In what has been a scintillating start for the new-look Blaugranas in the 22/23 season, a defeat at the Allianz Arena to legendary foes Bayern Munich would be a hard pill to swallow.
It was a dominant display by the Spanish side from start to finish and I think Xavi and his coaching staff will be disappointed with the lack of cutting-edge and composure in front of goal after cutting Bayern’s defense severally.
Despite their most recent struggle in front of goal, Bayern Munich was able to hold onto m a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Lucas Hernandez who converted Joshua gimmick’s corner in the 50 minutes before Leroy Sane pounced on Jamal Musiala’s through ball to double the lead four minutes after.
As said earlier, Barcelona looked to be domineering for the major parts of the night as a midfield combination of Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi controlled the tempo across the center of the park but was subsequently downed by their attackers’ shortcomings.
Sadio Mane, the recent £ 35 million acquisition also looked to be uninterested as the Bavarians did little to send the Senegalese international in behind Barcelona’s Defence. However, here are three observations from the 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munchen.
Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Barcelona Attack All Over The Place
The arrivals of Raphinha and Lewandowski as well as the retaining of Ousmane Dembele and Memphis Depay appeared to be a masterpiece from Xavi’s drawing board. Shortly into the new season, his attackers have proved instrumental scoring loads of goals across all competitions but crumbled in their biggest test so far.
Lewandowski was guilty of missing several open-cut chances while Raphinha had to switch flanks after unsuccessful showings against Alphonse Davies. The Brazilian was eventually subbed off in the 61st-minute for Ferran Torres who also did little to nothing to break down Bayern’s defense.
They will need to improve quickly on international grounds if they are to have any chance of returning to Champions League glory to Camp Nou.
A much-needed setback for evaluation
“Yes, there will be rotations. The calendar is very demanding, we need people to have minutes, there is tiredness, fatigue and niggles after the Sevilla match. We have a big squad and we have to rotate. That’s the idea.”- Xavi said
There’s a regular saying “You don’t change the winning team” but as it is said, to every rule there is an exception. Xavi is one of those to defy the claims of this rule as his star-studded squad would be in line for minutes under his management with the pressure increasing due to player selection concerns in the forthcoming world cup.
In a previous interview, Xavi confirmed his plans and ensured everyone in his squad is an integral part of the team but a regular change in tactics and patterns of play is not the way forward for the Spanish boss.
He named a squad filled with promising talents and experience also featuring new signing Marcos Alonso, just a few players from his best starting XI on paper with Kounde also slotting in at Right back.
The left flank was deemed unproductive after Raphinha’s and Alonso’s slow start with Xavi opting to call on the out-of-form Ferran Torres to inject a spark into their attack, a decision which showed no effect in the result.
Bayern Struggles Continue
Bayern have struggled for major parts of this season ranging from unconvincing wins to consequent draws against minnows and their hopes of returning to the top of the table linger on other teams dropping points.
Polish natural goalscorer, Robert Lewandowski, left the German outfit who are used to being a free-flow goal-scoring team to join Spanish giants Barcelona. In response to his departure, Bayern turned their attention to former Liverpool attacker, Sadio Mane, to fill up his boots.
Bayern have appeared to be disjointed in front of goal, stringing multiple passes with no eventual outcome all due to the lack of a target man within their squad. The Senegalese has scored five goals in ten appearances for the Bavarians but that output has done nothing to lace the boots of their former pole striker.
Julien Nagglesman who has always showered Mane with love since his arrival has challenged him to bring out the best in him in a bid to succeed in the central role.
Sometimes (he is) maybe too critical. That he thinks a tad too much,”. “I told him that he could have more self-confidence and more confidence in his abilities as a leader. Of course, we don’t have much time. If everyone starts to see for six months what we can and can’t do, a lot of the games will already be over.
“So, he’s welcome to be even more self-confident and a bit, how shall I say, act positively more arrogant. Too much of it isn’t good either. But I’m not critical of his performance. I don’t think he’s reached his peak yet. I’m looking forward to his peak.”
Bayern would however return to Germany to turn their tides around in the domestic league after an abysmal run of three draws, while Barcelona would return to the drawing board looking to bounce back from the defeat this weekend.