Six observations from Bayern Munich's embarrassing 1-0 loss to Augsburg

Six observations from Bayern Munich’s embarrassing 1-0 loss to Augsburg

Nagelsmann must return to the drawing board

The Bayern Munich manager is a brilliant talent, and I am one of his biggest supporters. However, it becomes difficult to continue to support him with the same conviction with each passing game. Initially, the starting formations looked very sharp. These days, however, the team just doesn’t look good enough to hold a halftime lead. Something is wrong, and yes, most of them are just about players, but some things definitely seem like they need to be changed.

Sadio Mané seems completely isolated in front. Leroy Sané just isn’t the same on the right, but Julian Nagelsmann’s brain slug has taken over. Substitutions are simply abysmal and happen too late in the game to even expect impact from a distance. This team needed Manuel Neuer in the opposing box in the last minutes to save a draw against FC Augsburg, 11th. If that phrase doesn’t send alarms to Säbener Strasse, I don’t know what will.

Slowness will be punished

How long do you keep blaming the opposing goalkeepers and the referee? Augsburg were simply the sharpest team today and got all three points. Well deserved in every way. The Bayern Munich defense was sloppy, the finishing was really bad and the passing was very slow. Joshua Kimmich just doesn’t cut it in the middle of the park and spends too much time on the ball. De Ligt takes too long with unnecessary dribbling and is simply too slow. Sané, and surprisingly Musiala too today, took it too often and tried too hard to perform skill moves and ended up dancing a lot but with little impact.

You just can’t expect to step on your opposition all the time. Either you show bite and passion in every match, or you just bite the dust. Bayern didn’t ‘bott up’ this game…the game was never theirs, to begin with. The team deserved to lose, fair and square, Rafal Gikiewicz or not.

Sadio Mané wasted a chance from here. Yes, he was very poor today.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Sadio Mané has been poor for a while

Someone had to say it. There is something wrong with Sadio Mané, and it could perhaps be attributed to the fact that he is simply not cut out for a No. 9 or false 9 role. He seemed far too isolated today, and of course it’s probably a systemic problem. . However, what is simply UNACCEPTABLE are his really poor first touches, his terrible finishing after several nice through balls from Mazraoui (who was brilliant) and Müller, and the fact that he gets intimidated quite easily by defenders opponents.

Mané’s honeymoon period is over. He needs to start performing consistently or he just risks being benched more often once Kingsley Coman is back in the fray. Mane doesn’t look like the player he was at Liverpool lately, and we can only hope that’s a temporary drop in performance. Otherwise, Bayern Munich are in deep trouble.

We sorely miss Lewandowski

It’s hard to keep pretending all is well in Robert Lewandowski’s absence because it simply isn’t. Gone are the days of a striker simply putting a chance to bed instead of making an unnecessary extra pass. Gone are the days when Bayern were a legitimate threat from set pieces. Gone are the days when opposition defenders were bullied off the ball, not the other way around.

Of course, there isn’t much that can be done to fix this…however, other players should just step in and accept more responsibility, more roles. Bayern forwards should stop passing too much in the final third, and Leon Goretzka needs to stop shooting. xG means nothing if you are unable to score goals. This team just couldn’t finish today, and forwards need to keep it simple. Or they are benched.

Mathys Tel is waiting. Kingsley Coman will be back soon. Either you play or go for the niche.

Dark Arts Classes Need an Upgrade

Another recurring theme this season has been that the opposition have not been carded for atrocious fouls. Today there was a moment when an Augsburg player ran into Noussair Mazraoui late with full force, and knocked the player crashing down, in what looked like a light yellow. There were several instances where things just didn’t go Bayern’s way. Maybe the players need more lessons from the master, Lucas Hernandez. Maybe they just aren’t vocal enough.

Augsburg, on the other hand, made sure to complain about every call-up throughout the game. It’s certainly not something honorable to defend, but sometimes you have to get dirty to win. And that includes making a show of hard/clumsy fouls and making it easier for the referee. So yeah, not something major, but something that could definitely make a difference.

FC Augsburg v FC Bayern Munich - Bundesliga

The team are likely in bad spirits in what has been a historically disappointing Hinrunde so far in the Bundesliga.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Plan to frustrate Bayern?

There is a pattern that has emerged from the game in recent weeks, and you can’t say that after the first 30 minutes of play, you didn’t see it coming. Sit back and defend resolutely, let Bayern dance with the ball all they want, then start pushing for a scoreless first half. In the second half, press Bayern with high intensity, force a goal before the 60′ mark, then sit down and bunker for the rest of the game. A victory, or at worst a draw.

It’s a plan we should expect more opponents to follow against Bayern in the future. Sure, Augsburg gave Bayern space in midfield but had numbers in defense where it mattered. Gikiewicz was brilliant, of course, but so were Augsburg’s midfield and defensive block. Nagelsmann needs to come up with something soon because it sure looks like the team’s kryptonite is there for everyone to see and replicate.

The coach and the team have to pull themselves together. Things are sure to get tougher this season, especially as there is a World Cup to be played halfway through.

If you want to hear more about Bayern Munich’s loss to FC Augsburg, please check out our post-match podcast where you can hear what went wrong, what went wrong and how it could be difficult to sort everything out until players and coaches line up:

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