Bayern Munich: Tactical takeaways from 5-1 loss against Frankfurt

Bayern Munich suffered first defeat of the Bundesliga campaign and it was a pretty embarrassing one as Eintracht Frankfurt hammered five goals past Die Roten on Saturday.

Bayern Munich players dejected after the 5-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 14 of the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich players dejected after the 5-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 14 of the Bundesliga. / Vasile Mihai-Antonio/GettyImages
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Bayern Munich suffered their first defeat in the Bundesliga this season on matchday 14 against Eintracht Frankfurt. With the game against Union Berlin the previous weekend having been postponed due to snow, Bayern were effectively given an extra week to prepare for the trip to Frankfurt. No one would have predicted the disastrous 5-1 thrashing. Let us now take a look at the key tactical events and takeaways from the drubbing at the feet of Frankfurt.

Tuchel picked his strongest available eleven against Frankfurt

As usual Bayern lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Thomas Tuchel made four changes to the side that was held for a goalless draw by FC Copenhagen. Kim Min-jae replaced Raphael Guerreiro as Leon Goretzka shifted back to midfield. Noussair Mazraoui, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Leroy Sane replaced Konrad Laimer, Thomas Muller, and Mathys Tel, respectively. The visitors lined up in what turned out to be a deadly 4-4-2 formation.

Bayern flattered to deceive from the word go

From the kick-off Bayern looked off the pace. Less than a minute into the game Frankfurt’s wide forward Ansgar Knauff gave the visitors fair warning of what was to come as his shot missed the target by a few inches. The contrasting start for both sides set the tone for the game.

Disconnect between Midfield and Defense was visible

Apart from struggling to come to grips with the pace of the game, the Bavarians were error-prone in midfield and defense. Frankfurt won most of the loose balls and proceeded to exploit the spaces as they appeared.

Kimmich at times appeared to be in no-man’s-land while defending. It was his error in the 36th minute which paved the way for Frankfurt’s third goal. Meanwhile, Goretzka had little success in stopping the hosts from progressing the play through the central midfield. The midfield pairing was easily bypassed when Die Roten lost possession.

The back-four struggled against Frankfurt's high-press and quite often they gave the ball away or had to go long only to concede possession.

There seemed to be an overall lack of focus from all players which grew as the half wore on. A poor attempt at clearing the ball from Noussair Mazraoui led to Frankfurt's first goal in the 12th minute. The wing-backs offered little resistance to the opposition. Kim Min-jae was surprisingly at fault in the passage of play that led to the second goal. The South Korean defender often lost duels with Frankfurt's forwards throughout the game. Dayot Upamecano also struggled to provide some resistance as Die Roten were three goals down in 36 minutes.

Bayern struggled to find rhythm in second half

In an attempt to improve the team defensively, Tuchel swapped out the starting wing-back duo of Mazraoui and Davies for Laimer and Guerreiro. However, the hosts raced away to a lead of four goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half to effectively finish off the game as a contest.

Throughout the ongoing Bundesliga season, Die Roten has found ways to raise the performance levels when needed during the second half of games to either come away with a win or get a share of the points. Bayern scored a goal late in the first half to get a life-line back in the game, but it hardly mattered as Frankfurt quickly sealed all three points in the second half.

Not even the introduction of Muller and Gnabry off the bench could impact the scoreline. It was unfortunate that Gnabry was injured soon after coming on and had to be replaced by Musiala.

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Conclusion

Inexplicably, to date, Bayern’s worst performance of the season came after the team had an extra seven days off. The psyche of the team is now a major concern. Tuchel needs to get a strong response from the team on Tuesday to make sure that Saturday was just a blip.