Four Takeaways as Bayern Munich fall well short of expectations

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 18: Mats Hummels of Bayern is challenged by Kevin Kampl of Leipzig during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Muenchen at Red Bull Arena on March 18, 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)
LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 18: Mats Hummels of Bayern is challenged by Kevin Kampl of Leipzig during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Muenchen at Red Bull Arena on March 18, 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images) /

Bayern Munich were outplayed by RB Leipzig in a match that showed the tactical nuance of one team and the failings of the other. Here are four takeaways.

What’s happened to Sebastian Rudy?

Initially thought to be another great bargain by Bayern’s buying board, Sebastian Rudy’s time at Bayern Munich has spiraled at an alarming rate. In the first few matches under Carlo Ancelotti, Rudy looked to be one of the most consistent and calm players available.

Since Jupp Heynckes’ return, however, he has fallen out of favor, sometimes not even making the squad. Yesterday’s match was clear evidence as to why. Initially thought to be a successor to Xabi Alonso, at no point did Rudy look in control of the midfield in the same way the Spaniard did in the past.

Getting easily pushed off the ball by Kevin Kampl and Naby Keita, as well as anyone else in a Leipzig shirt, shocking passing, putting teammates in difficult positions, making them look bad, all-in-all, Rudy was a standout player for all the wrong reasons.

In a climate of uncertainty, many recent rumors have suggested Arturo Vidal could be on his way out of Munich this summer. After his performance yesterday, which follows a string of him being relegated to the stands, not even making the squad, Sebastian Rudy may be the player to get the cut once Leon Goretzka arrives.

Mats Hummels is tired

It was a day to forget for Mats Hummels… and so soon after another day to forget against Besiktas. Hummels appears to be tired. Out of 40 games this season, he has only been absent from 10. This constant gametime appears to be catching up with him.

In the past few weeks, Hummels’ form has noticeably dropped. One could argue it is just a bad run of form; all players are due one at some stage of their career. However, Hummels appears to be a constant presence in the Bayern squad — understandable considering his abilities — and his recent dip may be due to exhaustion.

Yesterday’s line-up featured a number of players who hadn’t played much recently, but with Mats Hummels sat in central defense yet again. The midweek game against Besiktas coupled with a Bundesliga game against RB Leipzig would be enough to knock out most players on the Bayern squad. 

Yesterday was an example of Mats Hummels playing to 60% of his talent, at best. Considering his experience, knowledge and intelligence, keeping him fresh for the Champions League and next round of the cup will be vital. Jupp Heynckes would be wise to give him a rest before he burns out completely.

Bayern’s (lack of) depth out wide

Yesterday’s wide men options were a return to the unusual. Thomas Muller, who appears to work better as a winger providing he has central midfielders to assist him, and Juan Bernat, who after a promising pre-season seems to have faded off, formed Bayern’s wing partnership.

Rewind to the ’14-15 season, Bayern Munich had as many as six options for the wings. Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Douglas Costa all had plenty of experience playing out wide and did so regularly and comfortably.

Back to the current day, considering the injury woes, Bayern Munich only had Muller, Ribery and Bernat to choose from against RB Leipzig. Injuries are out of everyone’s hands. However, the situation experienced was largely self-inflicted.

James Rodriguez, fresh off a calf injury does not have the level of skill or speed to effectively take on defenders as a typical winger would, and Ribery does not have the same impact on a team that he used to. On loan at Juventus, doing his best to help them win their seventh consecutive league title, Douglas Costa was shipped away with no one to adequately take his place. Serge Gnabry, of course, was bought this past summer but is, like Costa, away on loan. Not short on central midfielders for the upcoming seasons, Bayern must begin prioritizing wingers above all other positions in the transfer market.

Credit where credit is due

As poorly as Bayern played, credit must be given to Leipzig for how they performed. This was one of the first matches in a long time where Bayern were simply outplayed. A step away from their usual 4-4-2, Leipzig deployed a 3-at-the-back formation with a solid wall of four determined midfielders sat behind the versatile and energetic Naby Keita, as well as Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner. Bayern had no way getting past them.

After Antonio Conte appeared to revolutionize English football after altering his Chelsea team to a 3-4-3, many European teams followed suit with 3-at-the-back becoming vogue. This was the first time Bayern had to face a tactically sound 3-man defense and it showed that the Bavarians did not have an answer to it.

Next: Bayern Munich fall to RB Leipzig in sloppy display -- Player grades

Leipzig defended as if their lives depended on it and attacked at pace and with great skill. This match was as much down to Leipzig’s ability as it was down to Bayern’s lack of. While many Bundesliga fans will refuse to accept Leipzig’s position in the league, denying their skill is near impossible.