Bayern Munich overpowered defensive flaws against RB Salzburg

Bayern Munich managed to hide defensive problems with an attacking display against RB Salzburg. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich managed to hide defensive problems with an attacking display against RB Salzburg. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images) /

Perspectives might differ, but the turn of the year has been a time to forget for Bayern. Missing personnel has only exacerbated the defensive frailties that have long plagued the Rekordmeister. Issues run deeper than that. The famously dynamic Julian Nagelsmann struggled to get rid of his team’s bad habit of leaking goals. More recently, Bayern’s offense grew unusually rigid, formulaic even. The first leg against Salzburg saw Robert Lewandowski isolated, a common theme for the Pole who has had to produce magic to earn his moments.

There is a reason behind the incessant criticism. The second leg against the Austrian side was not a chance at redemption. After all, Bayern still commands the Bundesliga, nine points clear of Borussia Dortmund. Qualification to the next round in the Champions League would be necessary. On most accounts, a win would have sufficed. Yet the aura heading into the tie was one of hope, that of witnessing a performance befitting the lofty standards of the Bavarian juggernaut. It wasn’t necessary as much as it was needed. A glimmer of what Bayern Munich is capable of.

The intent was apparent from the start, as were the problems. Within two minutes, Bayern executed a slick move to rip through Salsburg only to be thwarted by Philipp Kohn. Just a few seconds later, Lucas Hernandez was left all by his lonesome to deal with the attack, one Bayern was lucky to get through unscathed. It was only a matter of time however before Bayern would flaunt their prowess. It was the lethal partnership of Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski that led to the first penalty. The second came not long after. In a 10-minute period, Lewandowski’s hat-trick had wrapped the game up.

Half an hour into the game, just after a lapse in Salzburg’s backline led to Serge Gnabry making it four, the commentary was quick to declare the Austrian side to be the ‘architects of their own downfall’. Undoubtedly true, however, it takes away from the single most important thing Bayern achieved.

The Bavarians instill fear. The aura and prestige of the German side are declared aloud with each motion of the ball. Mistakes are a by-product of Bayern owning their image. On a night where a statement was necessary, Rekordmeister caused mistakes and proved to be gumptious enough to take advantage. The goals reigned in as their versatility paid dividends.

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Bayern Munich declared their stead in the race in a style befitting their stature. Issues remain glaring, questions regarding the frailties and mishaps will ring true until the result renders them laughable or foresight, yet that is the essence of football. Die Roten’s future lies in their preparation as much as it lies in twisted fate in the world of football.