It looked to have been a mere blimp in Bayern Munich’s season but picking up just one Bundesliga point from an available nine has raised questions around the Säbener Straße. A 1-1 draw against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin and a 3-0 hammering against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.
Just one goal in three games isn’t your typical Bayern Munich. This is an elite European club that has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles and if things don’t change imminently, there could be real problems ahead.
From start to finish, Bayern Munich looked off against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening. They failed to produce anything of note going forward while the ageing Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben looked far from their best. Injuries certainly haven’t helped, but fans knew this coming into the 2018/19 season while the club’s hierarchy failed to act.
It’s also known that Niko Kovac wasn’t their number one target to replace Jupp Heynckes in the summer but even so, the former Bayern Munich player and Eintracht Frankfurt head coach certainly deserves the job on merit. The Croat has taken responsibility for the poor form while issues have been dressed internally.
“I assume responsibility. We must work and improve because we are scoring very few goals. We have to act differently,” said Kovac following Saturday’s defeat. “We started the game well in the first 10 minutes but then started making too many individual errors. Gladbach scored three goals from three chances.
“Of course, I had a few words addressed to the team, but this is internal stuff and should not go outside. It’s up to me to change things now and that’s what I will do during and after the international break. I know how football works and I know the Bundesliga. I continue to assume that I have the support of the club, which I had after the first few games.”
When asked about his job security, Kovac said: “I cannot answer that. I know that things at Bayern are different than elsewhere. We played well in seven games and not well in four. We showed before that we can do it. I’m convinced that we will be back & I want to play my part.”
Sandwiched between Bayern Munich’s defeats against Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach was a poor showing against Dutch Eredivisie side Ajax in the Champions League. Despite taking the lead, Ajax controlled much of the game, grabbing an equaliser and it’s a surprise they didn’t go on to win it.
And so, Bayern’s poor attacking performances this season isn’t something new. They’ve struggled going forward in their last four games in all competitions while the international break has probably come at a good time for Kovac & Co. as they look to hit the ground running once they return.
Sunday morning saw both Kovac brothers and sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić held a crisis meeting before their annual Oktoberfest get together but what was said remains internal, for now at least.
Following their 3-0 defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Thomas Müller was clearly unhappy with the current situation within Bayern Munich but remained confident as Kovac’s side tend to start games well, which was also echoed by Robben.
“The situation is brutal. We are doing efforts but apparently we are not doing enough. We have to keep going and start getting points,” said Müller.
Robben added: “We are making mistakes that are punished immediately. Gladbach had two chances in the first half and scored twice. We had a good start but created too little chances. Now we have to be united and go out of this situation together.”
Someone who has been critical of the German national team and Bayern Munich as well as Mario Götze and Mesut Özil is former player and now Sky Deutschland pundit Lothar Matthäus.
“I cannot remember seeing Bayern play this bad. This has nothing to do with modern football. No enthusiasm, no body language, they don’t even bother going into duels. I expect a solution from a team like Bayern, but they don’t have one,” said the 57-year-old.
Quite a damning statement from the player but it’s one that bears some truth. Yes, Bayern Munich have played poorly in their last four outings in all competitions, but this is Bayern Munich we’re talking about, one of the biggest clubs in the world. Players look lost and at the minute, teams aren’t scared of playing against the Bundesliga champions.
Something needs to be changed and while Kovac will almost likely remain in a job for the time being, failure to pick up six points against VfL Wolfsburg and Mainz when the Bundesliga resumes could ask the question as to how long the Croat will remain in the Bayern hotseat for.