While Pep Guardiola might be trying too hard to change things that worked perfectly well at Bayern Munich, some things remain the same: The reliance on Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to be the difference when things don’t work out too well for the champions, especially with their endless list of injured midfielders.
Whether or not the changes Guardiola is forcing this team to go through will pan out has to be judged at the end of the season, or the moment Bayern won’t be able to catch up with the crazy ride Borussia Dortmund are going through right now. However, it is woth mentioning that Mario Mandzukic is used as a striker and not anything else, while the problems in the midfield are a result of injures to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago and Javi Martinez, forcing Pep to use Lahm and Kroos out of their position.
But the European footballer of the year and Robben continue to be the force that drives Bayern forward despite their struggles. When new systems and schemes don’t work out as planned, it’s always good to fall back on reliable weapons, proven time and time again to be a perfect answer to breaking down a defense that just won’t open up.
Ribery might have looked tired during the second half, but his brilliance and vision made it possible for Bayern to come out of their encounter with Hannover as winners with a 2-0 victory, following Mario Mandzukic’s opener. The Mandzukic goal came from a play that Ribery started, and was one-touch football at its finest, as Robben, Kroos and finally the Croatian followed with clever passing and finishing.
The machine is squeaking, but it’s only natural. Taking a less critical look on things, Bayern have only dropped two points so far and did end up winning the European Super Cup. Pep Guardiola might be learning that his initial 4-1-4-1 isn’t the answer for Bayern’s remodeling, and sticking to a system the players are familiar with is a better idea. It might include a lot more possession football and a different approach to passing combinations, pressing and overall movement on the pitch, but at the end of the day it might not be so different from what we saw from Heynckes last season.
The biggest problem simply might be Borussia Dortmund. No injuries to thwart them, and no manager who is trying to change too many things. New players have arrived, but the system keeps on working at optimum efficiency. Were it not for the hottest team in Europe, maybe Bayern’s start to the season was looked at a little bit differently.
The story right now might be the players who still aren’t playing – Mario Gotze, Thiago Alcantara, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez. Until they get back from their injuries, Bayern Munich will continue to look like a club that’s a little bit lost on the pitch and dependent on their two wingers to get the job done. Luckily for them, it’s not too bad having Robben and Ribery as your fall back options.