Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich had a chastening evening in Manchester on Wednesday as Manchester City ran riot in the second half to claim a 3-0 victory. The Bavarian club has a mountain to climb in the second leg next week to get back in this time.
Bayern had some promising phases during 90 minutes, but they crumbled under pressure to giveaway two goals midway through the second half. Let us look at the three key observations from Etihad Stadium that may need addressing for Bayern and Tuchel while going forward to improve the team’s performances.
Form of Serge Gnabry could soon become a headache for Bayern
Serge Gnabry started in the number nine position for Bayern against Man City in the absence of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The German forward had a night to forget in Manchester, as he was largely anonymous in the final third. Gnabry had zero shots during his stay of 80 minutes on the pitch. The German forward also misplaced simple passes, which often broke down promising attacking moves.
Gnabry also struggled to press from the front and set the tone for Die Roten. It was probably his worst performance in a Bayern shirt. The club chiefs will be concerned by Gnabry’s performances over the past few months. He has struggled to get consistency in front of the goal (one goal in last ten games), which has led to his demotion to the bench. It is close to becoming a problem too difficult to ignore for Bayern.
Tuchel was not proactive with substitutions
Thomas Tuchel got the starting XI right against Manchester City, but he couldn’t make the desired impact from the touchline when it comes to substitutes. Bringing on Sadio Mane was the right decision in the second half, but not for Jamal Musiala. It was surprising to see him stick with Gnabry after his poor first half, let alone allow the German forward to stay on the pitch until the 80th minute.
Moreover, the replacement for Alphonso Davies also came very late when the game was effectively won by Manchester City. The Canadian left-back had a poor game by his standards on Tuesday. A much more proactive approach with substitutes may have allowed Bayern to freshen up things at the right time and keep the pressure on Man City.
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Dayot Upamecano still needs to work on his biggest weakness
Dayot Upamecano had a night to forget in Manchester on Tuesday as the French defender played a massive role in the second goal. The French defender was hesitant on the ball, which allowed Jack Grealish to win the ball in the dangerous area and initiate the counter that led to the goal.
The French defender showed great maturity on the ball at times, playing difficult passes to break the lines in the first half. However, a lapse in concentration completely flipped his performance. He lacked composure at a crucial time. It has been a good season for Upamecano until now, but he still needs to address the concentration issues that eventually turn fatal for the team.