Frankfurt 2-1 Bayern Munich: Five Things We Learn

Hansi Flick’s questionable tactics

The coach has to take some blame for this defeat, it’s not just about bad luck. First was the decision to bench Jamal Musiala for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, a choice that for most of the game cost Bayern on the offensive front. The subs were second. Though subbing for Marc Roca on Leon Goretzka helped turn the game around, Flick waited until the 80th minute to make another one, crushing every Bayern chance to stage a comeback.

At the very least, the Musiala sub should have arrived by the 60th minute, if not half the time. Flick will rue the opportunities that his squad missed, but questions will be raised as to why when Bayern was on the rise (after Lewando) he did not make more aggressive moves.

Leroy Sane’s bipolar performance

Sane was arguably the worst player on the pitch. Heavy touches, lazy defending, and almost no impact in the final third. In the second half, it was like someone had flipped a switch.

The German suddenly became one of the most lethal players on the pitch, dribbling past Eintracht’s defense like it wasn’t even there. His devastating dribbles in the buildup to Robert Lewandowski’s goal was Ribery esque — the defense stood no chance. Following that, he was seen sprinting back to the other end of the pitch, pressuring and dispossessing Kostic on the end of a counter.

This continued until he was subbed in the 90th minute. I have no clue which spirit possessed Sane at HT, or if he was just feeling sleepy before the break — but next time, Bayern will hope he shows that quality straight from kickoff.

Is David Alaba back?

One of the few players who can say he had a solid game on the night was David Alaba. The Austrian finally seems to be finding form these days, returning to the solid gameplay he was known for last season. Maybe, the fact that he’s clarified his situation at Bayern is helping him refocus himself on the pitch and bring the quality back to his game.

Hopefully, he continues his resurgence, because Bayern’s defense really needs it.

No Muller, no party

So it turns out that Bayern Munich really is Thomas Muller FC. Without der Raumdeuter in the middle, Hansi Flick’s carefully orchestrated tactical machine fell to pieces versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The pressing — the most critical aspect of this Bayern team — was miserable, unable to hinder Adi Hutter’s men in any way.

In the first half, the Bavarians were so disjointed and passive that Frankfurt had free reign to maraud up the pitch, especially down their left-hand side. Players like Kostic and Younes were never closed down like they should have been, instead of being given the space and time to wreak havoc on a hapless defense that was never built to take sustained pressure. Bayern defends by pressing. If that doesn’t work, then the whole system collapses. And without Muller, the pressing doesn’t work.

Lazio will be a nightmare

Bayern Munich now travel to Rome to face SS Lazio in the Champions League. Regardless of whether Thomas Muller makes the trip, this game will be a total nightmare. Bayern’s defense is in shambolic form at the moment, and conceding first almost feels like a foregone conclusion. After that, you just know that an Italian team has what it takes to frustrate Hansi Flick’s men on their turf.

If Hansi Flick wants a win on Tuesday, he needs to start making some changes. Jamal Musiala can’t be sitting on the bench when Thomas Muller is out. Bayern can’t wait until HT to show up to the game. The pressing needs a LOT of work. Defenders need to be on the same page.

Flick is out of time. If he can’t steady the ship now, Bayern Munich could go the season trophyless. It really is that kind of year.

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