The Bundesliga side have returned from their post-World Cup winter break, but Bayern Munich don’t seem to have gotten the message that the season is back. The record holders dropped two points against RB Leipzig (1-1) on Friday, while Joshua Kimmich needed a world-class finish to salvage a 1-1 draw against Cologne on Tuesday.
The Spitzenspiel result against Leipzig was little to worry about at the Sabener Strasse, but it was a different story after Tuesday’s game against Köln. The first half was particularly poor as Bayern failed to find a solution after Ellies Skerry had made it 1-0 for visitors Billy Goats.
Bayern lacked creativity and deep running depth, and in transition, Köln looked incredibly vulnerable whenever they got the ball quickly. In fact, Köln seemed disappointed that they didn’t score a second goal in one of the quick transitions and ended the game effectively.
“We have to talk about the first half, especially the approach and the attitude. We conceded again after a set game,” Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich told the media after the match. This was often the case in the first half of the season. This should be stopped as soon as possible. The second half was better.”
Bayern Munich’s new goalkeeper Jann Sommer echoes Kimmich’s sentiments. “We didn’t play well in the first half, we made a lot of mistakes,” Sommer said. “In the second half, we brought more energy to the pitch. The goal was fantastic. Unfortunately, it was a little late. If we had equalized, we could have won earlier.”
Bayern were really better in the second half. But at times there were memories of Germany’s match in Qatar, which is part of the truth. The Rekordmeister dominated the game with 78% possession and 855 to 243 passes.
“After the last game, we were better in the second half,” Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “Cologne sat deep and made it difficult for us. If we had scored earlier, it would have been difficult for them. The way we played. The second half was what we expected. If we keep it up, I’m sure we’ll get back to winning ways.”
Bayern certainly improved after Kingsley Coman came on for Serge Gnabry, who was criticized for going without a permit in Paris, and Ryan Gravenbirch replaced Leon Goretzka. Both substitutions brought more pace and depth to Bayern’s game. But Cologne were able to break down the final third, making it difficult for the likes of Jamal Musiala to find space in the box.
Musiala was sent off in the 68th minute to be replaced by Thomas Müller. Musiala lacked the freshness and creativity of the pre-World Cup. Without Musiala, Bayern have very few solutions to overcome a deep defensive line.
But in the 90th minute, Kimmich needed a world-class finish for Bayern to equalise. Kimmich’s strike from outside the box was exceptional, but it highlighted the Recordmeister’s frustration in dealing with his shots from inside the box.
Perhaps bringing Musiala back could be the solution to Bayern’s many post-World Cup problems. But the rest of the league is hoping the Recordmeister will need a few more games to shake off the world title rust.
Frankfurt can close the gap at the table with just three points with a win against Freiburg on Wednesday. That will set the record high for the table when they host Bayern Frankfurt in what will be a true Topspiel on Saturday.
Manuel Vet is the host Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and US regional manager at Transfermarkt. He has also been featured in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA and several other publications. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth