Following the heartbreaking cup loss against Dortmund, Bayern faced relegation-troubled Wolfsburg with the chance to decide the league race, as Leipzig had failed to beat Ingolstadt a few hours earlier.
Three things we noticed
1. Unusual verticality
Against Wolfsburg, Bayern showed an incredible verticality, especially in the first half. The two central midfielders, Thiago and Kimmich, repeatedly used vertical passes to get Coman, Müller or Robben behind the opposing backline. That plan worked well. Together with Lewandowski, the three aforementioned attackers formed what almost looked like a 4-2-4 system, due to their aggressiveness. As the hosts decided to defend with a high line, there was a lot of space behind them ready to be exploited. The result were limited but high-quality attacks. Three of the first seven Bayern shots beat the keeper.
The Bayern offense attempted to execute every attack with determination and pace. Not every vertical pass was successful, not every idea worked out. But it seemed a lot more threatening than in recent weeks.
2. Thiago and Kimmich
In terms of numbers, the Bavarian midfield was short-handed. Kimmich and Thiago had to cover lots of ground. This could’ve backfired when Wolfsburg had their best phase – shortly after the opening goal – but it didn’t. Instead we got to witness what this season’s Bayern midfield looked like in an alternate universe. Barely any redundancy, smart build-up play and practically no errors. The two (relatively) young midfielders got to hint at what might be possible in years to come. A remarkable asset was the accuracy of the long balls, both vertical and diagonal ones. Both players proved to be highly skilled at that.
Kimmich’s long-ball accuracy was a perfect 100% – all 17 attempts were successful. His overall passing accuracy wasn’t much worse, at 95.9%. Thiago’s numbers look a bit worse (87.1%) but they’re simply brilliant stats when you consider the high risk in their build-up. Furthermore, Kimmich played three key passes while Thiago had two, the team leaders in that regard. Simply put, it was a lovely performance by the both of them, they were the engine and the reason for success.
Bayern are German champions! For the fifth consecutive year! It will take a few years to understand how successful the current decade has been for this club. Naturally, “only” winning the league seems like a consolation prize after recent years. The team and the board decided to focus on the Champions League – a target they failed to reach for well-documented reasons. So the 2016-17 Bundesliga title will feel like a title filled with truth. The truth that the peak might no longer be as high, but also the truth that the depth and consistency are still there.
In an average Bundesliga, Bayern were easily the most commanding and talented team. They won 22 of their 31 matches – losing only twice. As Leipzig and Dortmund failed to grab some routine points, the league was decided after just 31 matchdays.
|VfL Wolfsburg – FC Bayern 0:6 (0:3)|
|VfL Wolfsburg||Casteels – Blaszczykowski (46. Vierinha), Knoche, Rodriguez (67. Seguin), Horn – Bazoer, Luiz Gustavo – Didavi (79. Ntep), Arnold, Gerhardt – Gomez|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Lahm (71. Rafinha), Martínez, Hummels (68. Bernat), Alaba – Thiago (75. Sanches), Kimmich – Robben, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Starke, Vidal, Costa, Ribéry|
|Goals||0:1 Alaba (19.), 0:2 Lewandowski (36.), 0:3 Lewandowski (45.), 0:4 Robben (66.), 0:5 Müller (80.), 0:6 Kimmich (85.)|
|Sent off:||Luiz Gustavo (78./second yellow card)|
|Referee||Felix Zwayer (Berlin)|
|Attendance||30.000 (sold out)|