Hertha Berlin 2-2 Bayern Munich
We sat down with @thebayernfantv to gather their thoughts on Bayern's latest setback as well as their hopes for the season.....
Q. So in your own words what went wrong for Bayern today?
A. Today's match as well as performance was honestly just a continuation of what Bayern fans have seen the past few months under Ancelotti. No clear attacking plan, players not performing to their usual level, the defense not being set up properly. The issue under Ancelotti was us being predictable attacking wise. With our only source of attack being from wide areas via crosses instead of centrally. It was always going to be a difficult game to manage from Willy Sagnol. He tried going with a 4-2-3-1 with Javi Martinez back in midfield and Muller in a central attack position. The problem is that Javi has not played in that position for 4 years and today showed. He was good defending the defense, but once it came to starting a pass / moving the ball forward, he left all that up to Tolisso who did a decent job but later on throughout the match struggled once Hertha Berlin started marking him more and more. That ultimately led us to have 3 separate areas on the pitch, defense, midfield and attack instead of it being all joined. Which ultimately led to our downfall and caused us to get a draw; which if Hertha Berlin were more clinical could easily have been a win for them
Q. You mentioned there being a predictability in attack. For those who aren't regular watchers of Bayern Munich, could you explain why this is the case? Forward players not firing or is it more of a system/manage issue?
A. Well, in the past few months, we have been playing with a 4-3-3 with our wingers being tasked to cut inside and our fullbacks or our central midfielders being tasked with providing width to then cross the ball into the box. The issue has been that we lacked the players in the box. For a few months now, Lewandowski has been the only player in the box, with all the other players hovering just outside the box. So our wingers trying to cut in were always tasked with breaking down a wall of players in front of them leaving our fullbacks as the only source of creativity with their crosses. So you've got our fullbacks crossing at every single opportunity while only Lewandowski is in the box - up against multiple players. Today was a little different in the sense that we were actually able to create from our wingers cutting inside, but we lacked the men inside the box to really exploit that which resulted in us resorting back to crossing multiple times.
Q. James Rodriguez was one player who was brought in this summer. Any particular reason you feel he hasn't had the desired impact?
A. James Rodriguez got injured very early on into the season and had to get back his match fitness and his overall form. In the matches where he has been a sub, he's found himself struggling to get into the match. The one match where he played the full 90 minutes, the game vs Schalke; he was fantastic. Earning himself a goal, an assist and a penalty. However in his last start, the game against PSG he had a terrible first half and then ultimately got subbed off. I feel like its too early to really judge him just yet in all fairness. He needed to get more accustomed to the team during pre-season but then got injured and now has to get used to the team during the season. I feel that once he does so, he will be an outstanding player for Bayern as the match vs Schalke proved.
Q. You mentioned attacking weaknesses for Bayern. However today the defence looked more like the issue. And has been a few times this season. Do Bayern need a revamp in their defence?
A. I don't necessarily think that Bayern need a revamp of the defence. The issue has been that we've not been able to play with a set back 4 for a while now. During preseason Alaba and Bernat both got injured forcing us to play Rafinha (a rightback by trade) to play as our leftback. Boateng also was injured and only returned 2 weeks ago. Until his return, we played Hummels and Javi/Sule as our CB pairing. Javi while being excellent in one game, will be invisible in another. Sule is also still young and getting used to the team so him struggling at first was always likely to be the case although I personally think that he's done quite well so far - although not brilliant. Our rightback, Kimmich has been excellent. Despite being new to the position he's been our one bright spark so far all season. Last week, Alaba came back from injury too and immediately played his first game vs PSG and his second game today. While he has been struggling for a while now with his form, being thrown into the matches right away for 90 minutes will not have done him any favours. So essentially, in the past few weeks our back four has been shifted, messed around and included players just returning from injury.
Q. What has caused the situation to deteriorate so much that Ancelotti had to be sacked? With Bayern winning the league not too long a go what has happened for things to change so drastically and how can Bayern get back on track?
A. Us winning the league last year under Ancelotti really papered over the cracks. We didn't actually play well and were mostly bailed out by individual quality. We had 2 games where we actually played a good game of football, which were both the games against RB Leipzig. Especially the home game was spectacular from us. However, having 2 good performances throughout a whole season was really not what the board or even the fans expected. Many people however, including myself didn't look too much into it though as it was Carlo Ancelotti's first season in Germany and we just looked at it as him 'getting used to the league and the team'. When the second season started, and our performance still didn't improve it started to become clear that it wasn't just Ancelotti not being used to the league. During the PSG match, Ancelotti apparently just selected team sheet without actually stating his reasons why. Boateng was sent to the stands, Hummels (our best CB at this point in the season) was placed on the bench. We also played with no wingers during that game. Many players felt that Ancelotti not explaining the lineup and sending them to the bench / stands was an insult and they didn't take kindly to that. However, even prior to that, players have come out and stated that the team had no gameplan and no tactically set up for how to attack, so it wasn't just something that occurred over night. For Bayern to get back on track, I feel that a tactician such as Tuchel is needed. Going from someone like Pep who changed training up 100 times a season and who would challenge the players during training with things they had never seen before to then going to Ancelotti who didn't challenge the players was a massive step. Some players must've gotten complacent and the result is what we have today. Someone like Tuchel who is famously known for telling his CB's to practice defending with tennisballs in their hands so that in a game they wouldn't pull a player's shirt would be fantastic in a situation like this
Q. I see. So finally could you give us 3 positives from today's performance and 3 things Bayern need to work on?
A. 3 positives...well this will be difficult to answer. 1) Lewandowski looked good 2) Alaba who has been one of our worst players in his last few games (before and after his injury) was okay today 3) Kimmich as always was spectacular 3 things Bayern need to work on 1) Earlier substitutions 2) Give James playtime 3) Play Coman on the right and not the left wing. On the right he looks very good on the left he struggles to do anything.
Q. On a final note then how far do you think Bayern are from the European elite?
A. I don't think we're all that far. At this point it is clear that Real Madrid are the best team and have the best team but compared to all the other usual challengers, I feel that we've got an equal squad.