Bayern Munich hosted Augsburg at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday but couldn’t continue their excellent form, instead drawing 1-1 with their fellow Bavarians.
Lackluster offensive in first 45
Bayern Munich lined up in a 4-3-3 with some notable absentees on Tuesday. This was to be expected, however, given Niko Kovac’s squad rotation policy. Among the big names missing from the starting XI were Robert Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara, James Rodriguez, David Alaba and Franck Ribery. Meanwhile, Augsburg lined up with a more offensive 3-4-3, spearheaded by Andre Hahn.
The opening minutes of the match saw Augsburg play somewhat adventurously. The Bavarian brother to Bayern Munich pressed a considerably high line. A good portion early in the first half was spent playing in Bayern’s half of the pitch.
Augsburg looked to bypass the Bayern midfield trio of Javi Martinez, Thomas Muller and Renato Sanches by hitting long balls over to their three-man forward line. With time, however, Bayern managed to get a more firm grip on the match. The Bavarian giants slowly began to creep forward into their opposition’s half.
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The first real chance came from Renato Sanches from outside the box. Sanches hit an excellent curling shot that forced a cat-like diving save from Andreas Luthe. The Portuguese seemed to be oozing with confidence but was lacking that final product to convert his efforts into goals. Sanches showed the strength to win back and also retain possession of the ball when the situation called for it. He was also able to make confident driving runs, transitioning defense to attack, but he hit too many of his shots off-target. There are several promising signs, but his end product must be improved.
Sandro Wagner too had a couple of agonizing misses from the opposite ends of the 40 minute mark. Bayern’s back-up striker left something to be desired in the first 45 minutes. His second big chance in particular, when he came just one-on-one with the goalkeeper, showed that in order to make the most of his appearances Wagner must learn from Robert Lewandowski and bury his open chances.
The next best chance came from Serge Gnabry, who drove in a low shot that came just shy of the goal as Luthe pulled out a top-class finger tip save.
Aside from those few chances on and off target, Bayern somewhat lacked their usual offensive potency and overall creativity in the first half.
Mixed bag for Bayern in the second half
The beginning of the second half saw the first change for the home side. David Alaba came on for Leon Goretzka, who was playing as a sort of makeshift left-back. Early on, about two minutes into the half, Bayern counted themselves lucky not to concede a penalty kick. An unfortunately deflected shot popped up and hit Mats Hummels in the hand, but the referee was unmoved, despite VAR intervention. Perhaps the official saw the unintentional contact as cause to omit a potential penalty.
The tide quickly turned in Bayern’s favor, however. A quick counter attack saw Serge Gnabry expertly drive forward, shake off his defenders and slide a smart pass to the oncoming Arjen Robben The Dutchman cut inside onto his favored left foot forcing the Augsburg defense and keeper to scramble in front of goal in vain as he fired his shot into the back of the net.
Much of the rest of the second half seemed to go in favor of Bayern Munich. Despite their efforts, Augsburg weren’t quite able to muster up anything too convincing on Manuel Neuer’s goal. Bayern controlled possession, defended well and attacked at will for the most part (Albeit attacking quite ineffectively considering their chances).
In the 84th minute, Bayern came close to doubling their advantage, but had that moment stripped away by the offside flag. It was a wonderful piece of play, which saw Thomas Muller slide a smart pass back to Franck Ribery after cleverly breaking through the Augsburg backline. However, the play was called back for offside when Muller initially received the ball.
Bayern Munich would come to rue their missed shots shortly before the full-time whistle. 86 minutes into the match, in the dying moments, Augsburg found their hard-fought equalizer. A corner kick swung in got the better of Manuel Neuer, who mistakenly came off his line to bat away the ball, only to barely get a finger on it. The ball fell kindly to Jeffrey Gouweleeuw who fired a cross into the box that former Bayern youth player Felix Gotze chested home. The game ended only a few minutes later, 1-1.
The match can be ultimately besummed up for Bayern Munich as a day of missed opportunities. It seemed as if the home side really needed the goal-scoring prowess of Robert Lewandowski to come up big when the club needed it the most. Instead, the Bavarians were without their main goal-getter and disappointingly dropped points for the first time under Niko Kovac.