Three things we noticed: FC Bayern – Eintracht Frankfurt 1:3 (0:1)

Eintracht Frankfurt wins the DFB Pokal 2018. Niko Kovac’s team defeats FC Bayern 3:1 in a hard-fought final. Author: Christopher • Translator: Dennis

For Jupp Heynckes it was (for the time being) his last match as coach of FC Bayern – his 77th on the sideline in the DFB Pokal.

In case you missed it

Before the game there was only one obvious question: will Tolisso or Martínez start in the Bayern midfield? Tolisso would have been the more offensive option, on which Heynckes has bet more often lately. For this final, however, the Bayern coach relied on the Spaniard. Ulreich was in goal, as expected, playing behind Alaba, Süle, Hummels and Kimmich.

Starting formations in the DFB Pokal final.

Martínez in the midfield, Thiago and James in the eighth positions. Müller, Ribery and Lewandowski formed the offensive trio. Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman returned to the bench after long injuries.

On the other side, Niko Kovac also had his last game for Eintracht. He will take over at FC Bayern in the coming season. He initially chose an extremely conservative 3-4-2-1/5-4-1 system for his team. Compared to the Bundesliga duel three weeks ago, Kovac brought in five new players: Hasebe, Salcedo, de Guzman, Boateng and Rebic. The back five in front of Hradecky was formed by Willems, Abraham, Hasebe, Salcedo and da Costa. Before that Willems, Mascarell, de Guzman, with Boateng and Wolf playing more offensively. Rebic was the only striker.

It took Bayern a few minutes to find their footing, but only after five minutes did the combinations become safer. The result was a free-kick from a good position at the corner of the penalty area. Lewandowski, who had been fouled beforehand, stepped up and curled the ball to the lower edge of the bar (8th).

On the other side, Frankfurt continued to press and is being rewarded. The pressured Süle passes to James, who does not have enough time or whose movement is well anticipated by Rebic. The ball bounces to Boateng, who can put the ball through to Rebic. Rebic stays cool from 16 meters and slots it into the lower right goalkeeper corner (10.). The blame on the Bayern side is shared by Süle, who could have recognized that James is not the best option and on the other side by the Colombian, who initiates the ball loss by his not perfect ball handling, in equal parts.

After a Frankfurt corner, Bayern came to a counterattack. Via James, Ribery and Müller, the ball went to Lewandowski, who failed from a tight angle with a half-lob (25th).
In the 34th minute, the Munich team took another free kick. The position was a good five to eight metres further away from the goal than in the first try. Lewandowski tried again, but his ball passed a good two meters from the goal (34th). That was the last good chance before the break. On the other side, Eintracht with Rebic and de Guzman came dangerously in front of the Bayern goal again, but a misunderstanding between the two prevented the finish (37.).

Frankfurt took a not undeserved lead and took advantage of their opportunity without making any defensive mistakes. On the other side, the Munich-based team was too seldom able to initiate combinations. In addition, some good scoring chances remained unused.

With the first chance of the second half, Bayern equalized the score. Süle was not disturbed in midfield and could send Kimmich steeply. For the first time, the Munich team got behind Frankfurt’s defensive line. Kimmich put the ball back in the center on Lewandowski, who can no longer be decisively disturbed by Mascarell. The equaliser for Bayern (52nd).

Frankfurt brought Gacinovic for Wolf. Kovac hoped this would strengthen the midfield. Heynckes reacted and brought in Tolisso for Thiago. A little later he brought Coman for Müller. Müller had a gastrointestinal disease during the week, so he was probably not completely fit.

Lewandowski also failed in his third free-kick attempt in the 72nd minute. It was the worst of all three attempts. The ball missed the goal by a wide margin.

After a corner kick from Kimmich, Hummels failed with a header on the crossbar. The second aluminium hit in this match for Bayern (78th).

As in the first half, the Frankfurters scored the goal on the other side. From a duel in midfield with several participants, the Frankfurters retain the upper hand and bring a long ball to Rebic. Süle and Hummels once again fail to get into the duel and Rebic scores the second goal of the evening (82nd).

Bayern tried to mobilize their forces again. In the 92nd minute, the Munich players were awarded another corner kick. This resulted in a long-range shot and Martínez was fouled in the penalty area. Too little for referee Zwayer who did not decid on a foul after studying the tape. The following corner is too short. Gacinovic could run alone at the orphaned goal and converted to 3:1.

Eintracht Frankfurt is DFB Pokal Winner 2018 and Niko Kovac takes his leave of Frankfurt with a title. After an initially good second half, the Munich team consistently missed out on the second goal.

