Bayern Munich in trouble ahead of Club World Cup
Referee Harm Osmers shows a yellow card to Bayern’s Niklas Suele, left, during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich at the Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP )

Flick faces unexpected difficulties as central defenders seem to lack speed and a positional sense.

The tense mood at Bayern Munich has rarely been more pronounced than at present, as the 2020 treble winner seems to have lost its confidence after letting in the 24th goal in 15 league matches.

Ahead of the Fifa Club World Cup and the Champions League matches, coach Hansi Flick faces unexpected difficulties that could put a wrench in the works of the Bavarian’s 2020/21 season. The reigning German champion’s tactics are seemingly an open book and reveal considerable weaknesses. Bayern’s defence isn’t providing the secure platform for its risky attacking game. New arrivals and old hands are both a long way off top form.

DEFENCE INSTABILITY

“They caught us with some long balls after we lost the ball and our defense was in disorder,” striker Thomas Mueller said. The central defenders like Niklas Suele, David Alaba, and Jerome Boateng lacked stability and their errors led to goal opportunities for their opponents. The trio also seems to lack speed and a positional sense. For the first time in a decade, Flick’s team threw a 2-0 lead when losing 3-2 to Moenchengladbach. The last time Bayern conceived so many goals so early in the season was in the 1981/82 Bundesliga season. “It is far too easy to score goals against us,” midfielder Leon Goretzka commented.

Bayern might consider further new signings as target Dayot Upamecano (Leipzig) won’t be available before next summer. Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic denied plans to consider winter-transfers and said the squad has the necessary quality. “We need to solve our problem of shoring up the space behind our defenders,” Flick stated.

FULL AND WING BACK WEAKNESS

After injuries, Benjamin Pavard (right side) and Alphonso Davies (left) are not in good form compared to last season. But Bayern’s game depends on the defense initiating attacks. Simultaneously, wingers such as Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Douglas Costa, and Leroy Sane are not meeting expectations.

In the league encounter against FSV Mainz (5-2), Bayern managed to turn the game around after going 2-0 down with the help of midfielder Joshua Kimmich at right-back. Moving Kimmich to the back is only seen as an exception as Flick made clear that the 25-year-old is vital in midfield where he is an inspirational figure.

RESERVES LACK QUALITY

German record international Lothar Matthaeus assumed that the Bayern’s bench is not as well equipped as the national rivals such as Leipzig, Dortmund, and Leverkusen. As a fact, several new arrivals have fallen far from expectations. Leroy Sane might be the most prominent example in addition to Douglas Costa, Bouna Sarr, Marco Roca, Tanguy Nianzou, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

On top of that, the unsolved future of defenders David Alaba and Jerome Boateng remains a problem. While Austria’s Alaba is rumored to be leaving for either Real or the Premier League, Boateng faces growing difficulties in the twilight of his career.

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