Connect with us


FC Bayern Munich – Theses after the 2-0 win against Hertha BSC: Thomas Tuchel plays with fire



Bayern Munich, Bundesliga

FC Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win against Hertha BSC reveals a big problem for Munich, coach Thomas Tuchel could have opened a keg that he would find difficult to close again. And: A midfielder could face difficult times. Three theses on the game.

The facts are obvious, the math is easy now that the season is slowly getting overripe: Four wins from the last four games and FC Bayern Munich are definitely German champions for the eleventh time in a row.

Thomas Müller’s short appearance in the mixed zone after the 2-0 win over bottom-placed Hertha BSC would not have been necessary to substantiate the facts.

“There simmer again! We’ll get the thing! You can write that!” exclaimed Müller without a trace of irony.

Of course, in more normal times, Müller’s three short sets of exclamation marks would have been just as unnecessary and comical, but for very different reasons. But what is currently normal at FC Bayern?

On Sunday, Müller’s appearance again underpinned the question of how unsettled the team of a perhaps eleven-time series champion can be when an extremely tedious and completely lackluster 2-0 win against a very likely relegated team has to serve as a chest release.

Three theses on the victory of Munich against Hertha BSC.

FC Bayern: The self-dwarfing has progressed alarmingly

Yes, FC Bayern may have gained the decisive advantage in the snail race for the championship trophy by beating Hertha, which is likely to be relegated, and thanks to the friendly help of BVB and the team of referees in Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw at VfL Bochum.

Yes, Bayern didn’t do Hertha the favor of opening up space for counterattacks at some point. And yes, Munich remained, as specified and desired by coach Thomas Tuchel, “calm and disciplined” against the very deep Berliners in the “absolute patience game”, as Joshua Kimmich said. The midfielder even praised his team for a “more mature performance than in recent weeks”. At some point the team would have “lost its head a little bit”, would have started to “take a risk where no risk would have been appropriate” and made mistakes.

“I didn’t think it was that bad in terms of play today. We didn’t create chance after chance, but the control was there, we didn’t allow any stupid set pieces, we didn’t concede any counterattacks. I was rather surprised that we had the ability to be patient stay,” added Kimmich.

To mention these circumstances and improvements is absolutely legitimate for coaches and players. But of course that is just as little Bayern-like as the current, often completely unimaginative and aimless playing style of the German record champions.

If under Tuchel’s pre-pre-predecessor Niko Kovac one sometimes had the impression that the coach of an intact world-class team took the joy out of the game and slowed it down by letting them play underdog football, the team seems to have undergone a remarkable process of self-dwarfing this calendar year to have gotten behind.

Almost since he took office, Tuchel seems to have been mainly concerned with teaching the players the football 1×1 and somehow convincing players who could do much more. “We’re not bursting with lightness and self-confidence. We did well for that. “The rhythm and lightness came back with the second goal at the latest,” said Tuchel on Sunday. You can’t expect more at the moment.

FC Bayern: Tuchel plays with fire

The problem isn’t that Thomas Müller didn’t play against Hertha BSC at first or that Thomas Müller only came off the bench twice against Manchester City in the Champions League.

Tuchel has been in the business long enough and is sensitive enough to be able to correctly assess whether it really is “no problem at all” to deal with Müller because he is “top, top, top professional and super emotional”. And yet, Tuchel’s reasoning for initially putting Müller on the bench against Hertha made one sit up and take notice. She indicated that the attacker might have to get used to the joker role.

Although Tuchel sent in advance that the 33-year-old had back problems “all the time”, would probably not train on Monday either and would need two days of care (by the way, a circumstance that neither Tuchel nor Müller had ever discussed before). But Tuchel also said: “I wanted to keep the option open of playing the last 30 minutes with Thomas if we needed someone who had the experience and a nose and who didn’t lose confidence because it was just 0-0 standings.”

Müller as a super joker? At least half worked against Hertha. When Müller came, it was still 0-0, but the original Bavarian was not involved in either of the two goals and found it relatively difficult to get into the game.

Anyway: So far, Müller has survived every coach who shook his status as a constant player at Bayern. “Other coaches in Munich have already failed because of Thomas Müller,” said record national player Lothar Matthäus recently a little more drastically. In fact, neither Carlo Ancelotti, nor Niko Kovac and most recently Julian Nagelsmann were there long after Müller had stopped being on the pitch from the start of every game.

In contrast to his predecessors, Tuchel openly includes Müller in his tactical considerations, asks the 2014 world champion for advice and has no problem talking about it publicly. One certainly cannot accuse Tuchel of dismantling Müller in any way. And Müller actually seems to be dealing with the situation (see above) as constructively as possible.

Nevertheless: The personnel is at least a political issue at FC Bayern. And Tuchel could just open a barrel that he may find difficult to close again.

Especially since Müller’s competitors for the four posts on the offensive are not fully at the level of their creativity. Tuchel is correct in his assessment that Müller is at his best when he can play around a centre-forward. However, the coach has also had Sadio Mané or Serge Gnabry play in the center of the attack with limited success, although the two are primarily wingers.

The fact that Tuchel, of all people, is putting the thumbscrews on Müller, the most unconventional but tactically disciplined free spirit among the Bavarian free spirits, at this stage of the season at least raises questions. And will become a mega topic at the latest if Bayern miss the championship.

FCB: Leon Goretzka could watch the end of the season from the bench

Leon Goretzka has been more of a problem than part of the solution at FC Bayern Munich for weeks, and the midfielder couldn’t change that in the game against Berlin. On the contrary. After a tactical foul that was not absolutely necessary during a first half that was weak by his standards, Tuchel replaced him early on in the break.

His representative Ryan Gravenberch took the chance, stabilized the midfield and showed that he has what it takes to become a Tuchel midfielder. The 20-year-old played more and more precise passes in 30 minutes than Goretzka in one half, was at least equal in all relevant statistics and was explicitly praised by Tuchel after the game.

Leon Goretzka vs Ryan Gravemberch: match data against Hertha BSC

Data Leon Goretzka Ryan Gravenberch
minutes 45 30
Passes played 28 35
Successful passes % 78.6 94.3
shots on goal 1 (1) 1 (1)
duels (won) 4 (2) 1 (1)
ball wins/ball losses 1/7 1/2

It speaks for Goretzka that he asks himself after every game and has never refused to answer uncomfortable questions in the mixed zone. He is honored that when he stated that players “are completely destroyed by the media”, he primarily acted as an advocate for the alleged media victims and took himself out of the victim role. “One or the other has gotten a bit more in the last few weeks. We’ll give the answers on the pitch. Otherwise it’s no good anyway, we’ve all learned that by now,” he said.

But Goretzka will not be able to answer his modest performance against Hertha on matchday 31 at Werder Bremen – he will be missing there because of a yellow card suspension. Gravenberch’s big chance to get stuck?