Coach Thomas Tuchel cannot offer any convincing explanations after the 5-1 defeat in Frankfurt. It becomes clear why he pushed to sign a defensive midfielder before the start of the season.
The match may be more than just a defeat, it may be a warning sign. Four years ago, in November 2019, Bayern Munich lost 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt. Jerome Boateng, Munich midfielder, saw the red card. What followed was a complete collapse. Coach Niko Kovac, who has already been counted out, is no longer able to remain in his position.
On Saturday, Bayern lost to Eintracht by the same score. Only there was no sending off for Munich, and they had to accept their heaviest Bundesliga defeat since they showed up in Frankfurt at full strength. Coach Thomas Tuchel found himself in need of an explanation; What happened before his eyes seemed incomprehensible to him. He did not condone the defeat in any way: the team’s performance was “insufficient” and he and the technical staff had a role in that.
Captain Manuel Neuer was not without mistakes either
Statistics showed that Bayern is the most active team. But Frankfurt excelled in all the decisive scenes and exploited every weakness in the Munich team. There were quite a few of them. It really starts with explaining the opponent’s formation.
It appears that Tuchel misinterpreted the referee’s paper, which was delivered to the coaches an hour before the start of the match. Eintracht was expected to have a four-man formation, but the document indicated to the coach that it was a five-man formation, which is why he explained this alternative to his team. Tuchel believes this is a fallacy with consequences: “Maybe that led us to give out too much information. Maybe that was a piece of the puzzle.”
You can’t help but ask yourself what kind of professionals Tuchel is dealing with: they are a group of world-class players, experienced at the highest level, and experienced in all competitions. Could such a team bother to briefly discuss an unusual variant as an alternative?
🗣️ Thomas Muller: “You have to congratulate Frankfurt, they definitely deserved the win. There must be a reaction, the anger engine must start, but we must not lose our heads. We will fight and come back, but we do not have much time.” pic.twitter.com/D8eC3yj2rx
– Bayern Munich (@FCBayern) December 10, 2023
The coach’s search for reasons could actually point to a very different circumstance: Tuchel is at a loss – and perhaps needs to realize that Bayern’s cup defeat to third-tier Saarbrücken was not the exceptional case he portrayed it as. Then his team played brilliantly against Dortmund and literally defeated BVB 4-0 at the Westfalenstadion.
It’s just that matches against the eternal runner-up don’t have much importance. Bayern usually leave the field victorious, no matter how impressive their opponents are beforehand. Tuchel summed up his team’s current mood quite calmly: “We play professional football, so no one needs a hug after a 5-1 defeat. The state of mind is more angry than sad.”
The team received an “unsatisfactory” grade, which the coach gave to himself and the Bayern team. Captain Manuel Neuer, who the coach was very happy to have back, also fit into the team structure with his performance that day; He let two non-dangerous balls cross the goal line. Even “a completely new level of goalkeeping” – this is how Tuchel described the impressions he got from Neuer – does not come without mistakes.
Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt has the ability to calm the defense, but he has been absent for weeks
What is particularly worrying is the scale of the defeat. A team of this stature cannot allow itself to be outdone, especially by a competitor like Frankfurt, which was suffering from major problems until Bayern arrived.
Naturally, Tuchel can cite one or two shortcomings to exonerate himself. Defensive stability cannot be achieved if the formation is constantly disrupted by injuries. This is especially true due to the loss of Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutchman has the ability to calm the defence, but he has been absent for weeks.
Against this backdrop, it becomes clear why Tuchel pushed to sign a defensive midfielder before the start of the season, which the coach stubbornly referred to in modern terms as “grabbing six”. Bayern were prepared to spend a lot of money on Portuguese Joao Palinha from Fulham, but the move failed a few hours before the end of the transfer window due to the objection of the unwilling Premier League club.
ℹ️ Serge Gnabry will be absent for the time being due to a hamstring injury.
Get well soon, Serge!
– Bayern Munich (@FCBayern) December 10, 2023
Kimmich and Goretzka offer poor protection
Anyone who watched Bayern’s match against Frankfurt could have guessed how much they needed such a player to protect their very attacking midfield. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka cannot do this together, nor could they cope with this task in the German national team. Bayern’s problems extend far beyond their club.
However, the priority should not be to sign a defensive midfielder, but rather a central defender who meets the highest standards. For this purpose, it is said that Uruguayan Ronald Arajo, who manages Barcelona’s defence, has been contacted. Tuchel refused to comment on this matter.
There are some signs of a turbulent winter break in Munich. Where Bayern will go is currently uncertain. The only thing that can be certain is that the restoration of Bavarian hegemony is likely to be much more costly than expected.
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