The euphoria from the 4-2 Klassiker win over title rivals Borussia Dortmund was short-lived for Bayern Munich as they were brought crashing down to earth with Pokal elimination at the hands of Freiburg on Tuesday. The home loss means the treble is now off the menu and new coach Thomas Tuchel still has a big job on his hands to ensure there is no further disappointment this season.
The change of coach from Julian Nagelsmann to Thomas Tuchel was a late roll of the dice from the Bayern hierarchy to prevent the possible loss of prestige that failure to win the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and/or Champions League would bring. A small step was taken on Saturday in the title race, but the midweek elimination at the hands of last season’s beaten finalists was a blow.
Thomas Tuchel does not have a magic wand and the problems that caused the Rekordmeister to find themselves chasing the league title rather than strolling towards it remain. The win over BVB (assisted in part by BVB) papered over some of the cracks, but those cracks are very much still there. The danger is that some other Bundesliga side will expose them before the end of the season and Manchester City will certainly ruthlessly expose any Bayern weakness in the Champions League.
Bayern’s squad on paper is clearly strong enough to stroll to yet another Bundesliga crown, but the individual talent is not bringing the traditional team ethic with it. The growing number of defeats this season are exposing a flaw in this team and Tuchel first has to solve it on a short-term level (eight Bundesliga games and the Champions League) before looking to implement his own longer-term plan in the summer.
The is currently a lack of passion and emotion with Bayern’s problems being summed up perfectly by a clearly annoyed Joshua Kimmich after the defeat the Freiburg at the Allianz Arena.
“It just pisses me off that we’ve missed out on another title. Now we have another one that we didn’t win this season. At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to motivate us when we lose title,” the Bayern captain ranted.
“I don’t think it was necessary to lose today. In general, we lose too many games after taking the lead. Today it was not against an opponent where I would say: ‘They wanted it badly, they were on fire, they took our guts out. That wasn’t the case at all.
“You get the feeling we’re missing a little bit of passion and emotion. We have to turn this anger into passion. We have to play more emotionally” he added.
Bayern will need a reaction this weekend when they return to Bundesliga action, but as fate would have it, SC Freiburg are once again the opponent as the Bavarians travel to the Black Forest looking to defend their newly won top spot.
As mentioned Tuchel cannot just wave a magic wand and erase Bayern’s problems. Joshua Kimmich also admits that some of the Nagelsmann principles remain and are now mixed with the new Tuchel demands. The title race is very much still on with the Bayern ship still capable of floundering. The challenge now is for Tuchel to steady the ship once more or for Borussia Dortmund to take advantage.