It is very difficult to see Bayern Munich struggling in the Bundesliga. The German giants have been dominating the league by winning it every single year since 2013 and they have been so consistently clear above the rest of the teams that some football fans have nicknamed the competition as “the Bayernliga”. So when Bayern is sitting in the 5th place after seven leagues, having won just three and having a negative streak of four games without winning, plus failing to score for the first time in the last 88 league games, there are valid questions to be asked.
It is also worth pointing out that Bayern Munich is having a bit of a slump in form is not uncommon or a sign of a deep crisis. After all, even the most dominating teams are humans, and they can be in need of a little bit of time to fix things with the same coaching staff and players. Heck, there is a very good chance they may win the league anyway. But analysis is what makes football so interesting, and today we are going to discuss the reasons behind Bayern Munich’s poor form in recent weeks.
One of the main reasons behind the recent decline in Bayern’s performances has been, according to a lot of people, manager Julian Nagelsmann’s playing style. Ever since his days coaching Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann has been known for a highly demanding style in terms of physicality and intensity off-the-ball, which is something that has taken a bit of a toll on his players. Add to this the fact that he enjoys playing quite open and taking a lot of risks, which leads to the team often being exposed defensively, and that is something very dangerous in a league with so many quick transitions as the Bundesliga.
This has a bit of a snowball effect. Players are getting injured a lot more often due to the high demands of the playing style, and this leaves key players such as winger Kingsley Coman (who was already injury prone, to begin with), midfielder Leon Goretzka (who recently came back from injury) and attacking player Serge Gnabry. All these injuries have made things a lot more difficult to gel, and there is a lower chance for rotation, especially when it comes to the attacking front.
New signings such as Ryan Gravenberch, Matthijs de Ligt, and Sadio Mané have all struggled with this lack of consistency in the squad and it has been shown. de Ligt has been particularly error-prone during some of his matches, Gravenberch has already voiced his dislike of not playing as much as he expected too, and while Mané started out well with the rest of the team, the reality is that he still hasn’t been the dominating player we knew from his many successful seasons with Liverpool in the English Premier League.
Much has been said that the current drop in performances has been due to the loss of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, but the reality is that Bayern were already scoring goals at the start of the season without much problem, so that has to be taken into account. Another factor worth taking into account is that the Polish striker, while incredibly talented, would have struggled without having the necessary support to perform the way he has shown he can do.
Also, the opposition cannot be underestimated. The opposing teams also do their homework, adapt to the rivals, and also do their research from a tactical perspective to stop Bayern, which is something that Nagelsmann might have to find a way around it. Even during his best periods with Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, there were moments where he left himself wide open and his teams suffered, so that is something worth taking into account.
A team that has been struggling in the physical department is always bound to have a lot of issues moving forward and that case has been no different with Bayern. A lack of consistency in terms of lineups can force the manager to try systems and/or formations that might not be suited to his overarching philosophy, which is something that Nagelsmann has had to do to some degree. But there is also an element of exaggeration of Bayern’s ailment.
The Bavarian giants have been so dominating in the Bundesliga that a slump in form is viewed as a massive crisis when the reality is that even the best teams go through these spells. It’s also worth pointing out that during this poor run of results, they still managed to beat Inter Milan and FC Barcelona in the group of the Champions League while playing some really good football, so it’s not like the team has forgotten how to perform.
In order to gauge a crisis, is important to understand that a club needs to go through that over a couple of months or even seasons, such as Manchester United in the last decade or Juventus in the last three seasons.
Bayern have had a poor month of football, which is something that can happen from time to time and due to very specific causes, but it is very important that we understand that not every bad run represents a major crisis.
The reality is that Bayern Munich have the quality, the experience, and the know-how to overcome this situation, and it would be quite strange and notorious if they didn’t. It is also worth pointing out that Julian Nagelsmann already won the Bundesliga, so that is another feather to his cap as a manager and knows what is necessary to perform in these circumstances.
All in all, it is still early stages of the season, players are slowly coming back from injuries and they are very likely to be pushing themselves to get back on track within the Bayern camp, so it is going to be very interesting to see how things go in the coming weeks for the Bavarian titans and how they adapt to these circumstances.