FC Bayern’s run of form has been superb for weeks. A convincing win against Mainz is a great showcase, but the way the team plays also leaves a question mark for the business end of the season.
Mainz the gap
Mainz were disastrous at the beginning of this match, and it helped define the final result.
On the first goal, good use of width by the Bavarians on the flank against a compact defense in the middle created some space. Speaking of space, Robert Lewandowski was left with so much of it that he had no problem finishing with a header. An open inch is enough for someone at his level to score. Imagine a few feet.
The hosts’ marking was deficient and they had no anticipation off the ball. It showed when Thiago Alcântara’s superb individual effort cut through the lines on the third goal.
When Mainz finally firmed up defensively, it was already too late.
High pace a concern
FC Bayern are playing lovely football since Hansi Flick has taken over with the help of Hermann Gerland. However, there are risks associated with the scheme they put together.
In few words, Die Bayern have higher pace, move their feet better, are less predictable and more efficient. They also rotate the lineup very little. This translates into a risk of fatigue in March, April and May.
The recent run of form is great, but will it last?
Müller thrives in chaos
Thomas Müller has been reborn under Hansi Flick’s guidance. Why?
Precisely because of what I mentioned in the previous point. There is a high amount of movement around Müller from the Bayern frontline. Constant footwork and changes in direction help confuse defenses. They create spaces for No.25 to go in. As soon as he drifts inside, Müller is weaponised.
This sort of dynamic was rather common in the treble year, with Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben on the wings. They unlocked defenses, which optimised Müller’s play.
Does this mean that Bayern are playing as well as they did in 2013? That would be a stretch. However, dynamism up front gives the Raumdeuter what he needs to get the job done, even when he plays on the wing. He would be even more of a threat inside, but the turn of events remains a gain for Bayern.
I have criticised Jérôme Boateng an awful lot in the last few years, so it’s only natural to give credit where it’s due. His performances have improved enough to say that he is a steady central defender at this point in time.
A world beater? No more. However, recent matches have shown improvement without the ugly mistakes he made earlier this season and in seasons past.
We welcome that, as Bayern’s squad is still short of manpower in that area of the pitch.