FC Bayern München need fifty minutes to rediscover their fighting spirit to finally win against Bayer Leverkusen.
Three thoughts about Saturday’s game.
Is Pep Guardiola still coaching Bayern?
Familiar Pep Guardiola patterns are still showing under Carlo Ancelotti, although his predecessor has been coaching at Manchester City for a few months.
Putting Philipp Lahm in the midfield for a so-so performance was an experiment of the past for most Bayern fans. Compact play in one area of the pitch with a couple of wide guys, or a wide full-back with little winger support, are tactical features taken from Pep’s philosophy. They do not work that well anymore.
It does not look like Ancelotti has brought his own tactical playbook to Munich, save for the 4-3-3 formation. When is he going to define his own game plan?
David Alaba may have heard the wake up calls he received. He was rampant on the left flank, starting with a great dribble against Benjamin Henrichs six minutes into the game.
The Austrian’s runs and crosses messed up the Leverkusen defence on several occasions, including the one that created the first goal. His interaction with Douglas Costa on the left looked more natural than ever.
This is welcome since Alaba is a key component of an effective two-way playing system.
It looks like FCB rediscovered the art of the counterattack only in the 30-35 minutes of the game. Costa and Robben put in a shift when pressing against Leverkusen’s passing game, disrupting them regularly.
A reunited Ribéry-Robben pair launched some dangerous counters, showing that the grumpy old men still have it although Robben bottled a few. What matters for them is remaining healthy.
I look forward to more efficient defending and threatening counters if the Reds want to provide it.