Bayern Munich had started the season officially in Sunday night with a narrow 4-3 win again third division side Erfurt in German Cup 1st Round. Before pointing any fingers at the Bayern side, I would like to praise Erfurt that they did an excellent job to push Bayern to the limit. Their discipline defense and the effective counter attacks made lots of troubles to Bayern. Good luck to Erfurt this season. OK, back to the topic.
Defense: Lack of discipline could describe the defense performance. The first problem was the whole line had pushed up too far so the Erfurt could easily launch the counter attacks. Also, the positioning was pretty bad and left out lots of spaces for Erfurt. Erfurt's offense was too easy to break the offside from the Bayern defense and made those 3 goals. This was all about lack of discipline. Christian Lell (picture, right) was the worst player of the night. He made lots of miss tackles and lost the position invited the Erfurt to attack. His body was in the field but his soul was still in vacation. Lell is not ready for the season starts.
Midfield: The midfield did try a lot of through balls, that was the instruction of Klinsmann for no doubt. This was a good try, as it is one of the best way to guarantee to score goals. Toni Kroos (picture) had been assigned to play at the playmaker position, unlike last season, when he played at the flank. Obviously he made a good progress to enter into the regular first team lineup, but, last night he even scored the winning goal, he was only have an average game. Kroos was the only person to blame in the Erfurt's third goal, his cheap pass stunned everyone and there was no chance to stop the goal. What I try to say here is Toni Kroos has a huge potential to be one of the greatest players in the world in the next 10 years. However, what he needs to do is to convert his skills and talents into the football field to change the whole things around by himself every time. Regular starting can absoultely helps. And I believe Klinsmann will put him to play more than last season for sure.
Attack: The attack is the only thing I praised from last night's match. They had a high quality 4 goals in the match and I believe they are ready for the season start. Yes, I admit that the 2nd goal from Bayern was totally a gift from God. Lukas Podolski was offside and the assistant referee had flagged it up. However, the referee had over-ruled and counted as a score. Besides, generally the Bayern's attack was pretty good in finishing. However, because the team tried a lot of through balls, the possession lost very quickly. Erfurt's midfield defense was strong and fast enough to intercept the pass and launched the fast counter attacks. This is what Bayern needs to improve. Quality possession is more important that quick tempo through balls.
Final words: Generally speaking, Bayern had a rollercoaster ride and it was very lucky that the rollercoaster didn't crash, or else it must be the biggest upset of the season. The players, especially the defense, is not ready for the season start, I hope this match will be the wake up call for them to start the season. On the other hand, I believe the DFB did the great job to rearrange the match schedule last season. Last season the DFB had arranged the first round of the German Cup to the first match of the season from after playing the 3rd round of Bundesliga. This change made the underdogs had better chance to beat the favourites as the favourites had not geared up yet, just like this match. Unlike the original arrangement, the favourites had geared up before the Cup match started so the underdogs were very hard to beat them. This is one of the good ways to stimulate the competitiveness of the match.