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FC Bayern Munich – Draw at the start of the second half of the season against RB Leipzig: the hole after Qatar

Injured, degraded, flawed and unlucky: After the World Cup fiasco, some German internationals at FC Bayern Munich had a rather unpleasant start to the second half of the season.

It’s been around a month and a half since Joshua Kimmich, on the verge of tears, spoke of the “hardest day of my career” at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar. He was even afraid of “falling into a hole”. Germany had just failed in the group stage of the World Cup for the second time in a row, despite a 4-2 victory against Costa Rica. Kimmich’s empty and helpless appearance symbolized the state of the German national team.

No club was hit by the DFB World Cup fiasco more directly than FC Bayern Munich, who provided a total of seven players and thus the largest fraction of Germany’s World Cup squad. Besides Kimmich, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané.

Since then, there have been many discussions about whether these experiences could have a negative impact on the performance of FC Bayern, which was in such good shape before the World Cup. In the mixed start to the second half of the season against RB Leipzig (1-1), it was at least obvious that the German internationals were among the weakest teams in Munich – if they were allowed to play at all.

FC Bayern: Julian Nagelsmann criticizes Joshua Kimmich

As we know, the injured captain and regular goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was not there in Leipzig. After losing the World Cup, he broke his lower leg on a ski tour, leading to a long search for a goalkeeper with the signing of Yann Sommer announced on Thursday. The 34-year-old Swiss made his Leipzig debut but was hardly challenged.

But it wasn’t just captain Neuer who was missing from FC Bayern’s starting XI, his assistant was also missing. As expected, coach Julian Nagelsmann demoted Thomas Müller to the substitute position. Müller didn’t come on until the 83rd minute and missed another chance in injury time for a late winner, which wouldn’t have counted anyway due to an offside position.

Kimmich wore the Munich captain’s armband. Instead of leading his team, he puts in a disappointing performance and owes Leipzig an equaliser. On the eve of Marcel Halstenberg’s goal, Kimmich first made a useless bad pass before falling too easily into a duel with André Silva.

“The goal was completely useless. You can play the ball over the goalkeeper, Yann can hit it straight away. He tries to play a target chip,” Nagelsmann criticized, his substitute captain Kimmich should have “just clarified” . “At the end of the day, we win the match without my making a mistake, said Kimmich himself. I have to beat him, then nothing happens.” In the duel with Silva, like Nagelsmann, he saw no irregularities – unlike sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, who called it an “obvious foul”.

FC Bayern: Choupo-Moting and de Ligt bright spots

Kimmich’s neighbor Leon Goretzka often strayed from the defensive midfield, but only made isolated accents there. His supposed 30th-minute goal was ruled out due to a narrow offside position by Matthijs de Ligt. The German attacking trio of Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry also acted largely without luck. The latter was the most striking, with Sané he at least established Eric Maxim Choupo-Motings 1-0.

The Cameroon striker continued his scoring streak from the first half of the season and was one of Bayern’s few bright spots. Centre-back de Ligt also attracted positive attention, putting in a concentrated performance with and without the ball. Both have a rather quiet World Cup behind them: Choupo-Moting failed with Cameroon despite decent performances in the preliminary round, de Ligt was only a substitute for the quarter-finalists of the Netherlands.

In Leipzig, de Ligt led a generally strong Munich defence. His neighbor Dayot Upamceno made some blunders (unpunished), but made up for them with strong individual actions.

FC Bayern: Solid defence, weak attack

Bayern’s problem was not defensive, but offensive. Munich hardly created any scoring chances, the xG value was only 0.69 and was therefore even worse than Leipzig (0.71) at a low level. “We didn’t play well,” said Salihamidzic. “Precision and aggressiveness were lacking.”

For FC Bayern, the draw at Leipzig after ten consecutive competitive victories meant the first loss of points since early October, when they were 2-2 at Borussia Dortmund. Chaser SC Freiburg could go up to two points behind leaders with a win at VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The Munich side will meet another pursuer at Eintracht Frankfurt next weekend, and soon after, the Champions League Round of 16 will take place against Paris Saint-Germain. By then at the latest, FC Bayern’s (in-form) DFB players should come out of their World Cup hole.


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