Takeaways from Stuttgart as Bayern Munich had to dig deep to get all three points.
A good week for Bayern Munich was completed with a 3-1 win away at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday. Earlier this week, the German Champions had confirmed their place in the round of 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday. A win in Stuttgart made sure that Bayern remains at the top of the table in the Bundesliga, four and two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, respectively.
It was not a vintage performance from Die Roten as the home side were more than competitive in the game. They took the lead in the first half with a very well-worked goal. However, two quick goals before the first half meant sure Bayern were on the top going into the break. A gritty performance made sure that the German Champions kept Stuttgart at bay in the second half and seal the victory late in the game. Here are key takeaways from Saturday’s win.
Fatigue has led to slow starts for Bayern Munich
The fatigue is setting in Bayern players as they have been playing non-stop football since the Champions League knockout rounds in August. Moreover, they have also been very busy during the international break as national teams are playing three games instead of two.
Accumulation of games leads to fatigue, and that eventually starts to reflect in the performances. Die Roten has been starting slowly in the past three games. They were very well dominated in terms of chances created by Werder Bremen, RB Salzburg, and VfB Stuttgart. Robert Lewandowski did hit the post in the third minute, but that was the only highlight for Bayern in the first 25 minutes. These slow starts are normal, but Flick needs to make sure that his team defends well when the team is on the backfoot at the start of the game.
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Hansi Flick continues to make the right substitutions at the right time
Last season, Flick often got his substitutes wrong or timed them wrong. He also often stuck with the same team week in week out, which was understandable as there were zero margins for error. However, this season Flick has been making a very big impact from the touchline by bringing on the right players at the right time.
On Saturday, Douglas Costa and Leroy Sane was brought on for 20 minutes when Bayern was struggling to create chances. Both of them were excellent outlets on either flank and provided more urgency in the final third. Costa ended up scoring the third goal, while Sane got the assist for that goal. Proactive game management from Flick has been sound this season, and long may it continue.
Goals are well contributed from all forwards
Bayern heavily relied on Lewandowski last season. The Polish striker is still doing the bulk of the scoring for the European Champions, but other forwards are also chipping in with vital contributions. The overreliance on Lewandowski could be harmful in the future, so it is good to see other forwards playing their part.
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Kingsley Coman has been more efficient in the final third, while Sane has been constantly scoring goals after coming on the pitch in the second half. Serge Gnabry has been quiet in the last few games, but goals will come for him. Goals evenly distributed across all forwards will make Bayern an even dangerous team in the longer run.