favourites to lift the golden Pott in Berlin. In the recent past, nobody would have argued with this. However, this season has been different. RB Leipzig are the obvious threat, but everybody will be wanting to have a shot.