Before the Bundesliga hit Leverkusen against FC Bayern, record national player Lothar Matthäus speaks about the dependencies and risks of the record champions, as well as deficits in king transfer Leroy Sané.
In the top Bundesliga game on the 13th match day, league leaders Bayer Leverkusen will receive record champions FC Bayern Munich this evening. Before that, Sky expert and Bayern insider Lothar Matthäus spoke in a t-online interview about the record champions’ dependence on Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer, deficits at Leroy Sané and the risky tactics of Hansi Flick.
t-online: Mr. Matthäus, before the Bundesliga top game at Bayer Leverkusen, FC Bayern is dependent on Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski, the new world goalkeeper and world footballer.
Photo series with 20 pictures
Lothar Matthäus (61): Every world-class team depends on different players, and these are the two: different players. They used to be called Franz Beckenbauer or Gerd Müller. FC Barcelona is dependent on Lionel Messi, Juventus Turin on Cristiano Ronaldo. It is correct to say that without Lewandowski and Neuer, FC Bayern would not be where it is now.
How is that expressed?
You are responsible for all crucial actions that contribute to success. One in front, the other in the back. One makes the decisive goals in the front, the other holds world class behind. The Wolfsburg game was just one example. There are many examples that reflect this. Both are irreplaceable. As a Sky expert, I’ve been saying that for years: anyone can drop out, but Neuer and Lewandowski cannot.
It was tight in Stuttgart, against Werder Bremen, at Union Berlin and also against VfL Wolfsburg. At the moment it looks as if Bayern are saving themselves for the mini winter break.
This is what distinguishes world-class teams: that they save their results. Like Borussia Dortmund, you are not back behind again. Bayern have been behind six times in a row, but have achieved three wins and three draws. Coming back again and again after a residue is a quality. Bayern Munich does an excellent job.
Also because Kingsley Coman delivers like never before in Munich?
Kingsley Coman is a very important part. In terms of quality, FC Bayern doesn’t have this broad squad. Everyone who came as newcomers in the summer is just sitting on the bench anyway. You haven’t brought in regular players. None of these players showed that they belong in the team.
Not even Leroy Sané? He was actually signed as a difference player and was considered a supposed new superstar in the Bundesliga.
I do not think so. Regular would mean that he has to get past Coman and Serge Gnabry. The hurdle is high. Sané was injured for a long time. He has to get used to the FC Bayern system, the high and aggressive pressing. He has deficits on the defensive anyway. He has to work on that. Pep Guardiola has already criticized Manchester City. That’s probably why he let him go, because Sané doesn’t work backwards as he imagines. Before he conceded a goal from Wolfsburg, he made a technical error. But he still has to learn about moving backwards. Gnabry and Coman have internalized that.
Leroy Sané in a Champions League game: The German national player has not yet prevailed at FC Bayern. (Source: ULMER Pressebildagentur / imago images)
In the 3: 3 against RB Leipzig he disappeared directly into the catacombs after his substitution, while Emil Forsberg, who had also been substituted, cheered on his colleagues from the stands on the RB side. Does Sané lack more maturity in such situations?
The process is certainly not over yet, although it has been around long enough. Actually. He handles his disappointments differently than other players. Sané knew that he hadn’t made a special game against RB Leipzig. Players process this differently. If someone is dissatisfied, you don’t want to have anything to do with them.
FCB President Herbert Hainer increased the pressure publicly. Maybe Sané is struggling with that?
I don’t think the pressure was any less in Manchester. From there he should be used to how to deal with great pressure. But he has not yet taken the next step. I wish it with all my heart and still give him protection because of his long injury.
What about David Alaba? After his failed contract negotiations he makes an inhibited impression and is often a step too late in defense. Isn’t he quite there?
Something like that does not pass a player without a trace. Before that, everything was peace, joy, pancakes. All the contract negotiations made Alaba hit the headlines, and not positively. I would have liked more instinct. David is the one to suffer. That’s not true when players say: “This will pass me by, I won’t read that and I don’t care.” You automatically get everything. It wouldn’t be normal for it to pass him by without a trace.
Who would you have liked more instinct from?
From both sides. It all fell on him. I don’t know if the Alaba side did itself a favor with advisor Pini Zahavi. I don’t know what promises were made. But we have Corona times, and the Alaba side must also take this into account. Alaba is valued in the club, by the teammates and the fans. So it would be nice if it wasn’t just about the money. It’s about the emotional connection. The Alaba side would do well to think about it. That it’s not always about the money.
Her Sky colleague Erik Meijer makes Bayern’s defensive weaknesses tied to the risky tactics. Six Bundesliga teams conceded fewer goals. Isn’t this tactic too risky against Leverkusen’s full-throttle footballers like Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby?
You have to find the balance. We have praised her for months for the offensive shift game, for the high pressing and the early ball conquests. To change everything now, to stand in the back, FC Bayern cannot do that. That doesn’t correspond to the DNA. The difficulties are due to tiredness because the pressing in the front no longer works as it did in June.
If Leverkusen wins, the team would be four points ahead of FC Bayern. Do you see the “Werkself” as a team that can stand up to Bayern until May?
If Leverkusen continues to work on the defensive as before, Bayer is sure to be a team that can play for the title. They have had the offensive in recent years, but problems on the defensive. These seem to have been adjusted.