The Bayern Machine keeps rolling along. For the first time this season, the Reds faced both domestic and foreign competition.
First, they cashed in a massive amount of Bayern-Dusel to beat FC Augsburg in a derby that saw the hosts pushed to the limit. Then, both the team and their fans battled in Greece, away to Olympiacos in the first match of the 2015-16 Champions League.
Bayern-Dusel is probably a new idea to many of the readers on my blog. Basically, Bayern gets lucky more often than most. Of course, those who are super angry about Bayern's luck tend to gloss over the 1999 Champions League Final and many other similar events where luck clearly wanted nothing to do with Munich. Dusel is German and most literally would translate to "fluke." However, the better definition might be to go with "undeserved luck."
Everything about this match was one-sided, save the score. Which, yes, the score is the most important statistic of the match. All of the other statistics painted the picture which is typical to Bayern at this point in time. They had 27 (TWENTY-SEVEN!) shots, 10 on target - Augsburg had just four shots, only one on target. Augsburg did make the most of their one attempt that was on target, as they scored with that one shot.
The other conventional statistical categories were equally, comically lopsided. Bayern had 81-percent possession, completed 598 more passes than Augsburg, and allowed ZERO cornerkicks while getting nine. Honestly, this is like reading the results of a match from your PS4 in Beginner difficulty on FIFA 15. And that is the thing about most of the Bayern-Dusel, they strangely almost seem to deserve it.
But, Augsburg was unfortunate on the day. The played great defense most of the match and took full advantage of their seldom opportunities, producing a lead shortly before half-time. The idea of Bayern trailing any Bundesliga club at half-time seems almost absurd, but Augsburg was getting the job done.
"There's a saying that when God created space he found that Thomas Muller was already there." - Announcer. Bravo, sir.
They simply couldn't hold on long enough, the Red tide having its way eventually. It was late in the second half when Lewandowski decided that the FIFA-like gameplay could extend to scoring. Lewa went through four challenges, starting in the midfield, keeping control and sending defenders to the ground, eventually a Thomas Muller shot produced a rebound and Lewa was there to put it home. That evened the match and then came the Dusel.
Here's the thing: if you're trying to defend against one of the fastest players in the entire Bundesliga and you get caught flat-footed, squared up with a charging opponent, you shouldn't be surprised if the ensuing foul goes against you. Was it harsh to call a foul in the penalty area? Absolutely. Was it also a bit surprising? Yes. Would most refs have called that? Hard to say, but I doubt it. Also, if Douglas Costa is in the box with possession and you know you cannot stop him, why put yourself in a position to be exploited? If you watch the NBA, you know that James Harden gets an abnormal number of foul calls going his way. It's because he is fast, good and his defender simply has not hope of stopping him. Enter Douglas Costa. He's new to the Bundesliga, he's incredibly fast, he's aggressive, and he is smart enough to know that if he plays the ball beyond a defender who doesn't possess the agility to stick with him or get out of the way he will get the call. I think the call was a bit weak, but I also think it was completely correct. Jerome Boateng, Xabi Alonso, and Mehdi Benatia have all picked up yellow cards for similar situations this season, in the middle of the pitch, nowhere near goal, while not the last man back. The precedent is there and the luck is all Bayern.
Thomas Muller put the penalty away calmly, hesitating and then swinging it home just over the outstretched goalkeeper. 2-1, Bayern. After the match, the ever colorful Muller said, "The goalkeeper asked me on which side I will shoot the penalty, so I told him." Wonderful.
Of note, Lahm was not subbed off until stoppage time. This is a nice change - to see the captain out on the pitch for a full 90 minutes. Also, welcome to Kingsley Coman! The late summer transfer window aquisition from Juventus is on a two-year loan with option to purchase. Nice to see some new faces. Also, due to some backline injuries, it has been great to see the way formations and lineups have shaped up.
In the second match, Bayern travelled to Greece for a showdown with Olympiacos. Sadly, the main showdown was not on the pitch, where Bayern prevailed 3-0. The Greek police at the stadium were caught on video going hacking into the Bayern supporters with no provocation.
The police situation was utterly disgusting and footage of the ugliness can be found on video via Bayern Central. This type of action isn't on par with some of the tragedies and utterly disgusting things which have been captured on camera here in the United States recently, but it was horrific nonetheless. Unfortunately, the ugliness of the situation may have some tie to the ugliness between Greece, Germany, Europe and the European Union. Nothing to be proven there, not that I am aware of anyway, but still, this was an unprovoked and very inappropriate incident. Those police are trash. That situation is trash. As far as I am concerned, Olympiacos is trash. I assume that UEFA will do nothing, but that will be the wrong decision.
As for the game, Bayern did what they needed to do. Mentioned in an earlier piece, Bayern tends to struggle when they go beyond the confines of Western Europe. Games conducted in Eastern BLOC countries tend to go poorly for them, even against lowly teams like BATE Borisov. Who? Precisely.
Bayern kept a clean sheet, which is encouraging, and they dominated all conventional statistics like we would expect. 71-percent possession, over 20 shots, tripling the number of passes that their opponents made - just another day for Bayern.
Bayern did struggle to find that first goal, taking most of the first half to warm up to the idea, scoring shortly after the second half began. And, though Bayern is a master of holding a lead against the lesser side, it wasn't until the very end of the match that victory was secured. In this way, we are seeing a new Bayern blueprint emerge. The scoring comes at a premium and the three points for the win are not certain until the 90' mark hits on the scoreboard.
Kingsley Coman was again a super sub, much like his first match. In both cases, he was inserted into the action before the hour mark of the match. This time, Coman was brought on for striker Lewandowski.
On paper, Guardiola appeared to deploy a 4-3-3 to begin the match. Though, I haven't had a chance to go back and really dissect the play and what formations were bleeding into the Pep stew this week.
After a big win in Greece, Bayern will move one big step closer to securing the knockout round of the competition. They will also be right back into the Bundesliga competition on Saturday, playing against newly promoted SV Darmstadt 98.
In other news, former Bayern hero Bastian Schweinsteiger suffered a loss in his Manchester United Champions League debut. Astonishingly, it is the first time that Schweinsteiger has ever been part of a side that lost their very first Champions League group match. Rough times in England, I say.
Stay tuned for a more thorough recap of action against Darmstadt and, yes, we are so very close to the release of FIFA 16. I might finally need to look into buying a video game console...
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)