In fact, there weren’t any Chinese on the field far and wide, and you could quickly check that again on the line-up sheet during the half-time break in FC Bayern’s game against FC Augsburg on Saturday. It was the sports reporter Werner Hansch who once doubted the validity of some statistics with the famous words: “According to the statistics, every fourth person is Chinese, but there are no Chinese involved here.” And skepticism is justified. Before the Bavarian derby, the numbers said that the Bundesliga teams with the most sprints per game met here, 253 (Bayern) to 250 (Augsburg). So that’s what high-speed football had promised, racing up and down the flanks. At the break, a respectful greeting to sports comrade Hansch was appropriate.
With the pace shown up until then, especially Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann could be happy that at least the morning snow showers over Bavaria had cleared up in time – not that anyone caught a cold before the Champions League second leg against Villarreal on Tuesday. There was little to indicate the subsequent 1-0 (0-0) victory. The hosts had not managed a single shot on goal in 45 minutes. Tactically, a lot of things weren’t that wrong, but just too slow, as Nagelsmann later judged. But he also said: “We’re in a phase of the season where it’s not about glamour, it’s about points.”
In fact, this game was far from glamorous. Augsburg defended well and were even the better team: In dire need, Munich’s central defender Dayot Upamecano cleared a mistake by his neighbor Tanguy Nianzou against André Hahn, who was ready to score, and Augsburg’s Daniel Caligiuri, alone in the penalty area, simply took too long to finish, which is why he tried was still blocked. After half an hour, the Augsburg fans shouted into the silence of the Munich Arena, which was sold out for the first time since last November: “Here the FCA rules!”
What then happened in the Bayern cabin? Nagelsmann later said it didn’t get loud, but he did address a few things very clearly.
Before the game, the Bayern coach initially had something completely different to do. He apologized for his criticism of SC Freiburg, which he had voiced a few days earlier because of their appeal against the scoring of Bayern’s 4-1 win in Breisgau, in which one Munich player was too many on the pitch for a few seconds. Nagelsmann openly admitted that he “didn’t understand the dimension of the whole legal issue,” which is why he “made a mistake” with his statements and also sent an apologetic message to Freiburg coach Christian Streich.
Nagelsmann’s announced line-up got a bit mixed up before the game because defenders Niklas Süle (slight fever) and Lucas Hernandez (bruised thigh) who were scheduled to start were out. However, that had little to do with the lack of intensity that Munich initially showed. Between the options of making amends for the 1-0 defeat in Villarreal and rest for the second leg, they unconsciously opted too much for the latter.
Anyway, after the break, Bayern returned with a different attitude, a different body language. Suddenly there was momentum in their actions, the previously compact Augsburg around midfield clearer Niklas Dorsch now got problems, and not just because Jamal Musiala came on for Serge Gnabry at the break and shortly afterwards Marcel Sabitzer and Davies came on for Leon Goretzka and Omar Richards .
Sané leaves the square visibly frustrated
In addition, Kingsley Coman came for Leroy Sané and he was angry – about the substitution, his own performance or both. He also “noticed that the handshake was different, less frustrated,” said Nagelsmann about the scene in the 64th minute, but: “I’m not angry, we don’t have to make a headline out of it.” Which probably means that one is made out of it because the coach also had to say critical words about his dribbler. “He knows he can play better than he has in the last two games – and he will.”
After the changes, the game turned more and more into a duel between Bayern and the clock – and against Augsburg keeper Rafal Gikiewicz. Immediately after the restart, he fended off a header from Robert Lewandowski, later he fished a slightly deflected shot from Joshua Kimmich out of the corner in a similarly spectacular way, he threw himself at the feet of the oncoming Lewandowski, Musiala shot just to the left, Coman just missed to the right. And if, yes, if there hadn’t been a late hand penalty for Bayern, “we would have had a very good chance of taking a point here,” Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl knew.
Weinzierl mourns the chances
Reece Oxford had his hand on the ball after Lewandowski’s header, “unhappy” and “bitter”, said Weinzierl, “but you can give it.” Robert Lewandowski didn’t miss the chance to score the winning goal from eleven meters (82′), and Weinzierl once again mourned the missed opportunities in the first half. “If you don’t shoot, you won’t score,” he summed up the hesitation in some scoring situations. Then the opponent just substituted “brutal speed and quality”.
Nagelsmann particularly emphasized Sabitzer and Coman, whose acceptance would ultimately have saved Munich’s points. Sabitzer even showed his best game so far for Munich. In the end there was a happy victory – which was the 150th for Joshua Kimmich and the 300th for Thomas Müller in the Bundesliga, which no field player before him has achieved. This for friends of statistics.