Can Bayern repair their defensive woes earlier than it prices them extra trophies?

Can Bayern repair their defensive woes earlier than it prices them extra trophies?

Forward of his stay commentary on Bayern vs. Freiburg on Sunday for the Bundesliga’s world feed and on Football4cast+ (9:30 am ET within the U.S.), Derek Rae says the Bavarians are struggling a defensive disaster and face extremely harmful opponents. Wednesday’s DFB Pokal exit to second-tier aspect Holstein Kiel solely exacerbated their woes on the again. Here is what to observe for forward of Sunday’s conflict.

The alarm bells are sounding at Bayern Munich’s Sabener Strasse headquarters. Granted, you would possibly discover {that a} unusual factor to say about one of the best membership on the earth, on the proof of their stellar 2020 Treble-winning season, and the Bundesliga leaders (by two factors) after 15 matchdays.

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But the case for the Bayern defence will get ever wobblier with every passing week. A lot had been manufactured from the Rekordmeister conceding the primary objective in eight straight Bundesliga affairs. Now, to be truthful, these early jolts to the system served solely to spark Hansi Flick’s team into motion, as they ended up successful 5 occasions from these dropping positions and drawing the opposite three.

Nevertheless, final Friday’s 3-2 collapse at Borussia Monchengladbach painted a special and extra regarding image with regards to Bayern’s glass jaw. That they established a snug 2-Zero lead earlier than throwing it away, into the Niederrhein evening, and dropping the sport, revealed extra deficiencies.

The midweek DFB-Pokal marathon at second-tier Holstein Kiel, during which the guests have been taken to further time after which eradicated on penalties, was extra trigger for fear amongst Bayern followers. It was the primary time since 2004 {that a} non-Bundesliga aspect had knocked them out of the German Cup competitors.

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To be blunt, Flick is quick attending to the stage of not with the ability to belief any of his again 4 choices. Towards Gladbach, probably the most grievous errors have been dedicated by Niklas Sule, who had the form of evening he’ll shortly need to airbrush from historical past. Sule was left standing and watching even going again to the primary two targets by the Fohlenelf, exposing suspect positional play, earlier than giving the ball away cheaply to Jonas Hofmann, who arrange Florian Neuhaus for Gladbach’s winner.

Sarcastically, Sule had come on as halftime substitute within the earlier 5-2 comeback win over Mainz to solidify issues; he even contributed that evening on the scoring entrance. However that’s Bayern’s downside in a nutshell. Each week, it appears, somebody on the again has a nightmare, forcing others larger up the pitch to go above and past.

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Kasey Keller questions if Bayern’s defence is suited to enjoying a excessive line after giving up 24 targets in 15 video games.

At a sure level, it is unattainable to cowl up for defensive negligence. The reality of the matter is that no Bayern participant is past reproach, besides maybe Lucas Hernandez, who deserved to be reinstated in Kiel purely as a result of he is been used so sparingly since struggling damage within the 1-1 draw towards Werder Bremen in late-November.

It might be a shock if Hernandez, a battler as defenders go, is just not deployed from the outset on Sunday towards SC Freiburg. After all, enjoying by means of a pandemic has its appreciable challenges, however the fact is Sule, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba should not having the seasons anticipated from them as opponents have again and again exploited the favoured excessive line with fast, efficient passes fizzed into the center. Holstein Kiel did precisely that for the objective by Fin Bartels that levelled it at 1-1 on Wednesday.

Then we get to the troublesome full-back positions. Proper-back specifically represents a dilemma for Bayern. Benjamin Pavard has fairly merely by no means discovered his ft in a season riddled with primary errors and an inclination to be outrun by opponents. Moreover, Flick has had completely zero attacking manufacturing from the Frenchman, which is unacceptable for a team like Bayern that expects it.

After they signed Bouna Sarr from Marseille, the thought was such an skilled participant would function a helpful back-up for Pavard, however that hasn’t labored out. Sarr has made three underwhelming league begins, whereas United States worldwide Chris Richards is doubtlessly an possibility regardless of being extra of a central defender than a full-back.

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Towards Mainz, Bayern’s first opponent of 2021, the struggling Pavard was eliminated at half-time and Flick shrewdly moved Joshua Kimmich from central midfield to right-back with nice impact. It contributed mightily to Bayern’s fightback from a two-goal deficit — a powerful case may be made that within the quick time period, it might be higher to have Kimmich be the right-back, the place he can present know-how, confidence and an attacking buzz.

The state of affairs is barely higher on the left aspect. Alphonso Davies deserved all of the reward going for his very good, swashbuckling play within the first half of 2020, however like Pavard, he’s woefully off-form. Keep in mind: the younger Canadian began the season dropping his place to the versatile Hernandez after which was barely again within the aspect earlier than struggling an ankle damage.

Bayern Munich are giving up too many targets and it might value them trophies. Getty Photographs

Thank goodness for Manuel Neuer behind all of them! Repeatedly, all through this spell of defensive malpractice, Neuer has demonstrated why he was named greatest goalkeeper on the earth on the tail-end of final 12 months. That Neuer has gone 10 Bundesliga matches with out a clear sheet, the longest such run in his profession, is just not his fault.

When you’ve gotten a pronounced Achilles’ heel on the again, the very last thing you need to do is the face the shape team within the Bundesliga. However Freiburg will enter the Allianz Area buoyed by a membership file 5 successive Oberhaus wins. They’re a examine in distinction with the Bavarians, their stingy defence having conceded simply two targets in that fabulous and stunning run.

The membership started the season wretchedly, accumulating simply six factors from eight video games. Their 3-1 defeat towards Mainz pressured a rethink by wily and beloved coach Christian Streich, who switched formations (from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3), anchored by Keven Schlotterbeck. Since then, Freiburg have been flying and it will not be misplaced on Flick and his backroom employees that they’re the masters of effectiveness. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

Vincenzo Grifo, working on the left of the assault, is having fun with one of the best season of his profession, so it is going to be fascinating to see who’s handed the onerous process of silencing him in that a lot mentioned right-back slot for Bayern. Laufleistung (“working efficiency”) comes assured with Freiburg. They satisfaction themselves on overlaying floor with one of the best of them. Baptiste Santamaria, their file €10 million signing from Angers, embodies this spirit and has shortly grow to be a favorite of Streich.

The opposite Freiburg participant who actually catches my eye is 22-year-old striker Ermedin Demirovic — not as a result of he is a prolific scorer, though he did present the headed opener in final week’s 5-Zero thrashing of FC Cologne. With Demirovic, it is extra his work ethic and recreation intelligence that leap out. That is traditional Freiburg.

After falling in Kiel, which suggests no repeat of final season’s Treble, what subsequent for Bayern? Having already shipped 24 targets — probably the most after 15 matches for the reason that 1981-82 season — are Bayern going through one other nightmare on Sunday? Time will inform.

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