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When Bayern Munich had been allotted to the most difficult group in the Champions League 2011, not many people saw them go through it without many problems.
ManCity has one of the best squads in Europe for sure with stars e.g. Edin Dzeko, Sergio Agüero, David Silva, Samir Nasri and so on and so forth. Napoli was feared because of its unusual but pretty successful 3-5-2 with unknown but dangerous players such as Marek Hamsik, Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and, not to forget, Goran Pandev who had kicked Bayern out last season in the last sixteen when he was still playing for Inter. (ugh, thinking about this match still hurts) Villareal was the underdog of the group A but nobody really underestimated them because, after all, they still have a great offense with Guiseppe Rossi and Nilmar.
But first let me give you some stats:
As you can see thanks to those stats, Bayern did deserve their first place. 4 wins in such a difficult group are simply amazing! It’s also very impressive that they had an average possession of 57,22% because Napoli and ManCity are able to keep the ball in their lines for a long time as well.
Especially ManCity was defending very impressively against the German record champion, especially in Munich. They were already attacking deep in Bayern’s half and the Bavarians did struggle a lot in those first 20 minutes.
Bayern didn’t only have that much possession because of their exceptional skills but also because every team let them play and preferred waiting for counter attack opportunities. That proves their respect for Heynckes’ team and his great tactics.
The players with the most influence on Bayern’s game were Schweinsteiger, Tymoshchuk, Badstuber, Kroos, Ribery and the two full-backs [Lahm, Rafinha (4 games) and Boateng (twice)]. This actually shows how important the midfield is for Bayern’s possession and position play:
The two full-backs are on a line with the defensive midfielders whenever they’re attacking. When the ball comes to Kroos and his partners on the wings (Ribery and Müller), either Lahm or Rafinha (or Boateng) overlaps Ribery or Müller. This depends on whom the ball is passed to, the full-back of the other side usually stays a bit behind his winger. But he’s always ready to sprint into some space and shoot or give an assist, seen in the first match against Villareal when Rafinha scored.
Badstuber is actually the starting point of Bayern’s game. He’s the one who decides who will initiate the attacks and he’s been in a terrific form so far and has played amazingly in some important matches.
Of course the whole squad has contributed to the sovereign performances but I think those seven players were actually the most important ones.
Besides the positive characteristics of Heynckes’ game such as possession and position play, sophisticated attacks and quick and precise counter attacks, there is one feature I don’t like at all:
His rotation: On his first presser, Heynckes was talking a lot about rotation. He actually does it but in a rather bad way. He seems to adore to interchangeably let play Boateng and Rafinha on the right side. I think this one of the reasons why Bayern has conceded quite a lot of goals in the last weeks. Furthermore Boateng came to Munich to play as center back next to Badstuber and not as full-back, a position he doesn’t like that much. He actually always enhances he was fine with that because it helps the team but he could be slightly pissed off soon (he probably already is).
I also dislike that Don Jupp never rotates his offensive players. Alaba, Petersen and Usami are said to be amazing players but they can never really show it. Especially Usami isn’t often even part of the squad! I really hope Petersen and Usami will play more often in the second leg, they do deserve it and will be on fire for sure! This will only have positive impacts on the team. Everybody will work even harder to be part of the starting line-up.
One more thing: I really hate to see Alaba as replacement for Schweinsteiger. He hasn’t got by far as much charisma as him and seemed to be a bit insecure on that important position. I rather prefer Kroos or Tymoshchuk then. Alaba is a great replacement for Ribery and I really like to see him playing as a winger.
All things considered, Bayern has played an amazing and impressive group stage and Europe is considering them as one of the favorites for the Champions League trophy with good reason. But Heynckes still has to improve some things before they can seriously talk about winning the Champions League in their own stadium. One or two new players in winter would surely help. But before we think about the future, let’s hold on for a minute and thank God for the great season Bayern has been playing so far!
Thank you very much for reading this! 😀 I’d love some ratings and comments! 🙂 Thank you! 😀
PS: If anybody of you knows an app or program for Macintosh with which I can create tactical chalkboards and videos; please leave me a comment! 🙂