Bayern Munich get taste of their own medicine against Gladbach

Bayern Munich players dejected after big defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round of DFB Pokal. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Bayern Munich players dejected after big defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round of DFB Pokal. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Borussia-Park erupted into a mocking cheer as a chance on the counter from Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard fell feebly in the hands of Yann Sommer in the 83rd minute. Their chants, jubilant of course, spoke more of defiance. The utter rejection of folklore and tradition, much like the team they so dearly adore.

Borussia Monchengladbach could not care less about Bayern’s dominance, their general monarchy, and the detractors putting the tie to rest before kick-off. All they needed was just a tad over a minute and an opportunistic slither from Kouadio Kone to stop the presses. Unfortunately, the statement holds just as much depth literally as it does figuratively.

The usual flurry that follows a goal conceded never arrived. The midfield and defense felt a step behind as Remy Bensebaini doubled Gladbach’s advantage. Not long after, another lapse led to the concession of a penalty, once again, put away by the Algerian. By halftime, the score was 3-0 and one could only wonder how it wasn’t worse for the record winners.

As bewildering as it sounds, the absurdity shouldn’t paper over the daunting hollowness the Bavarians displayed, something they coerce their opponents to fall too frequently.

Dayot Upamecano was consistently on the wrong end of defensive situations while Lucas Hernandez found himself out of position numerous times. The severe lack of synergy between the backline and midfield stifled any attempts at progression. Robert Lewandowski’s virtual absence felt like a direct consequence of the team’s defense being a step behind.

Perhaps a testament to Bayern and their wrath, but three goals did nothing to dissipate the waft of a potential comeback. Maybe, just maybe, Bayern were still in it. All until star man Breel Embolo took advantage of another defensive lapse from Upamecano to make it four. Soon enough, it was five. Chances came for both teams thereafter.

The mark of the game was branded a while before the final whistle, one with no stoppage time, a result of Bayern’s academic nature, just not this time. Bayern Munich bowed to a Gladbach side who tactically seemed faultless, defensively staying compact enough to restrict the Bavarians from exercising their panache while being gumptious enough to sense the seize the day where Bayern were just not Bayern.

Adi Hutter watched over a second humiliation of the Rekordmeister, this time to send them crashing out of the DFB-Pokal a second year on the trot. Yet, the circumstances behind tonight and the result in 2019 against Eintracht Frankfurt are vastly different, with a morose commonality. Neither side could springboard an offensive threat in dire situations.

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The drab predictability not only smothered any creativity, but it also accentuated every minute deficiency Bayern possesses, from defensive fragility to Leroy Sane’s aversion to finding the Coup De Grace to go along with his brilliance amongst others.

In the absence of manager Julian Nagelsmann on the touchline, the side ached for adjustments. The teething issues of a new system and core of players were on display, but soul-searching is on the cards. A performance like tonight calls for tangible consequences. History suggests tonight will mark itself as a lesson learned and identity questioned.