Draw at home against Ajax, a total of three games without a win in a row: The Bavarians are alarmed and look in vain for explanations for the once again desolate performance. Coach Niko Kovac also seems perplexed.
And then Louis van Gaal also made his appearance. The man who was Bayern coach from 2009 to 2011 and had problems with Uli Hoeneß again and again during this time. Van Gaal was asked how his reunion with the Bavarian President had been on the way out of the stadium. “Very warm, I hugged him,” said the 67-year-old with a smile and pushed afterwards: “The fact that we couldn’t be together at the time was good, that’s life.”
Before that, Hoeneß had sneaked through the cabin wing with a petrified face. However, this was less due to the encounter with the Dutchman van Gaal, who can be quite complicated in his dealings due to his enormous self-confidence. No, the club boss could get over this meeting. What Hoeneß could not bear was the desolate performance of FC Bayern on this dreary Tuesday evening.
“A happy draw”
The only good thing about the 1-1 draw against Ajax Amsterdam was that the Munich team had not lost the game and had saved at least one point. “A lucky draw”, Joshua Kimmich said later, and coach Niko Kovac also spoke of a “won point”.
Otherwise there was helplessness, even bewilderment. Almost in a state of shock, the players and those in charge were looking for explanations. In vain. The Bavarians don’t know themselves any more. They have become strangers to each other.
Joshua Kimmich Honours
- Bundesliga: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
- DFB-Pokal: 2015–16
- DFL-Supercup: 2016, 2017, 2018
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship: 2014
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 2017
- UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2016
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI: 2016
- Germany national team Player of the Year: 2017
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2017–18
- FIFA FIFPro World XI 3rd team: 2018
Ten days earlier, the German record champion had still won confidently on Schalke. 2:0, the seventh victory in the seventh compulsory game, the Bavarians could hardly run before strength any more. In comparison, they are limping now. After the 1:1 against Augsburg, the 0:2 in Berlin and now the failed home debut in the Champions League, the alarm mood is gradually coming up in Munich.
Even the players themselves did not understand why they had given away the match after the header goal by Mats Hummels after four minutes. There were times when such an early lead was the decision. The FCB then played the game to a loose end: 3:0, 4:0, a victory in the slow gait. It is all the more inexplicable that the team suddenly became shaky against Ajax and lost its dominance after 15 minutes.
The equalizer was foreseeable
“We had everything under control”, Captain Manuel Neuer said later, “and then we let Ajax play all at once”. Nothing worked anymore. Especially the defensive chain of four seemed unsettled. Coordination problems and position mistakes led to the foreseeable equalisation after 22 minutes by Noussair Mazraoui. Also in the build-up worked little, especially the passes of Jérôme Boateng, whose two mistakes on Friday had contributed to the 0:2 in Berlin, arrived only rarely. And also midfield and storm were indisposed until not present. “We had few ideas,” said Kimmich, “and when we had chances, they came out of nowhere.”
It was also worrying that the Munich game after the break was just as haphazard as before. There was no sign of a jerk that went through the team in the cabin. “You talk about things you can do better in the half-time,” Arjen Robben said angrily. “And then we continue to play just as well. To be more knowledgeable about Spinit Casino, read them here.
In the end, the host could be happy that Donny van de Beek missed the goal free-standing (72.). And that Neuer had a free kick from Lasse Schöne in injury time to the crossbar. “We slipped into this situation creepingly,” said Thomas Müller, “now we have to get out of there very quickly.”
Kovac: “Maybe everything was a bit too easy”.
And what’s Niko Kovac’s cut? The coach seemed rather helpless: “Maybe everything was a bit too easy,” he said in retrospect of the first seven games. “That’s not how I imagined it. I know what the hour has brought.” The new Bayern coach must at least ask himself whether he didn’t exaggerate the rotation. Not a single time has the same starting eleven been on the pitch in two consecutive games. He also repositioned the defence every time.
Experts like Jürgen Kohler had already voiced criticism on the weekend. “It’s too much rotation for me,” said the 1990 world champion, “especially in a defensive alliance, the positions have to be attuned to each other, you have to tune in with the other. The time for experiments should be over for Kovac. Now he is facing his first really tough test in Munich: he has to give the players security and faith back. Just a hint of van Gaal’s own self-confidence, and the Bavarians would be unbeatable again.
On Saturday Gladbach comes to Munich. The last game before the international break is a very important one for the Bavarians. And for Kovac. It’s still just rumbling, nobody is yet openly talking about a crisis in Munich. But if the Bavarians don’t win on Saturday either, things will get restless.