Bayern Munich: Key takeaways from 1-0 loss against Lazio

Takeaways from Rome as toothless Bayern Munich suffer 1-0 defeat against Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 stage.

Bayern Munich struggled against Lazio in the Champions League.
Bayern Munich struggled against Lazio in the Champions League. / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages
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Bayern Munich returned to Germany from Italy after a 1-0 loss against Lazio on Wednesday in the Champions League. Die Roten failed to bounce back in Rome from last weekend's terrible performance against Bayer Leverkusen.

The defeat in Rome meant that Bayern had lost twice in succession for the first time this season. Furthermore, the Bavarians lost the opening leg in the Champions League round of 16 for the first time in 11 years. Die Roten’s attack, which mustered only one shot on target against Leverkusen, did not manage a single shot on target against Lazio. Bayern’s 17 inaccurate attempts at goal were the most by any team in the competition since the 2010/11 season. Let us now take a look at some of the key takeaways from a match that was reflective of a team in desperate need of answers.

Return to 4-2-3-1 Formation proved futile

After the failure of a 3-4-2-1 formation against Bayer Leverkusen, Thomas Tuchel returned to the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka once again formed the double pivot in midfield. Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane were deployed as inverted wingers with the hopes of unlocking a tight Lazio defense. The changes were all for nothing. As previously mentioned, Lazio’s goalkeeper had a quiet evening in a big game.

Sane and Kane going through a lean patch of form

Bayern started the game brightly. In the second minute, Kimmich had a shot just wide of the target from the edge of the box as he latched onto Sane’s neat cut-back from the right flank. The normally clinical Harry Kane’s near miss from inside the box in the seventh minute, following an excellent first-time volleyed cross from Thomas Muller, might as well have been a reflection of the current state of the team.

Those two early attempts were as good as things would get in attack. The once-lethal duo of Sane and Harry Kane were toothless thereafter. Both players are going through a lean patch of form at the same time, which is making things difficult for Bayern.

No lack of fight from players

Despite Bayern’s attack being as blunt as the back of a knife there were some glimpses of hope for the return leg against Lazio. Veteran Thomas Muller was vocal throughout the match. He was arguably Bayern’s best forward on the day as he toiled hard in the final third.

Jamal Musiala couldn’t find the magic touch, but he never shied away from the ball and although his dribbling couldn’t unlock the disciplined Lazio defense, his courage is something to build on for when the Italian side visits the Allianz Arena on March 5. Noussair Mazraoui also showed enterprise as an overlapping right-back. Someone needs to get onto the end of his crosses when the teams meet again. Bayern are struggling collectively, but players are still putting up a fight to get the team out of the poor run of form.

Half-time team talk from Tuchel didn’t inspire confidence

With things level at half-time and Bayern dominating possession, the visitors went into the break in a relatively healthy position. What followed in the second half was inexplicable as the Bavarian side seemingly lost focus and confidence as Lazio stepped up a gear.

Dayot Upamecano looked shaky after the restart and he ended up making a big mistake. His overall performance wasn’t a disaster per se, but his tackle on Gustav Isaksen, which resulted in a penalty and the game's only goal proved disastrous. The red card for the foul rubbed salt in Bayern's wounds as they had to play the rest of the game with ten men.

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Bayern’s decline in recent weeks with a bewildered coach in Thomas Tuchel has reportedly prompted the likes of one Jose Mourinho to start studying German. When an unemployed peer, known for losing dressing-rooms, can be confident enough to put himself forward as your replacement you know you have hit rock bottom. Thomas Tuchel is not a terrible coach, but his tenure at Bayern has been terrible, to say the least.