Clinical or pedestrian? – Three Thoughts from AEK vs Bayern

Clinical or pedestrian? – Three Thoughts from AEK vs Bayern

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Manuel Veth –

It has been two games since Bayern München’s bosses, President Uli Hoeneß and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, have hosted a memorable press conference in Munich. In that press conference, the bosses slammed the media, in what they deemed, unfair reporting on Bayern. On Saturday Bayern then defeated Wolfsburg 3-1 and AEK vs Bayern München also ended in Munich’s favour as die Roten won that game 2-0.

AEK vs Bayern München – Pedestrian or clinical?

Two games, two wins and 5-1 goals in Bayern’s favour. On the surface der Rekordmeister is back on track. But at the same time, Germany’s record champions looked sluggish in the first half and at times bereaved of ideas.

It took until the 62′ minute for Bayern to finally break down the Greek champions. Trying too many plays through the middle in the first 45 minutes the Bavarians had identified AEK’s Michalis Bakakis as the weak link.

Hence, more direct play over the right, with Rafinha as the main outlet, led to two quick Bayern goals. In the second half Bayern were, therefore, definitely clinical.

The first half, however, showed that the chemistry is not quite there at the moment. Thiago, Arjen Robben, James and Robert Lewandowski played too many false passes or lacked consequence in AEK’s penalty box making it easy for the Greeks to defend in the first half.

AEK vs Bayern München – Bayern to open for counters

Bayern bossed possession and created most of the chances in the first half. But AEK were not completely without chances either.

AEK vs Bayern München - Bayern Munich's Brazilian defender Rafinha (L) vies with AEK's Greek midfielder Kostas Galanopoulos during the UEFA Champions League football match between AEK Athens FC and FC Bayern Munchen at the OACA Spyros Louis stadium in Athens on October 23, 2018. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS / AFP)

AEK vs Bayern München – Bayern Munich’s Brazilian defender Rafinha (L) vies with AEK’s Greek midfielder Kostas Galanopoulos during the UEFA Champions League football match between AEK Athens FC and FC Bayern Munchen at the OACA Spyros Louis stadium in Athens on October 23, 2018. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS / AFP)

Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce, in particular, was often given the room to counter-attack whenever a high pressing Bayern side lost the ball. On those occasions, Javi Martínez and Mats Hummels struggled to track back in time.

Defensive weaknesses whenever opponents quickly counter has been an issue since the days of Pep Guardiola. Now with the side ageing, Bayern seem to find it harder and harder to keep the shop closed. Kovac wanted to address this issue by bringing in Kevin Vogt this summer but Bayern’s bosses were unwilling to sign the defender from Hoffenheim.

AEK vs Bayern München – What does it all mean?

Are Bayern over the hill? Has Niko Kovac secured his future? Those are questions that only time can answer.

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Bayern will face Mainz on Saturday at home at the Allianz Arena. Domestically, they are now fourth in the standings but at the same time are just four points behind first-place Borussia Dortmund.

For now, the immediate crisis at the club seems over. Bayern’s criticism of the press at Friday’s press conference, however, means that the media has smelled blood in the water. Hence, one bad result and the media criticism will be back on in full force.


Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada.  Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.

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