Saying that Bayern Munich is in a pickle is quite the understatement.
They usually struggle away against minnows like Rostov, let alone against giants like Real Madrid, and if all of that wasn’t enough, it has been confirmed today that Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng will indeed be missing the upcoming blockbuster game at the Bernabéu.
When it comes to Bayern, add an away game to a frail back-line against a Spanish team, all while being a goal behind, and you will end up with a recipe that can be summarised in two words: Atrocity and disappointment.
Of course, this recipe could not have seen the light of day if Bayern at least salvaged a draw on their home turf, the very turf on which they haven’t lost a single Champions League game ever since July 2014 – a 16-win run.
This is an unprecedented run which took tremendous financial and physical efforts to keep alive, only to be unnecessarily thrown out the window because of some very careless mistakes. What were these mistakes? What has catalysed the utter breakdown of the efficient Bavarian machine?
The obvious answer would be the red card, which has certainly had its influence on the outcome. But, quite frankly, the Bayern machine was spewing and stuttering long before that incident, and ever since the 45th minute. The main reason of this embarrassing result at home is because of that one ghost that has been haunting Bayern ever since they lifted the treble, that one stormy cloud that has been indefinitely hovering over their heads.
We have seen what the machine is capable of prior to the game against Los Blancos, some beautiful chemistry and real team-play with outstanding results which help support my bold claims.
The final score was 4-1 versus Dortmund and 6-0 versus Augsburg, a whopping ten goals in three games. However, when there is a bolt missing from it, the machine’s efficiency halves at best, and depletes at worst.
The simple presence of Robert Lewandowski to convert that penalty – the one which was sent on a one-way trip to Africa by Arturo Vidal – would have kept the CL dream and run alive and well. Thomas Müller was non-existent, and he cannot and should not be blamed, as he is no striker or spearhead. Javi Martinez is naturally a midfielder, but he had to cover for Hummels at the back, arguably excusing his horrendous tackle and the red card.
Making excuses and whining will benefit no one. Bayern must remind themselves of exactly who they are, and follow the words that are engraved ever-so-appropriately on Vidal’s neck, ‘Never Give Up’. They have to pick themselves up and dust themselves off, letting bygones be bygones, and the first step towards achieving this is a pleasing display against Bayer Leverkusen in their next fixture.
My final word to all Bayern players, staff, and coach Carlo Ancelotti would be to have self-confidence. Walk onto that turf on which you were slayed four years ago like gladiators, back with vengeance, with bloodshed as your main priority.
Make the best use of your fit players, and play with the motivation and passion you played with against Augsburg. You are your worst enemy if you allow the situation of the first leg to get in your heads.
You are only a goal down, and if there is any team which can overturn that at the moment it’s you. Remember how Barcelona was written off, and they overturned a four-goal deficit?
Anything is possible in football, and be aware that we will be right behind you, a red wall of millions worldwide, no matter the outcome, no matter the situation. Do us proud.
Mia San Mia.