Despite topping the Bundesliga table, Bayern Munich came into the match against Bochum on the back of three subpar performances. They had clinched wins against Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester United, but the overall performance of the team was far from the best. The Bavarian club had also conceded a last-minute equaliser against Bayer Leverkusen.
With Thomas Tuchel resuming coaching duties after serving his one-match Champions League suspension, Bayern’s customary 4-2-3-1 formation underwent four changes from the side that defeated Manchester United on Wednesday.
Matthis de Light, Noussair Mazraoui, Kingsley Coman, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Dayot Upamecano, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala, respectively. With Mazraoui slotting in at right-back, Konrad Laimer moved into the midfield pivot to partner Joshua Kimmich.
Bochum lined up in a conservative 3-5-2 formation to likely stifle Bayern’s central midfield which so far this season had been lacking cohesion with the back-four and at times was left unsupported by the wingers when defending.
The visitors arrived at the Allianz Arena on the back of three straight draws in the Bundesliga. However, things got worse for Bochum as Die Roten cruised to a comfortable 7-0 win. The near-perfect performance would have given management, players, and fans a renewed confidence to challenge for trophies on all fronts. Following are the key tactical takeaways from the massive win against Bochum.
Quick Tempo from the opening whistle
Bayern started the game quickly and played with the sort of pace that had previously not been witnessed this season. Unlike previous matches, for most of the game, the Bavarian side impressively maintained the quickened tempo. As a result, the visitors could not keep up and Rekordmeister’s world-class attack wasted no time in putting Bochum to the sword. Tuchel needs to make sure that fast starts become a regularity for Bayern throughout the season.
Konrad Laimer’s growing influence on the team
Laimer didn’t wait for the game to come to him in midfield and as a result served as a catalyst to maintain the upbeat tempo. His overall performance was that of a hybrid six/eight. It wasn’t a man-of-the-match performance from the Austrian international per se, but his 96% pass accuracy complemented his overall work rate well enough to allow Tuchel to give Joshua Kimmich some rest in the second half.
With his high activity and accurate passing, Laimer had previously given Bayern a similarly inspiring performance, as a right-back substitute, in the come-from-behind win away to Monchengladbach a few weeks ago. The Austrian midfielder is slowly and steadily becoming a crucial player for Tuchel. (Stats courtesy: Fotmob)
Kim Min-jae is the new defensive marshal for Bayern
Hattrick hero Harry Kane and other forwards deservedly got the plaudits after the win against Bochum. However, the role of Kim Min-jae should not be overlooked. The back four as a whole didn’t have a lot to do against Bochum but Min-jae’s reading of the game helped De Ligt to seamlessly reintegrate himself into the starting line-up.
It was unfortunate that the Dutchman suffered a knock which forced him to be replaced by Upamecano for the second half. It may have been better, with the game virtually over as a contest (4-0 HT), to instead give Min-jae a rest so that de Ligt could have gotten some game time alongside both the South Korean and the Frenchman at the heart of the defense. In any event, Min-jae remained consistent after the introduction of Upamecano and the pair did what was necessary to preserve the clean sheet.
Good substitutions from Thomas Tuchel
Like many other coaches, Tuchel has been at times guilty of not playing academy players when the opportunity presented itself. The German coach didn’t scupper the opportunity against Bochum. It was refreshing to see 20-year-old Frans Kratzig being brought on to replace Alphonso Davies at the 65-minute mark.
With Bayern now set to play three games in seven days, and the scoreline reading 5-0, it made sense to give the Roadrunner a rest and reward Kratzig for his good performances in pre-season. Since Raphael Guerreiro is still not completely fit, Kratzig may get more opportunities this week in the DFB Pokal and Bundesliga.
Mathys Tel who also came on in the 65th minute to replace Choupo-Moting maintained his impact-sub status by making it 6-0 in the 81st minute. Before Tel’s goal, Goretzka and Muller replaced Kimmich and Koman in the 77th minute. With the fate of the game sealed by half-time, Tuchel made good substitutions to give game time to squad players.
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With the near-flawless display, but without being privy to team tactics before the game, let’s go ahead and score this one for the coach and give Thomas Tuchel the credit for the tactical changes and player performances. If he can get this sort of performance from his players in the next Bundesliga fixture, when they travel to take on RB Leipzig, it would go a long way in silencing his critics and those of FC Hollywood.