Bayern’s sensitive crash landing before the top game
FC Bayern deserved to lose their game in Leverkusen. Sports director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Julian Nagelsmann criticize the team harshly. The defeat comes at a bad time for the record champions.
Julian Nagelsmann has a problem in the coming days. The FC Bayern coach should have a lot to talk about, but no one with whom he can exchange information about what is happening. There won’t be much going on at the training ground on Säbener Strasse this week, most of the Munich players have traveled to their national teams to play international matches in the hot phase of the season. The 35-year-old will have a lot to deal with after Bayern’s disappointing 2-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen. The players who gave an astonishingly uninspired performance in the third defeat of the current Bundesliga season on Sunday evening are not within reach for him in the next eight days.
“Except for the last ten minutes, we were the worse team. There was little power on the field, we didn’t play well. So we deserved to lose,” said Nagelsmann in no uncertain terms. Due to the defeat, Bayern missed the leap to the top of the table and go into the top game on April 1 after the international break a point behind BVB. Not only because of the game against Dortmund, the defeat in Leverkusen comes at the wrong time for Bayern, it is a severe setback to times that were thought to have been forgotten. After weeks of unrest, in which the club bosses even had to back the young coach and affirm that he was up to the big task at Bayern, the club had finally found calm waters.
In the Bundesliga, after a bumpy start with three draws after the World Cup break, Bayern have recently won three in a row, and in the Champions League they celebrated two sovereign victories against Paris St. Germain with their superstars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé in the round of 16. But now the bloodless performance in Leverkusen, where Bayern let themselves be boiled over by hosts who were strong in combat. “We’re not where we’re supposed to be in the Bundesliga. We have to ask ourselves a few questions. After the break we have a real bang against Dortmund, of course we expected the starting position to be different,” said captain Thomas Müller.
Unlike Leverkusen, who won at Ferencvaros Budapest last Thursday and made it into the Europa League quarter-finals, the Munich team went into the game rested. Obviously too much. They hardly got into the duels and acted too slowly on the offensive. The Munich team did not want to accept the two strange penalties, which were only given after the video referee intervened, as an excuse.
“We missed everything. We let ourselves be overwhelmed by a team that was still playing in the Europa League on Thursday. Leverkusen was better in all respects,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic with the losers. Once in motion, the 46-year-old followed suit: “So little drive, so little mentality, so little duel and assertiveness – I’ve rarely experienced that.” Salihamidzic identified an attitude problem at Bayern.
Setting problem at FC Bayern
The passion against PSG and the sovereign victory against Augsburg was followed by the game in Leverkusen, where many probably thought that somehow that would be enough to win. This team is so good when they have 100 percent mentality right from the start. But this team is also not as good when they play as they are today: when they are lazy and think that their quality can do everything. She just can’t do that,” said Salihamidzic. There seems to be an underlying problem. The team doesn’t manage to keep the mentality and passion at a high level throughout the season. “We always had that. It had gotten better in the last few weeks, this pairing of emotion and quality. Today we were lazy. Defensively and offensively, some players had a zero percent quota. We were very weak in our own game presentation, ”said Nagelsmann.
The trainer has little time to shake his team awake before the top game against BVB. He won’t have his team together again until Thursday, two days before kick-off. The signs speak for Borussia, which travels to Munich with the euphoria of the highest win of the season (6:1 against Cologne) and a real run. While Bayern only won five out of ten Bundesliga games after the World Cup break, Dortmund scored 28 out of a possible 30 points in the same period. BVB converted a deficit of nine points into a lead of one point. Nagelsmann made no secret of how important the top game will be: “We definitely have to win against BVB, otherwise it will be difficult to win the championship.”
A defeat against Borussia and the restlessness would finally be back at Bayern. But in the past, Munich were usually at their strongest when the pressure was greatest. Like this season, when, after three games without a win, the DFB Cup round of 16 in Mainz was declared a fateful game and Bayern made short work of their opponents 4-0.
In addition, Dortmund have become their favorite opponents in recent years. The Nagelsmann team has won seven of the last eight meetings against BVB, the last defeat so far was in 2018. To avoid the next one, Nagelsmann will at least work with the few professionals present in the coming days: “The few players, who are there are being trained. And from Wednesday we will prepare.”