While Bayern may have played well enough to leave Dortmund with a point, the continued poor form of some of the team’s stars is a major concern.
For the first time in league play since 2014, Dortmund beat Bayern. That is roughly two and a half years without a loss to Bayern’s nearest competitors over that period, which is a pretty good balance.
This one, however rare losing to BVB has become, stings. Not because of title implications, although this means RB Leipzig sit alone atop the table. There is a lot of football left to play. Rather, because of how avoidable it felt. Dortmund only put together about 25′ of decent soccer, Bayern about 40′, and the other 25′ were pretty even.
Bayern had their attacking moments, but could not take their momentum and convert it into goals. Much of the better period of play did not see chances created as such, instead just dangerous balls that seemed to find nobody to knock them in.
Joshua Kimmich: Ran around a lot, and had that nifty getaway at the corner flag:
Get Great Kimmich pic.twitter.com/VDqbBtUcMZ
— Antonio McSice (@ShaunFreshNikes) November 19, 2016
That is likely the only Bayern highlight from this match that will be watched into the medium and long-term future.
Robert Lewandowski: Though he did not score a goal, you cannot blame him that much. Of all the Bayern players, he was the only one consistently in dangerous positions. His stoppage time header went just wide, and before that play, he had four other shots of his own.
Mats Hummels: Along with putting in a solid defensive shift, Hummels had two shots on target and was a big presence in the box offensively, especially in the first half. The goal was not his fault, as he made the correct (and really, only) decision to mark Mario Götze’s cross that found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Xabi Alonso: While he had a decent overall performance in the passing game, only about a third of the match saw Bayern play with the kind of tempo and pace that the attack flourishes in. Also, Xabi made a 2015-style error in the second half that almost led to the 2:0 and the end of the match, effectively. Of course, he also almost singlehandedly scored a goal himself, when a second half effort hit the crossbar after it had completely fooled Roman Bürki.
Thiago: Consistently found space in and around the box, was decent passing the ball, and did very well when he hung back, out of the worst of Dortmund’s press.
Manuel Neuer: Little he could do on the game’s only goal, and he came up huge to stuff Aubameyang after Alonso’s giveaway.
Franck Ribéry: While he was probably the best Bayern man in the first half, you could see his second half temper tantrum coming from a mile away. Well, at least I did!
— Scott 🚡 (@heynckelpott) November 19, 2016
Jerome Boateng: Nice all around, but unspectacular. Did not have much to do for large stretches, which is the story of this match. Dortmund had maybe three decent chances, but converted one. He can be assigned more blame on the goal than Hummels.
David Alaba: Not exactly a busy defensive evening, and offensively Alaba had no more than a few decent crosses to his name.
Rafinha: Did a capable job of filling in for Lahm after the captain’s departure.
Douglas Costa: Replaced Kimmich after an hour and was only marginally effective.
Thomas Müller: The continued misuse of Müller is quickly becoming a crisis of its own at Bayern Munich. For the entire season, basically everyone has been lamenting his use on the wing. Those of us who have so much as casually paid attention to FC Bayern since the van Gaal days will be quick to advise any manager, even in a quick game of FIFA 17, not to put him on the wing.
“Müller always plays”, sure. As well he should. But his time on the flank should well and truly be over. It is a waste of his talent, and a drag on the team’s tempo, which was sorely lacking this evening. It is also a shame for the viewer, who is no longer seeing on of the most creative, unique, and talented players in the world reach his potential.
Philipp Lahm: This is one of the worst matches I have seen from Lahm in his entire career. Still better than the average Juan Bernat showing, but Lahm’s drop in form this season has to be concerning. Consider that Carlo Ancelotti felt compelled to replace his uninjured captain with another fullback (Rafinha) while down a goal away to Dortmund. As the ancient Byzantines used to say: “That is not good.”
The International Break: Not only did it break up a solid run of matches and a sense the season was, in fact, progressing, it also helped the injury list claim Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben. Ban international breaks forever.