The Bundesliga is back from its winter break after the World Cup, but Bayern Munich have yet to receive the news that the season has resumed. The Rekordmeister dropped two points with RB Leipzig (1-1) on Friday and need a world-class finish from Joshua Kimmich in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Köln.
The Spitzenspiel result against Leipzig was of little concern at Säbener Straße, but after Tuesday’s match against Köln it was a slightly different story. The first half was poor as Bayern failed to find a solution, especially after Ellyes Skhiri put the visitors 1-0 up against the Billy Goats.
Bayern Munich is creative, Weak in depth in their deep runs, Köln looked incredibly vulnerable whenever they won the ball quickly in transition. Köln may have been disappointed that they didn’t score a second, effectively ending the game in their quick transition.
“We need to discuss the approach and the attitude, especially after the first half,” Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich told the media after the game. This is usually the case in the first half of the season. I asked him to stop this as soon as possible. It was better in the second half.”
Bayern Munich’s new goalkeeper Yann Sommer echoed Kimmich’s sentiments. “We didn’t play well in the first half and made a lot of mistakes,” Sommer said. “We were able to put more energy into the pitch in the second half. It was a great goal. Unfortunately, it was a bit late. If only we could have equalized. We would have won earlier.”
Bayern Munich were better in the second half. But part of the truth is that at times there have been retellings of Germany’s games in Qatar. The Rekordmeister would end the game with 78% possession and dominated 855 to 243 shots.
“We were better in the second half,” Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann said, “Köln made it difficult for us. The second half was as we imagined. If we keep it up, I believe we will get back to winning ways.
Bayern certainly improved after Kingsley Coman joined Serge Gnabry—he faced post-match criticism for taking an unauthorized trip to Paris—and Ryan Gravenberch replaced Leon Goretzka. Two substitutions made Bayern Munich play faster. But Köln can still throw away the final third, making it difficult for the likes of Jamal Musiala to find space in the box.
In the 68th minute, Musiala was sent off and replaced by Thomas Muller. Visible Musiala lacked innovation and creativity before the World Cup. Without Musiala, Bayern Munich have few ways to break through deep defensive lines.
Instead, Kimmich needed a world-class finish in the 90th minute to equalize for Bayern Munich. Kimmich’s strike from outside the box was certainly exceptional, but it highlighted the Rekordmeister’s frustration at finding solutions inside the box.
Re-signing Musiala could be the solution to many of Bayern Munich’s post-World Cup problems. But expect the Rekordmeister from the rest of the league to need a few more games to shake off the World Cup rust.
Frankfurt can close the gap at the top of the table with a three-point win over Freiburg on Wednesday. It will be a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday when Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt in a real Topspiel.
Manuel Veth is the host. Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He is the Guardian, Newsweek; howler Also published in Pro Soccer USA and many other outlets. Follow him on Twitter. @ManuelVeth