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The betterBayern Munich finished the first leg of the current season, the worse they started into the second one. A defeat against Gladbach, a win against Wolfsburg and a tie against Hamburg aren’t enough for such an ambitious club as Bayern. In their last match, yesterday against the HSV, Bayern was willing to win after a terrible first half but they couldn’t score more than one goal even though they would really have deserved it. They were playing forward but the precision, luck and most of all, the “Bayern-Gene” was missing. These are only a few of many problems the glorious FC Bayern has at the moment. I want to present you them in this article.
1) Where is the “Bayern-Gene”?
The “Bayern-Gene” is rather a myth than a scientifically proven gene but not only every single Bayern fan but also many other football fans of other clubs all around the world do believe in it. The infamous “Bayern-Gene” is the precious ability to win against anybody anywhere, anyhow and no matter when. The “Bayern-Gene” has made Bayern to the best club in Germany and to one of the best in Europe. Everybody is talking about that myth when a former Bayern player or manager signs at a new club such as recently in Hamburg, Bayern’s last opponent. Torsten Fink, a former midfielder for Bayern during 7 consecutive years, had taken over the HSV some months ago and suddenly everybody was hoping that he would bring the “Bayern-Gene” to Hamburg so that they would eventually win trophies again.
It seems like everybody except Bayern themselves would have kind of a “Bayern-Gene” at the moment. In other words: Bayern has lost their biggest strength. The last time Bayern actually could feel it, was under van Gaal, in his first season. Bayern came through in the round of 16 of the Champions League against the Fiorentina with lots of luck. In the quarters they first won 2-1 at home against Manchester United after a sensational come back and away (2-3) they were already almost out of the competition when Olic and Robben scored two amazing goals that qualified Bayern for the next round.
Since then though, the “Bayern-Gene” has kind of died. There are many possible reasons. One might be the defeat in Madrid against Inter on the 21st of May (I’ll never forget that day, so horrible!), another one the Louis van Gaal’s unlucky second season where the team couldn’t bear a lot of bad things anymore. Anyway, we will never know but what we know for sure is that Jupp Heynckes and his captains (Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger) need to find the infamous “Bayern-Gene” again so that they can win matches like the one against Hamburg again.
It’s a tiresome topic, I know. But actually it is a topic I have to write about in this article because after all, he is a problem as well. Well, he is not a problem, he is said to be a problem. After his injury and his come back, the media thought to have seen problems between Robben and the rest of the squad. Too selfish, too moody, too lazy – Robben was blamed for everything. Many people want to take him out of the team but I wouldn’t do so. After all, Robben is still a world class player who has suffered two really bad injuries that have threatened his career within only two years. It’s more or less normal that he hasn’t fully recovered yet, both physically and psychically. What he needs is peace and match practice. He still has to get used to the new tactics under Jupp Heynckes and to the paths of his team mates. So have they to his paths! They need nothing but time and I hope they will get it because Arjen Robben is going to be precious in the end of the season, I’m convinced of that!
3) There can only be one quarterback…
I already knew Bayern was going to struggle against Hamburg when I saw the starting line-up with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos playing together in the defensive midfield. Louis van Gaal had already tried this formation but it never really worked. Now Jupp Heynckes is doing the same mistake again! I absolutely hate seeing both of them in the defensive midfield. It doesn’t improve Bayern’s game at all, it’s rather becoming worse. The midfield is too slow, the counter attacks are that slow that they are almost non-existing and the creativity has gone as well. Schweinsteiger and Kroos are just playing too similarly in the defensive midfield as you can see on the graphics I’ve added. They have had most of their touches in the same area, both get on the wrong side of each other. I would rather let Luiz Gustavo play next to Schweinsteiger, he’s much faster and more defensively-minded than Kroos who only (!) belongs in the offensive midfield. Schweinsteiger can play more offensively-minded as well when he’s got Luiz Gustavo on his side because he knows that Luiz Gustavo is backing him. Furthermore he doesn’t have to share the most important position in Heynckes’ system then and, as we all know, there can only be one quarterback.
4) The defense…
Even though Bayern has the best defense in the Bundesliga (together with Dortmund), they are pretty weak and insecure. They are often standing too high what isn’t in favor of their speed because, let’s be honest! The speed of Bayern’s defense is pretty limited compared to others. The speed isn’t their biggest issue though. That’s their organization. They don’t have anybody who can organize a defense! Badstuber and Boateng are both too young, van Buyten has never been organizing a defense since he has been in Munich and Lahm can’t organize either as full-back. It’d be beautiful if it was possible but it simply isn’t.
To the defense don’t only belong the back four but also the defensive midfield. Since Schweinsteiger’s injury last November, the defense conceded fifth as much goals as before his injury. This didn’t become better after his come back though.There was a lot of space between the defensive midfielders and their central backs what gave especially Gladbach many counter attacking opportunities which were actually converted in the end…
5) Their predictability…
In the beginning of the season, Jupp Heynckes’ tactics seemed to be really successful but after Schweinsteiger’s injury and the consequence of the loss of the most important player was that the balance in Bayern’s game got lost as well. The opponents could defend better against the Bavarians and there was a lack of creativity since Kroos had to play in the defensive midfield as replacement for Schweinsteiger. Thomas Müller who was playing for him in the offensive midfield wasn’t in form either and so nothing was working anymore. The problem is that Bayern’s tactics aren’t flexible at all. They can’t switch between many systems. While other teams can easily switch between a 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, Bayern can only play in their 4-2-3-1 and that makes them pretty predictable. So far, every single team Bayern had been playing in the second leg of the season just had to defend in a compact 4-4-2 with two strikers who were aggressively pressing forward and Bayern didn’t know what to do.
6) The transfer policy…
It was already obvious in the end of the first leg of the season but now it’s become even more obvious: Bayern needed new players! They don’t have any good back-ups for Robben or Ribery because Usami and Alaba are either too young, too unexperienced to be able to replace them in the Champions League if necessary. I won’t mention any players Bayern could have bought, it’s pointless and too late anyway. Bayern also needed a new central back who is able to organize a defense thanks to his experience but even after Daniel van Buyten’s injury against Gladbach, Nerlinger and Heynckes were too stingy to even look for a good replacement! A new striker wouldn’t have been that bad either since the manager doesn’t seem to fully trust in Olic’ abilities. But nothing happened, the manager and sports director didn’t even bother looking at the market to sign a great player who would have helped to win the triple without any problems.
In the end Bayern has too many problems that have to be solved too quickly. Important matches are going to take place in the upcoming weeks and Bayern will surely be struggling in the next matches as well. But I do trust in Heynckes and our squad and I’m sure that they will play an amazing rest of the season because they are able to solve all those problems, they just need to concentrate more and work harder and then Bayern will be the old Bayern again and perhaps win more than only the championship and the German cup… I do believe in it!
MIA SAN MIA!
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