It all seemed to be going so well for Bayern Munich but after dropping five points from an available six, questions surely must be asked of Niko Kovac’s side. Conceding a late equaliser to Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg kicked proceedings off before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against Hertha BSC on Friday night.
The Bundesliga champions failed to score for the first time under Kovac while it’s the first time that Hertha Berlin have beaten Bayern since February 2009. To make matters worse, Bayern struggle after finding themselves two goals down – the last time Bayern have won a game in the Bundesliga from this scoreline was back in May 1988 against Bayer Leverkusen.
Winning from two goals down was never going to be easy but in truth, Bayern Munich never really looked like scoring against Hertha BSC on Friday night. Twenty-four attempts and only four on target shows a problematic area for Kovac and Bayern. Against both Augsburg and Hertha, Bayern managed 36 shots, yielding just one goal.
So, there’s no denying that they’re able to create chances, it’s just converting them. On Friday night, there was no place for Thomas Müller while Franck Ribéry’s performance received criticism. Many had called for the Frenchman to be replaced but instead, it was Arjen Robben who made way for Müller while Serge Gnabry also provided Bayern with a different impetus on the game.
With no shots on target in the first half, Bayern Munich looked much like their usual selves in the second-half. Creating multiple half-chances, on another day it could well have been a different story for Robert Lewandowski & Co. but credit where it’s due, Pal Dardai’s Hertha Berlin defended well and in numbers.
Friday night, Bayern Munich dominated every stat whether it was shots, possession, chances created or passes completed, the Bavarians were the better side but more importantly, the scoreline is the only stat that matters.
“We’ve missed so many chances and conceded two avoidable goals. We’ve made mistakes and we got punished,” said Kovac. “I think we played a good game overall but the result makes it difficult to justify that. If we converted some of our chances, we would have been talking differently about the performance.”
Hertha Berlin’s opening goal could certainly have been avoidable. Jerome Boateng once again proved to be reckless, making a needless challenge to award the hosts a penalty – which drew criticism from former sporting director Matthias Sammer: “Jerome Boateng is not allowed to do such tackles inside the box. It was unnecessary and shouldn’t happen. Jerome is playing with commitment but at the moment he looks over motivated and reckless.”
Of the top five leagues, Barcelona are the only reigning champions alongside Bayern Munich to have tasted their first defeat of the season and so it’s not all doom and gloom for the Bundesliga club even if they have just one point in their last two fixtures.
“That’s not a problem at all. It’s our first defeat. Many people said that we won’t lose a game this season. It happens. Anyone who knows the club knows that we don’t get brought down easily,” said Kovac.
And rightly so. Bayern Munich will never give up. If anything, one point from a possible six is only going to spur them on to do much better. They’re a team that has a winning mentality and one that always do. It’s why they’re so strong in the Bundesliga and while some may suggest it’s because they buy the best domestic players, it’s largely down to the structure that Bayern Munich have in place.
Bayern Munich will want to continue their 100 percent start to their Champions League campaign with Ajax up next, but with Borussia Mönchengladbach followed by VfL Wolfsburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05, it could be a tough October for the German champions.
“Luck was not on our side. A week ago we had the impression that we are invincible, now reality has caught up with is,” Müller told Bild. It’s statements like this that suggest that Bayern Munich players and coaching staff know they can’t take their foot off the pedal. Do so, and the waiting Borussia Dortmund may just challenge them for the Bundesliga title this season.
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