A bad week just got worse for Bayern Munich as the champions lurch from one disappointment to another. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Mainz has handed the advantage in the title race over to Borussia Dortmund and started a new round of the blame game at the Rekordmeister.
It is a sentence that is going to seemingly haunt Bayern Munich for a very long time. Spoken by President Herbert Hainer following the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann: “We talked extensively for a long time and in the end, all three of us [Kahn, Salihamidžić] were of the opinion that we had to react in order not to jeopardize our goals – thank God we still have a chance in all three competitions”
The fact that Bayern are now down to one competition (and that’s in jeopardy) and that new coach Thomas Tuchel has only won two of his first seven competitive makes their decision to change the coach so late in the season even more questionable.
Last week Borussia Dortmund failed to capitalise on Bayern dropping points at home to Hoffenheim, but this week the Schwarzgelben did regain the top spot in the league table after the Bavarian’s debacle in Mainz.
It is understood both Oliver Kahn and Herbert Hainer spent around 15 minutes in the changing rooms speaking to the players after the defeat at the Mewa Arena and Kahn was almost apoplectic when speaking to the TV cameras afterwards.
“Who was the team that wanted to become German champions?” he asked. “It was definitely not ours. Each individual must take a look at themselves and ask themselves whether this is really enough to achieve the goals
“In the end there are eleven men who are on the pitch and who simply have to work their ass off for the goals of this club. That’s what football is about – and nothing else.
“Every player has to question themselves. What do I want to achieve when I’m on the pitch? What willingness do I bring with me? What commitment do I bring with me? Everything that characterizes football besides pure play was simply missing in our team in the second half.”
President Hainer was also quick to put the blame for the loss firmly at the feet of the players. “We had the game completely under control in the first half, leading 1-0 and forgot to score the second goal. After the 1-1 we broke up completely. The second half was disappointing, that I have to say it very clearly.
“When you see two halves that are so different and we collapse like that – it’s really difficult to explain. You’ve seen that a few times in the last few games. I can’t say what’s the reason. The coach will work on it. You can tell that there’s no security in the team there’s more when there’s a goal against.”
The debate will rage on as to who takes the lion’s share of the blame for the recent performances. The fans are clearly turning against the triumvirate of Kahn, Hainer and Salihamidžić, and as yet, have given coach Thomas Tuchel a free pass. However, it is the players on the pitch who didn’t put the game to bed against Hoffenheim, who failed to score when dominant against Manchester City and who had no answer when Mainz upped the pressure on Saturday.
Bayern do have a number of under-performing stars (Yann Sommer, Dayot Upamecano, Leon Goretzka), but the quality is there and both Hoffenheim and Mainz should have seen six points on the board rather than one.
It may not be a case of Dortmund winning the Bundesliga, rather than Bayern throwing it away. If the fallout now is bad, just wait till Bayern lose their crown and end the season empty handed.