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Mistaken grimace against cheeky face: FC Bayern’s strange two faces

Bayern initially averted a Champions League cracker deficit against Barcelona. But then the record holder suddenly presented his courageous face. Where is the doctor? Just take Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there?

The 75,000 spectators at the Allianz Arena in Munich, accustomed to success, have a lot to offer in the Champions League clash with Barcelona on Tuesday night. Much more than usual. Not only do you see their Bayern win 2-0 (0-0), but two games in one, and face two record holders who have shaped this season. Upon closer inspection, these combinations look quite bizarre.

Don’t rejoice at the German record holders for face and game number 1, the first 45 minutes. But due to the fact that Robert Lewandowski & Co. fails to convert a lot of chances into a goal, after the break, a wild duel number 2 begins. And they like this Bavarian face in Munich. FKB, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of German Football.

Because there is Bayern, which, upset against Barcelona, ​​scatters balls in their own half of the field. Who makes terrible bad passes and sometimes swims so much that the opponent gets better chances to score. For example, when after a good ten minutes the game leaned more and more towards Barcelona at breakneck speed, it was Lewandowski who missed the best moments.

Ball artist without ideas

Offensive in game #1 on Tuesday night also wears this flawed look. In the first half, Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane and birthday boy Thomas Müller lacked strength and determination on the pitch. Bayern combine well up to sixteen, but then the attacks fade. Talented ball masters can think of little, in the penalty area and in the penalty area they push the ball towards each other. Müller looks back at his teammates so often that he can’t look at the net at all. Maybe he’s looking for his old colleague Lewandowski? The scheme is this: one more pass, one more turn – but a direct, direct conclusion does not jump out of this. Where are the ideas, where is the necessary dominance, where is the danger?

Manuel Neuer made the same grimace when, in the 14th minute of the game, he sent the ball right into Lewandowski’s foot and only thanks to great luck did not make the score 0:1. Lucas Hernandez too when Lewandowski tricked him in an aerial duel (21st minute). The same applies to the midfield, which Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Co. can boil down in the first half and run after them. “We were lucky in the situations that Barça had in the first half,” Neuer admitted after the game. Bayern President Herbert Hainer says: “Barcelona gave us a big problem for 45 minutes.”

At the moment, it seems that Julian Nagelsmann, after a mini-crisis in the league, will not be able to understand what it takes from his team, which is worth hundreds of millions of euros, to win such top games. in the Champions League too. In the first game, the coach fails to find the right tactical moves to counter Barcelona’s compact defence.

Own claims not yet satisfied

Bayern threatens to slide into a serious crisis. Because the problem is not only in these minutes in the game with the Catalans. There are also three straight draws in the Bundesliga – at least statistically they mean the worst start to a season in a century (twelve years, in fact) – and the brawls that are said to keep happening internally. Although they are near the top of the table with twelve points and have won the premier class at Inter Milan, the performances of the last few weeks have not been enough for Munich’s demands, for the Mia san Mia feeling.

Bayern’s squad this season is deep and wide, and the competition is fierce. Before every game, Nagelsmann has to make tough personal decisions. They loudly criticize that the head coach will be overloaded and there will not be enough people to catch and understand this situation. “Of course, the coach has to satisfy many,” said sports director Hasan Salihamidzic on Sunday during the Sport1 double pass. Nagelsmann is currently developing this “instinct”: “He just finds his style. He’s never had a team like this before.”

The style of the coach is increasingly not liked by the fans. Fans accuse Nagelsmann of looking negative with a too big mouth, putting himself in front of the team too little, and not being empathetic and down to earth enough. Early players should also be wondering how Nagelsmann works. Like, dissatisfaction in the detachment is growing, some professionals are dissatisfied with their (too short in their opinion) terms of deployment. In the final PK ahead of the Barcelona clash on Monday, the head coach is already revealing that Marcel Sabitzer will start alongside Joshua Kimmich in defensive midfield from the start. Comebacker Leon Goretzka (who fell out long after knee surgery) is said not to have felt well at all. His demands for more playing time are said to have annoyed other top players.

“All these supposed problems in the dressing room, that’s the way it is,” Goretzka said after the game and made it clear: “We all get along great as a team.” But the first 45 minutes, the flawed face of Bayern, they play into the hands of these critics. By the break in the group game in Munich, one thing is clear: Barça need not only another second-half victory, but also a convincing performance for the fans and self-esteem. And luckily for the Allianz Arena, this is the story of a doctor. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. That’s why there’s Game 2, which sees the record-breaking champions push their way out of mini-crisis in spectacular fashion.

Unsurpassed powerful football

With a determined face in the second 45 minutes against the team of ex-superstar Xavi, Bayern showed what they are really capable of. With a face like that, the record-breaking champions swept RB Leipzig off the field in the Supercup and overtook the league at the start of the season. Now Barcelona will have to believe it. Substitute Goretzka catches on to his bench press frustration with a throw from the second row and pulls unhappily. Marc-André ter Stegen deflected the Munich’s first real shot on goal, ducking for a corner. Hernandez can head a subsequent corner from Kimmich to make it 1-0 (50 minutes).

And with this new look, the Munich team unexpectedly opened up space: after a beautiful pass from Jamal Musiala, Sane rushed through the entire Barça defense chain, ran alone to ter Stegen and pushed past the goalkeeper in an icy tone into the goal (54th place). . It looks like FC Bayern can beat anyone in this fast-paced, variable strength football. “Who the hell is Barcelona?” chanted Bayern fans, likely referring to Frankfurt President Peter Fischer, who drew attention with the “Who the hell is Mane” statement before the first matchday.

“If we play more aggressively and use the right balls, we’ll get space,” Sane said after the game. Bayern are now much more focused in their actions. In midfield, they tackle the ball aggressively and go straight to the finish line. Musiala misses twice and Goretzka is blocked, but the will is there. Nagelsmann seems to have delivered his speech correctly during the break.

“We came out of the dressing room well and wanted to win more than Barcelona,” Neuer says of the change of visa at half-time. “The second half we played more confidently and boldly.” Oliver Kahn also recognizes these two faces: “Everyone put their heart into it in the second half,” says the CEO. “You’ve seen what we can do.”

Goretzka brings fire

This courageous and energetic face with a bold, forward-looking gaze means an increase in productivity. Eyes wide open and clearly focused on success. This evening he mainly carries the motor of Goretzka’s midfield. He brings fire and directness to the game that Bayern lacked in the first half. Like a berserker, he cuts through the midfield, tackles the balls, consistently gets things done – and sometimes rams one of the (usually weaker) opponents. In the upcoming games, he should not appear on the bench so often.

The success over Barcelona should be attributed to Bayern. Blaugrana are currently in good shape and went to the Allianz Arena with a winning streak and big breasts. However, Barça have yet to win a competitive game in Munich and have a poor record (2-8 wins, one draw, the last Catalan win dates back to 2015) against Bayern. By winning this classic premier match (before the game, Bayern and Barça were third and second in the all-time Champions League table with 159 wins each, only Real Madrid had even more success with 175), Bayern ‘ not only took over the sole leader in the group, but also make a small step towards the playoffs.

But now it is important for the record holder to figure out how to get rid of his two-faced nature. This will be the most important task for Nagelmann and his coaching team in the coming weeks. At the latest in the Champions League round of 16, his club needs this bold, strong and manly face, and only the second of two games on Tuesday night. On the other hand, if Bayern’s rivals meet a crippled grimace, the trip across Europe could end as quickly as it has in the past two years.

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