Analysis of our CL fixture from a Bayern Munich fan’s perspective

Article by DBM and friends.

For our looming games against Bayern Munich, one of the biggest teams in world football, I figured it would be an interesting idea to talk to Bayern Munich supporters and ask them about their opinion. One of my best friends, Johannes, has been so nice to provide us with detailed information on Bayern’s situation & perceptions regarding facing Liverpool.

What is Bayern’s current situation like?

The team actually had a great start to Niko Kovac’s first season at the club. After a couple of games though, everything kind of fell apart – first some of our most important players got injured, then those who were fit were lacking any form whatsoever. In early December, one could see the team didn’t really believe in its own abilities any more. Shortly before the Winter break though, Bayern showed increasing form and started a winning streak.

We’re currently only two points behind Dortmund. In the CL we’re still unbeaten - which might also be because our group was lacking top-opponents.

So as you can see, everything’s fine on paper. Due to our ageing squad, though, it was clear that this season a lot would change regarding key players, play style and hierarchy. Some things work well, some don’t. It seems like neither the fans nor the team know what Bayern is actually capable of this season – the knockout-round is going to give us the answer.

How important are those games for Bayern?

Quick answer: Possibly the most important games this season.

Nico-Kuvac

Long answer: For Bayern and its fans, it’s all about prestige. While Dortmund winning the Bundesliga would hurt our pride, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal if we reach the UCL semi finals yet again, as we did in seven out of the last nine seasons. The club considers itself as one of the top four clubs in the world, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. Now, with English teams joining the ranks, especially Manchester City and Liverpool, Bayern want to show the world that they are still a force to be reckoned with – despite their turbulent season so far.

If we lost over both legs and leave the UCL already in the first knockout-round, it would be a big shadow over our entire season and even if we still ended up winning the double, it would only be considered an average year at best. A win over Liverpool, who are playing a fantastic season so far, would elevate the perception of our team and our club as a whole. It might even show the current team with all its fresh faces – and even our talented, yet inexperienced coach – what they’re capable of and could mark the beginning of a phenomenal run.

How we see Liverpool

As stated above, Liverpool is quite hyped in Germany at the moment. If we would listen to Bayern haters in the Bundesrepublik, we could already give up and save us the troubles of travelling to England as a whole. From Bayern’s perspective, we know Liverpool has improved immensely in recent years. You guys are top of the table in the Premier League for a reason and have reached the UCL final last year. However, that international run last year is often viewed as quite lucky among our ranks – yeah, the first game against City was amazing and basically won the whole tie, but the first real top-notch opponent you guys faced and didn’t know well from the league already was Real Madrid. A lot of Bayern fans had the feeling last year that our team would have won that final as well, if we had advanced past Real in the semis (And if our 2nd keeper Ulreich wasn’t such a dipshit, but who am I to tell you of goalkeeper mistakes against Real).

Still, there is a lot of respect for Liverpool from us and we’re aware that our possession-based, highly offensive play style suits your fast, counter-attacking play style well, but that’s what every opponent tries to play against Bayern every year & we’re usually dealing well with that threat.

What are Bayern’s weaknesses at the moment?

We’re in the middle of a radical change to the squad, especially regarding our defense and it’s not working well right now. 

Bayern’s tactical approach demands for defenders with great abilities on the ball. The team always pushes extremely high up the pitch, with our center backs often staying in the opposition’s half. They’re actually our first playmakers, with our fullbacks basically being slightly less offensive wingers. For Liverpool there is definitely great opportunity to exploit that and, to be honest, there’s no way this game is going to end goalless.

What are Bayern’s strengths at the moment?

Lewandowski

Quite clearly: The offense. We’re conceding one or two goals almost every game this season, but we win most of the time because we simply score more. Lewandowski is simply the most important player in our squad – he can score with both feet and his head and is almost always involved in link-up play. If it’s his day, he can enter a stage of bloodlust-like ecstasy and decide games entirely on his own, the most famous examples, of course, being his 4 goals against Real Madrid or his 5 goals in 9 minutes against Wolfsburg. Without Van Dijk, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Liverpool defense will cope with him.

A lot has changed this season regarding our wingers – we’ve got two great talents in Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry and two experienced living legends in Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry. This season was supposed to be the one where Coman and Robben would start most games, since Coman is considered our most promising talent and Robben is currently clearly the better one of the oldies. Due to Robben’s injury and Gnabry’s accelerating form, though, both youngsters have earned their starting spot earlier than most fans thought – and deservedly so.

In midfield, Thiago Alcantara is the catalyst. He is a better tackler than most people think and is an endless well of creativity, therefore vital to the team. Next to him, Leon Goretzka has recently established himself as a starter. He is a very fast and dynamic all-rounder in midfield who can do it all – tackling, passing, scoring. Thomas Müller will miss both legs against Liverpool due to a red card he received against Ajax, therefore James Rodriguez has started in most recent games, and has done quite well so far (should be exciting for you, Case).

Conclusion

Bayern Munich’s season so far has been a turbulent one. The team is currently showing a lot of offensive drive, but seems defensively unfocused and therefore unbalanced. Those two games against Liverpool are the first real test for Bayern this season when the team is in form, though – not only the fans, but also the players will see what we’re truly capable of.

Bayern know that Liverpool’s play style might be the perfect counter to its own, but on a good day, nothing can beat well played out offensive possession tactics. The team believes in its own strengths and has lost nothing of its offensive power – due to Liverpool’s B-defense playing, Bayern seems slightly optimistic to get a good result at Anfield.

For Bayern and especially Kovac, this CL-leg against Liverpool will basically define the entire season. In fact, it can be perceived as a make-or-break point in the season and as such Bayern will do anything to get home from Anfield with a good result. Consequently, there’s little doubt that the next two CL games should be extremely entertaining and exciting to watch.
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