Nobody would have expected Bayern to be eliminated in the second round of the DFB Cup. But the embarrassment against Kiel did not come out of nowhere. Coach Hansi Flick now has to make a decision.
Elimination on penalties is often associated with terms such as “bad luck” and “coincidence”. In the case of Bayern Munich and yesterday’s defeat against the second division Holstein Kiel however, such terms would fall short. For weeks, Bayern’s results have been downhill, the defeat against Kiel was almost an inevitability.
Although the German record champions led for a long time, he never dominated the game against an individually clearly inferior opponent as one is used to from Bayern. In the 4-2-3-1 basic formation preferred by Flick, it was mainly the central defenders who boosted Bayern’s offensive game and, as in the 2: 3 against Borussia Monchengladbach last Friday, the pressing of the opponent regularly played through.
Photo series with 12 pictures
Jonas Hofmann (left) was one of the beneficiaries of Bayern’s problems. (Source: Poolfoto / imago images)
But in midfield and attack, Bayern did not exude the punch that would have led to enough scoring chances in other times to bring about the decision when the score was 2-1. Instead, the Kielers, who are known for their good positional play, stayed in the game until stoppage time.
Susceptibility to long balls is not new
The current Bayern misery may at first glance seem like a defensive misery, because the team from Hansi Flick conceded too many goals on paper. But if you take a closer look, it becomes clear that the defensive performance of the Munich team has not really changed much. Even in the time up to the Christmas break and even in the preseason, it became clear that the Bayern defense is not stable, especially in the final defense.
It is no longer news that it can be levered out by a simple long ball – or in this case even a kind of press blow, as in the 1: 1 of Kiel. The high level of defense paired with constant personnel changes and sometimes individual tactical mistakes have made the team vulnerable for a long time and not only for a few weeks.
The offensive luck subsides
By the short Christmas break, Flick’s team had conceded 19 goals and were therefore on par in this category Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart as well as significantly worse than RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. What Bayern mostly saved was offensive productivity.
In the recently on t-online published statistical analysis of the Bundesliga however, it was explained that the record champions were also very lucky when they finished on goal. We now know from the past that phases of luck and bad luck usually balance each other out during a season. It looks like that at the moment.
Flick before a tricky question
Of course, Bayern were able to score two goals each against Mönchengladbach and Kiel, but there were also long stretches during these games in which they did not make a decisive contribution to the opposing goal. In Mönchengladbach, what was actually to be expected, the race to catch up fell completely flat when they were 2: 3 behind.
For Flick the question now arises as to how he would like to solve the current misery: Will he let his players defend more conservatively in the future in order to defuse the danger of long balls? Or will he instead try to generate more offensive penetration again through an even riskier approach to the game?