After the 1-0 win against SC Freiburg, Thomas Tuchel is satisfied with FC Bayern Munich’s offensive – because he has to. From his words it can also be seen that he would have wished for something else before the duel with Manchester City in the Champions League. What is going well in FCB’s attack and what is not? An analysis.
“The last pinch of salt was missing last Tuesday,” said Thomas Tuchel sky After his team’s 1-0 win at SC Freiburg, he initially looked back at being eliminated from the DFB Cup: “We definitely did today.” Head chef Tuchel still has to make sure in Munich that the offensive of the record champions gets a taste for it again.
“A bit of precision, a bit of calm in the end, maybe every single striker is missing a sense of achievement,” said the 49-year-old, describing the ingredients for this. In Freiburg, Bayern managed to score 22 degrees and 3.04 expected goals. However, it was only enough for one goal again.
A problem that Julian Nagelsmann also had before. “Of course we would have liked our strikers to score, because that helps them more than anything else, but today the positives clearly outweigh the negative ones,” explained Tuchel: “That we had the chances and that we got the three points in the end .”
But what exactly is really positive about the offensive game? And what needs to be improved before the Champions League cracker against Manchester City?
FC Bayern Munich: Strong right side
If Tuchel records positive scenes again before the first leg, then many of them will probably take place on the right wing. Leroy Sané and Thomas Müller are currently at home there. With João Cancelo, a strong attacking full-back was added in Freiburg. Especially in the first 20 minutes, the Munich team combined several times over this side and in the further course of the game it was mainly Müller and Sané who made offers between the lines.
The latter collected 62 ball contacts, more than any other Bayern player on offense. Again and again he turned up quickly and picked up speed in the direction of the Freiburg defense. His dribbles from the outside in and the quick combinations with Müller or Gnabry often put the sports club’s defense under pressure.
Not every move by the winger was a success, but Sané is currently Bayern’s most dangerous offensive player. He created two big chances and initiated several other good opportunities. Cancelo also recommended himself for another assignment, at least offensively, because with short dribbles and good positioning he ensured that Freiburg did not get access to this part of Bayern’s offensive.
FC Bayern Munich: left side weaker – Mané continues without luck
On the other side, too, there were good approaches – but often nothing more. Alphonso Davies initiated some attacks and especially switching situations with his runs and dribbles, but the combination game got stuck there much more often.
That was also due to Sadio Mané, who didn’t want to do much again overall. The Senegalese had his actions, for example missed two big chances. But when Tuchel speaks of a lack of success, he should have meant him above all. Mané was conspicuously at odds with himself and his lack of luck in the game.
In the first half of the season, Mané was one of the few constants in an often wild offensive. Without having the really big highlights, he delivered reliable, stable performances. At the moment he is unable to do this. After the cup game, the 30-year-old promised he would soon be the player he was at Liverpool. Before the upcoming tasks, Bayern could use this Mané well.
FC Bayern Munich: More patience, but also more depth
After Tuchel kept asking his players to be more calm on his debut against Borussia Dortmund, he should now be a little happier. Although it was 0-0 for a long time and Freiburg could have happily taken the lead, Bayern remained calm and patient.
They let the ball run. That was also the case in the cup game against SC. The line between calm and lack of ideas is thin. In the second duel with the Freiburgers, Bayern moved more offensively and thus provided depth – but without playing every run. This keeps the opponent moving and creates gaps.
Under Nagelsmann the game was still very vertical, very risky. It seems like Tuchel is minimizing the risk a bit. And that has defensive advantages. Bayern is better at counter-pressing again and can defend counterattacks because they are good when they lose the ball. But the Munich team also benefit offensively from a more structured appearance. In the center they were much more secure with the ball than they were last Tuesday.
Although it took a dream goal from Matthijs de Ligt this time, the chances for more goals were there. The coach was able to create good tactical conditions for the players to clearly win this game.
FC Bayern Munich: Gnabry is looking for his form – the debate on nine remains
When it comes to the offensive, Tuchel will not simply be able to wipe away the question of a real nine. He was able to integrate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting well, but the Cameroonian is not a classic goalscorer. His outstanding quota in the first half of the season was the exception rather than the rule. He also doesn’t show up in good finishing positions as often as other centre-forwards.
Choupo-Moting was now missing in Freiburg and so Tuchel nominally tried Serge Gnabry. The 27-year-old played well and covered a lot of ground. But he’s not a top scorer either, at least not at the moment. Unlike Mané, Gnabry’s shape curve is going up again in many areas. Also in the international break, he showed an appealing performance with the DFB team.
But most of his degrees don’t want to go in at the moment. At the weekend he failed first at the goalkeeper and later at the post. From his profile, he could definitely close the goal scorer gap that FC Bayern has. Only there is the old song about the lack of consistency.
Bayern Munich: Jamal Musiala or Leon Goretzka?
There was a time when there was a discussion in Munich about whether Jamal Musiala or Thomas Müller should play. It is quite possible that Tuchel’s calmer approach will postpone the debate very soon. Musiala and Müller played in Freiburg. But Leon Goretzka sat on the bench. In the cup it was the other way around.
Goretzka only had 41 ball contacts in 79 minutes on Tuesday, Musiala had 61 in 68 minutes. The 20-year-old’s presence had a positive influence on Joshua Kimmich, who Freiburg couldn’t take out of the game as well as during the week. Kimmich had 106 contacts, created a great chance and initiated many attacks with chip balls or line-breaking passes. His pass rate was around ten percent better than in the first duel with Freiburg. That also helps the offensive enormously because Kimmich’s output makes the game more variable.
In the long run, Musiala could be the partner in midfield who relieves him. On the other hand, the trained offensive player is not as robust as Goretzka, who has his qualities in defense and in pressing. It will probably also depend on the respective opponent whether Tuchel will decide in favor of one or the other variant in the future.
FC Bayern Munich: Good transition situations, bad decision-making
With a view to the duels with Manchester City, Tuchel will certainly show one or the other change situation of Bayern. Because ball possession values above 60 percent are unlikely against Pep Guardiola’s team and so it will also be important for Munich to use counterattacks.
They showed that they can do that against BVB and now again against Freiburg. Dortmund were surprised that they were countered in a classic way and on Saturday, for example, Sané had a great chance to make it 2-0 in the final phase when Bayern played a ball win in their own half almost perfectly. Sané, Davies, but also Kingsley Coman, who was rested in Freiburg, are theoretically predestined for a good counterattack. The Bayern offensive has plenty of pace.
In practice, however, they usually make too little of these situations. Sané at least completed the counterattack described, Bayern frittered away some other scenes well before that. Decision-making and precision are often not right in the counterattacks.
And so head chef Tuchel has to look in the recipe book again before Tuesday. At Manchester City, on the one hand, their players won’t get as many chances and, on the other hand, the Skyblues will be able to punish carelessness. A pinch of salt will probably not be enough.
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