Three things we noticed

1. Frankfurt’s defence

Frankfurt’s defensive concept worked. From a compact 5-4-1, Niko Kovac’s team relied on situational attack pressing. When the opportunity arose, Rebic, Boateng and Wolf pressured Bayern’s build-up game. If there was no chance of winning the ball, the Frankfurters withdrew and relied on midfield pressure. The back five stood a good 25-30 metres in front of their own goal, leaving the Munich-based team little room for their dreaded combination game. As a result, Bayern seldom got the full-backs integrated into the build-up, as the ball into the centre could usually already be stopped. James and Thiago were cleverly held in the wrong half space by the positioning of the Eintracht players.

When the Bayern players started a run, the Eintracht players helped themselves with a foul. Niko Kovac’s team committed 14 fouls in the first half. A high value when you consider that an average Bundesliga team does not commit 20 fouls in an entire game.

In the overall concept there were so few combinations on the part of the Bavarians. It became dangerous only after standard situations. The Munich team only won three dribblings that evening because they did not get into a one-on-one situation. One dribbling each was won by Ribery, Hummels and the later substituted Coman. It shows how much Kovac’s plan worked out.

2. Multiple lacks of concentration

As well as Frankfurt did in places (see point 1). That’s how much the Bavarians helped with simple mistakes. The 1:0 was due to an individual mistake by Süle and James. Added to this were simple turnovers due to poor ball handling and processing. Kimmich alone had several unexpected mistakes, but he wasn’t the only Bayern player with problems. No Bavarian player reached his performance limits that evening. There are many reasons for this, perhaps the season was too long for some players after the lost Champions League semi-finals and a certain mental exhaustion has occurred. This was already indicated by the 4-1 defeat against Stuttgart last week.

Personally, one feels particularly sorry for Jupp Heynckes, who brought the team back on track after a difficult autumn and is now leaving Munich with three bitter defeats (Champions League, Stuttgart and Frankfurt).

3. Hoping for the analysis

The defeat was logical (see points 1 and 2) and the only hope that goes with it is that FC Bayern learns from its mistakes. An analysis of the last weeks and months is required. Defeats are always opportunities for this, because more is often learned from them than from victories that cover many things up.

In 2012, for example, a consequence was drawn after three lost finals. The squad greatly expanded. It was the biggest impulse in the last years besides the engagement of Pep Guardiola as coach.

Yes, FC Bayern is in a small overhaul. Formative players such as Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Alonso have left the club or ended their careers. In addition there are players whose performance peaks have been exceeded, which is not a criticism of the players, but the course of time. Ribery, Robben and Rafinha were already extended before the end of the season and consequences were created. Another upheaval was delayed here.

Hasan Salihamidžić gave a remarkable interview to the Süddeutsche Zeitung on match day in which he emphasised that coaching teams are to be smaller in the future and that they want to create structures for analysis, scouting and in the medical field that are provided by FC Bayern. Negatively read, this means that impulses from outside continue to be ignored and even more isolated. You keep swimming in your own juice. That may not mean anything good, if one may believe the outgoing amateur coach Tim Walter, who has also put on record in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, that there is simply no concept for the youth. Accadamy or not.

It appears that there are not only enough construction sites on the field, but also off the field, where the club can question itself in the coming weeks and months. The somewhat longer break due to the World Cup could help everyone involved.

3.1 Thanks a million, Jupp!

FC Bayern – Eintracht Frankfurt 1:3 (0:1)
FC BayernUlreich – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Javi Martinez – Thiago (64. Tolisso), James – Müller (70. Coman), Ribéry (87. Wagner)- Lewandowski
BenchNeuer, Rafinha, Bernat, Rudy
Eintracht FrankfurtHradecky – Abraham, Hasebe, Salcedo – da Costa, Mascarell, de Guzman (74. Russ), Willems – K.-P. Boateng, M. Wolf (60. Gacinovic) – Rebic (89. Haller)
BenchZimmermann, Tawatha, Fabian, Jovic
Yellow CardsLewandowski, Coman/Salcedo, Willems, Hasebe, Rebic, Gacinovic
RefereeFelix Zwayer
Attendance76.322

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Comments
  1. Cody

    This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. There are several simple sleeping and grammar mistakes, incomplete sentences, weird terminology and word choice, and just plain wrong statements. How was Xabi Alonso a formative player when he was at the club for 2 years attached the end of his career? And then the jumping of events out of chronological order was awful as well. And the 3 points weren’t much of points at all. It almost feels like a bit tried to write this and failed and then had zero editor support.

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