The Bundesliga title race for Bayern Munich took a turn for worse on Saturday as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat against league leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Courtesy of the win at Bay Arena on Saturday, Xabi Alonso’s team went five points clear of Bayern at the top of the points table.
Bayern dominated the possession at Bay Arena, but they never looked threatening in the final third. The Bavarian club had only one shot on target over the 90 minutes. Bayer Leverkusen created problems for Die Roten on the break, accumulating eight shots on the target. (Stats courtesy- Fotmob)
It was a damaging defeat for Die Roten just when they were getting some momentum in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen remains unbeaten in the league, so it is going to be a tall order for Bayern to retain the Bundesliga title.
The meek performance from Bayern on Saturday has certainly raised eyebrows in Germany. While talking to Sky Sports after the game, Thomas Muller urged his teammates to show more passion and courage on the pitch. Muller was angry with himself and his teammates after the defeat against Leverkusen.
""There are of course some symptoms on the pitch. To be honest, I'm pissed off. To quote Oliver Kahn: What I miss from us players are the balls in the game. We are showing significantly better approaches in training. It's okay to feel pressure, but there needs to be energy and freedom. That's missing in our game. Sometimes we have to speak about us players. It's not just about the coach. We have many international players at the highest level, we need to step up our game.""- Thomas Muller
Bayern had no answer to the tactical intelligence shown by Bayer Leverkusen on the pitch. They pressed well higher up the pitch but didn’t show enough courage and cutting edge with the ball. After Leverkusen scored the second goal early in the second half, Bayern showed no fight to come back in the game over the next 40 minutes.
Thomas Tuchel was baffled by the criticism of the team over the last few weeks. The German coach will certainly have no complaints if there is a barrage of criticism aimed towards him and his players' efforts on the pitch against Bayer Leverkusen.
The defeat against Bayer Leverkusen was the third away defeat of the season (Saarbrucken, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Bayer Leverkusen). In all three defeats, Bayern have collapsed whenever the opposition was on top. They also lacked a cutting edge in the final third across these three defeats. Even in their solitary home defeat of the season against Werder Bremen, Rekordmeister looked toothless in the final third.
Bayern have their work cut out to get ahead of Bayer Leverkusen in the title race. If Alonso’s men continue their rich vein of form, Die Roten will find it difficult to retain the title even if they manage to win all of their remaining league games. It does look like Tuchel cannot afford a single defeat in the next three months to remain at Bayern next season.