FC Bayern: Reflections on Opening Day Loss; Preview Against Wolfsburg

Samrin HasibAnalyst IAugust 12, 2011

Mueller against Gladbach
Mueller against Gladbach

The opening day turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. The new star-studded team came out to dazzle the home fans but instead left the Allianz Arena with no points. Jupp Heynckes essentially stuck with the same lineup he used in Braunschweig.

Manuel Neuer started in goal. Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Rafinha formed the back four. Luis Gustavo partnered Bastian Schweinsteiger in defensive midfield. Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben played on the wings. Toni Kroos played behind the main striker, Mario Gomez.

Bayern dominated the match as expected. However, Gladbach looked like the better side throughout the game. Whereas Bayern did precious little with the ball when in possession, Gladbach threatened each time they moved forward. The Bayern defence played well on the day. However, a misunderstanding between Neuer and Boateng saw Gladbach score through Igor de Camargo.

The Bayern attack looked lethargic. What is more is that both Toni Kroos and Schweinsteiger performed poorly on the night. Mueller was the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing attack. Heynckes was convinced that Bayern would win the match. As a result, he excluded Ivica Olic from the squad. When the time came to bring in Olic for the luckless Gomez, he had to bring on Nils Petersen instead.

Joachim Loew in midweek played Bastian and Kroos together in defensive midfield. The partnership was largely a success. Maybe Heynckes could do the same this week. Gomez was substituted at halftime by Loew. Gomez is being unable to rediscover his touch. Robben's play has seemingly become one-dimensional. Defenders easily guess what Robben is about to do.

Seemingly, Heynckes emphasized so much on defending in training that the attack went out of tandem along with team chemistry. The attack and defence didn't seem to be part of the same team. Gladbach hoped for a draw but came away with much more than that.

So, what does Heynckes do now? Wolfsburg are the next opponents. Wolfsburg blew away Koeln, 3-0, last week. Patrick Helmes, who seems to have found his touch again, scored. Wolfsburg is one of the few teams that will look to attack Bayern and not defend and hit them on the break.

Heynckes can try moving Thomas Mueller back to his original position behind Gomez. Robben might not feature this week. He apparently has a minor injury to deal with. According to Heynckes, he is questionable for the weekend. This could mean that Kroos might feature on the wing. Olic, Takashi Usami or David Alaba might be used on the wing as well.

The question mark for this week lies mainly with the attack than with the defence. Also, Heynckes will have one eye on the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday against Zurich.

Prediction: Wolfsburg 1-1 Bayern