Five observations from Bayern Munich’s deserved 1-0 loss to Villarreal

For previous defeats, Bayern Munich could consider themselves unlucky due to refereeing decisions, individual errors and other general misfortunes.

Not this time.

The team was heavily outclassed by Villarreal. From top to bottom. Their defense was above our attack. Their midfield dominated ours. Their attack made our defense sweat all the way. We just haven’t done the same thing.

Julian Nagelsmann’s compositions need to be reworked

From the opening whistle, everyone wondered why Kingsley Coman was on the right while Serge Gnabry was on the left. Well Named. What was Julian Nagelsmann thinking while doing this?

Even later, the refusal to replace Alphonso Davies after an extremely poor performance was folly. Nagelsmann still doesn’t have a fixed lineup or even a general idea of ​​who goes where. This must change immediately.

Alphonso Davies’ comeback was less than impressive

Alphonso Davies was a pedestrian today. He was completely pocketed by Juan Foyth, not once dribbling him, while Foyth always managed to force his way past Davies. Foyth has even passed Davies on occasion, which just shouldn’t happen. The most disappointing part was that despite it not working the first half dozen times, Davies kept trying the same thing until about the last ten minutes of the match, continuing to play exactly the same same way.

One bright spot: a perfectly blocked shot when Giovani Lo Celso found himself with space to shoot inside the box towards the middle of the game.

Robert Lewandowski was persona non grata

Poor Robert Lewandowski. When he fell deep to recover the ball, the defense decided to play long. When he stayed close to the last line, the ball simply did not progress. It seemed cursed this game. Barely got a shot. It’s also a fault of Nagelsmann’s system because it just doesn’t happen to players like him. Every time he received the ball he was super productive, always playing it extremely well with his usual heel strikes and finishing balls, but his partners just couldn’t do anything in the final third. A poor attacking performance, and it started with the tactics that chained Lewandowski.

Serge Gnabry is not Leroy Sané

Serge Gnabry left on the left. An objectively horrible decision by Nagelsmann. The kind that makes every fan scream on their screen. We’ll find out later that Gnabry was used in a Leroy Sané-esque role, dropping into the hole in midfield to collect the ball and move forward while Davies provides width down his flank.

It did not work. Gnabry is simply not the same player as Sané. Sané has a completely different presence. His dribbling is way beyond what Gnabry is capable of, his passing vision is something else entirely, they have different preferred feet (Gnabry prefers his right, Sané prefers his left) causing odd passing angles that aren’t usually not as difficult, Sané is much quicker than Gnabry and tangentially, contributes much more to defending against counter-attacks: something that would prove an important quality against this very structured but fast Villarreal front line.

Lack of cohesion in midfield

Tangentially related to the Gnabry question was this. Gnabry provided less defensive and overall prowess than Sané. On top of that, the midfielder was less defensively shrewd and less rushed as Leon Goretzka was brought on the bench in favor of Jamal Musiala. It wasn’t the right move as Musiala just didn’t provide the same support as Goretzka when he came on later in the game. Kimmich advanced as he normally would with Goretzka in the squad, but as Goretzka wasn’t actually there, this resulted in no presence in midfield behind Kimmich to cover him as Musiala would still be in a forward position at the search for the killer ball. It left a gigantic gaping hole in the middle of the park which Dani Parejo and Étienne Capoue used to full effect, dominating play. Nagelsmann needs to seriously rethink his tactics and the way he sets up this team. We can win the second leg but we risk a demolition against Liverpool if this is the level of tactics we expect from the team.

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