Donnerstag, 9. September 2010

Bad? No, could be worse.

Sometimes, breaks come at precisely the required moment. When Bayern lost to in Kaiserslautern, I was really glad to be buggering off to Italy for a few days and not feel the urge to read the papers and what not. What was even better was the following Euro qualifiers which also directed attention away from this wretched game.

Anyway, let’s face the bugger.

Starting with the good things, maybe it was for the best that we get an early warning, because the display against Wolfsburg wasn’t that great either, but we walked away with three points. So I guess some of the players were thinking that it might as well work out by not doing too much except for keeping the ball and trying to shove it in front of the goals every once in a while. Well, if Thomas Müller had put it in the back of the net or just passed it across to Olic or Klose, then maybe that strategy could have sufficed… but, alas, he didn’t – and shortly after, Bayern saw themselves two goals down and one didn’t need too much imagination to see this game go down the way it eventually did.

Bad luck? Tired from the World Cup? Arrogance?

Maybe it’s all those things, but it most certainly was also down to a general lack of enthusiasm and willingness to bite back and take up the fight. When you think about it, a (newly promoted) side playing Bayern in front of a big home crowd should be expected to be out to destroy the visitors’ game and basically throw the kitchen-sink at them in terms of commitment, fighting spirit and what not. That this usually includes looking counter-attack isn’t such a secret, either, but it seemed that the Bayern squad was totally oblivious to that and they have to learn or think about these things again.

Worries? Reasons to panic and buy a couple of players?

No, most certainly not.

And why should we? There were definitely things the manager will have to mention, but I have no doubt that he will. And maybe it was just my fancy, but didn’t Müller rather pass the ball in the Euro qualifiers than have a go himself? Badstuber also seemed consolidated, just as well as Philip Lahm. Ok, granted, the opposition were Belgium and Azerbaijan, but they were still looking a lot better.

So what is to be expected from the next match against Bremen? Sod knows. And that’s for various reasons. It’s still not entirely clear how Arjen Robben is to be replaced. A viable solution would come in handy, as the Dutchman is very unlikely to play in a single match for the remainder of 2010, thank you very much. However, an alternative is quite urgent, because the team exhibited in the first two league games a tendency that we had hoped to have wiped out: give the ball to Franck and let’s just see what happens – something even Kaiserslautern can deal with, let alone Champions League oppositions.

So who should be in charge?

For starters, there’s Thomas Müller. He played that position during the World Cup and, in my opinion, should be able to do the job – certainly not in Robben-style (he’s too lanky for that), but in Müller-fashion, which would suit me equally well. Alternatively, there’s Toni Kroos, but his strength seems to be more in a central role behind the striker(s), but let’s not forget Hamit Altintop, who’s just had another great game for Turkey, scoring an absolute beauty of a goal against Belgium. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t see more of that here at Bayern. It would definitely be a relief to know that there is another decent right winger.

And up front? Well, it looks like Klose’s back in shape (and it only took him a year!) so there shouldn’t be too much trouble. The only trouble I really see are the back-ups. Olic is definitely not at 100% (as he impressively proved against Kaiserslautern) and God knows at which percentage Gomez is, but it can’t be too much.

So what to expect from our next match against Bremen? Sod knows.

You can even be too predictive about the opposition. On a good day, they tear you apart; on a bad day the same thing happens to them. One superficial advantage might be that Per Mertesacker is out injured (due to a very nasty elbow on Tuesday), but then again, he did not seem to make that much of a difference in the Werder defence, either.

As far as Bayern are concerned, the performances so far weren’t that bad, maybe a bit lacklustre, but it could be a lot worse; it could be so bad that you’re forced to spend money you don’t really have, obliging you to qualify for Europe (Champions League, if possible)... but we’re talking about Bayern here.

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