Bayern Munich Drop 4 Points To Start Post World Cup Campaign

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The Bundesliga has returned from the post-World Cup winter break, but it appears that Bayern Munich has not gotten the message that the season is back underway. The Rekordmeister dropped two points against RB Leipzig on Friday (1-1) and then needed a world-class finish by Joshua Kimmich to rescue a 1-1 draw against Köln on Tuesday.

While the result in the Spitzenspiel against Leipzig will have few worried at the Säbener Straße, the story following the Tuesday fixture against Köln was slightly different. The first half, in particular, was poor as Bayern had no solution after Ellyes Skhiri made it 1-0 for the visiting Billy Goats.

Bayern lacked creativity, depth in their deep runs and seemed incredibly vulnerable whenever Köln did win the ball quickly on transition. Köln, in fact, might feel disappointed that they did not score a second, effectively ending the game, on any of their quick transitions.

“We definitely have to talk about the first half, especially in terms of approach and attitude,” Bayern’s midfielder Joshua Kimmich said after the game to the media. “We conceded a goal again after a set piece.” That was often the case in the first half of the season. This has to stop as soon as possible. The second half was better.”

New Bayern Munich keeper Yann Sommer echoed Kimmich’s sentiment. “We didn’t play a good first half and made many mistakes,” Sommer said. “We brought much more power onto the pitch in the second half. The goal was great. Unfortunately, it was a bit too late. If we equalized earlier, we could’ve won the game.”

Bayern was indeed better in the second half. But part of the truth is also that, at times there were flashbacks to Germany’s games in Qatar. The Rekordmeister would finish the game with 78% possession and dominated with 855 to 243 played passes.

“We were better in the second half after the subs,” Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “Köln sat deep and made it difficult for us. If we scored earlier, it would’ve been tough for them. The way we played in the second half was what we had imagined. I’m confident we’ll get back to winning ways if we keep that up.”

Sure Bayern improved after Kingsley Coman came on for Serge Gnabry—he faced criticism after the game for an unauthorized trip to Paris—and Ryan Gravenberch replaced Leon Goretzka. The two substitutions brought more speed and depth to Bayern’s game. But Köln still managed to shot down the final third, making it difficult for the likes of Jamal Musiala to find space within the box.

Musiala would be brought off in the 68th minute and replaced by Thomas Müller. Musiala visible lacked the freshness and creativity from before the World Cup. Without Musiala at his best, Bayern has very few solutions to get through deeplying defensive lines.

Instead, it needed a world class finish by Kimmich in the 90th minute for Bayern to equalize. Kimmich’s shot from outside the box surely was special but it also highlighted the Rekordmeister’s frustration to find solutions inside the box.

Perhaps getting Musiala back going will be the solution for many of Bayern’s post World Cup problems. The rest of the league, however, will hope that the Rekordmeister will need a few more games to shake off the World Cup rust.

Frankfurt can close the gap to the top of the table on Wednesday with a win against Freiburg to just three points. That would set up a tasty top of the table clash on Saturday, when Bayern host Frankfurt in what will be a true Topspiel.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth

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