Bayern star Harry Kane
Michael Dein / M.i.S. / IMAGO / MIS
The footballers of FC Bayern Munich sat together during the half-time break and took on big things. They were 1-3 down at Eintracht Frankfurt, now they had to catch up. "We go out and then the hut burns, then we turn it around," said Bayern's sporting director Christoph Freund, summing up what the Munich team were planning in the dressing room.
Five minutes after the restart, the game was decided.
Frankfurt's Éric Ebimbe scored his second goal, 4-1 for Eintracht. Munich's race to catch up was over before it had even begun. In the end, Bayern lost 1-5, coach Thomas Tuchel called the performance "unsatisfactory" afterwards, and sporting director Freund spoke of an "attitude issue" and a lack of will.
The debacle comes as a surprise for two reasons: the obvious fact that FC Bayern rarely loses heavily, this has happened four times before in this millennium, in 2002 at FC Schalke (1-5), in 2009 in Wolfsburg (1-5), in 2019 in Frankfurt (1-5) and in 2021 in the cup at Mönchengladbach (0-5).
But also because the Munich team had been playing particularly consistently recently. In the last 19 games, they have lost only once, in the cup at third-division Saarbrücken. The heavy defeat in Frankfurt came suddenly. It's as if a walker were breaking through the ground from one moment to the next.
How did it come to this 1:5? And is the bankruptcy a blip or an alarm signal?
If you analyse Frankfurt's five goals, the first thing you notice are the serious individual mistakes that preceded almost all of them.
The 0:1: Nouassair Mazraoui wants to clear a cross, but instead of heading the high cross from the penalty area, he tries to volley it away, which is much more difficult - and fails. Mazraoui lays the ball off for Frankfurt's Farès Chaïbi, and after his shot hit the crossbar, goalscorer Omar Marmoush reacts faster than the Munich team, especially faster than Mazraoui, who doesn't react at all and simply stands still. Mazraoui is substituted by Tuchel at half-time.
The 0:2: Kim Min-jae is closer to the ball than Frankfurt's Ansgar Knauff in a running duel, but he still allows himself to be pushed away and thrown off balance. Seconds later, Alphonso Davies loses the duel with goalscorer Ebimbe, he lets himself be tunneled in the process. Davies was also substituted at half-time.
The 0:3: Joshua Kimmich makes a hair-raising mistake in the build-up. He tries to get the ball into attacking midfield, but plays so imprecisely that Frankfurt's Hugo Larsson can get in the way. Shortly afterwards, Dayot Upamecano is played out by Larsson as easily as Davies had been in the 0-2 defeat.
The 1:4: Upamecano again cuts a poor figure when he decides to dribble in the build-up to the game, but puts the ball too far in front of him. The goal is an expression of a now over-motivated Bayern team that wants too much and makes mistakes in the resulting haste.
On Saturday, coach Tuchel said that his Bayern had often enough defended with a superior number following the individual mistakes. So that Kimmich's misplaced pass or Upamecano's loss of possession didn't necessarily have to result in a goal.
Kimmich and Goretzka disagree
That's right. What's more, there are other, albeit smaller, deficits in the creation of some hits. At 0-1, for example, Davies allows the cross because he defends hesitantly. At 0:2, Kim plays an unnecessarily difficult diagonal ball and that too imprecise, so he gives away Munich's possession. For the third goal, Leon Goretzka fails to offer Kimmich a passing option, he is wrong. In the fourth, Kimmich and Goretzka disagree on who defends which space.
And the 1-5 defeat is also due to the fact that Kimmich only secures the zone in front of his own centre-backs late on. So late, in fact, that Frankfurt's Mario Götze can fit right in.
After the game, Tuchel wondered aloud whether the team had lost their rhythm because they had previously taken an unusually long forced break after the game against Union had been cancelled due to the snowfall in Munich.
However, some of the mistakes from the Frankfurt game have been with Bayern for some time. But they were punished unusually harshly in those 90 minutes.
Kim's risky passes, Upamecano's misfires
Since his arrival in the summer, defender Kim has always tended to try difficult passes, which then fail correspondingly often. His long diagonal passes in particular mean that FC Bayern lose the ball too often. His teammate Upamecano has rarely been as weak as he was against Eintracht this season. However, isolated but serious dropouts are not new for the 25-year-old. Just think of the Champions League elimination against Manchester City last season.
The fact that Mazraoui doesn't actually defend defensively stable enough to be a regular right-back at a team like Bayern Munich is also not a new finding. That's one of the reasons why he mostly sat on the bench when Benjamin Pavard, who has since moved to Inter Milan, was still playing in Munich. And it's also no secret that neither Kimmich nor Goretzka constantly guard the zone in front of their own defence. It is not without reason that Tuchel demanded another addition to the defensive midfield in the summer.
So the 1-5 defeat in Frankfurt is both: a day on which a lot of things came together because Eintracht knew how to use mistakes ice-cold for themselves, and which is therefore very unlikely to be repeated. And at the same time an expression of the fact that the Bayern squad needs more quality in defence.
The winter transfer window begins in January. The Bavarians are reportedly looking for at least one player for the defense, maybe two, as well as another six.
Sporting director Freund said on Sunday that it will certainly not be a boring January.