Blue days at the Allianz

Bate and Bayern had the same idea in the second halves of their respective matches. Hold on for a home draw. However unlike Bate, Bayern Munich happened to be one of the 10 richest clubs in the world. Lyon visited the Allianz tonight and scraped by with a 1-1 draw against FC Bayern thanks in part to an own goal by DiMichelis; however, it more so due to a startling lack of immediacy on the part of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Bayern leveled in the 52’ when Oddo threaded a ball to Klose at the edge of the box, which the German international took to the by line and let fly across goal. Toni made a superb run than sucked in two defenders, leaving plenty of space for the ghosting Ze Roberto to run into and head the ball in for the equalizer. Things looked on the up for under fire trainer.

Oddly, after that, Bayern seemed content to sit on the point for certain, while hoping for a gift in two more. They completely dominated possession throughout the match. They had a significant advantage in shots, corners and free kicks, but as they visibly tired, there was no cavalry for the rescue and thus no win.

What they lacked was change.

Ratings for FC Bayern
Toni: 5.5 – Maybe its bad luck, but he’s just missing too many chances.
Klose:8 – Energetic throughout and created many opportunities.
Ribery:6.5 – Lively, but forced to the fringes by Toulalan. Visibly tired early in the second half.
Scweinsteiger:5 – Much like Ribery was forced out of the game but even on the wings he provided little.
Ze Roberto:9 – The suggestion that he has lost his legs is absurd. Covered more ground than anyone and scored the equalizer.
Demichelis:8.5 – Mark Van Bommel just lost a job. Didn’t put a foot wrong as DM. Unfortunately did put his head wrong once.
Lahm:7 – Solid coming forward and I think I saw him defend once or twice.
Oddo:4.5 – Crossing was rubbish to the point of being comical. Ran his socks off but was done late.
Lucio:6 – Hard to judge as Lyon weren’t attacking. But didn’t do anything wrong.
Breno:6 – See above
Riensing:6.5 – Little to do, but after recent events, doing his job when called upon is a good thing for the young keeper.
Borowski: N/A – And we will get to this

It’s really this simple. Klose works well with Podolski. Toni works well on his own with Ribery working behind him. Mixing and matching outside of those parameters becomes a formula for frustration. So either go with the 4-2-3-1 with Toni holding as I keep harping upon; or, bench Toni and play two complementary forwards. It ain’t rocket science.

Out of Ideas?
Borowski was the only sub made by Klinsmann and it was in the 83′. Do you know what an 83′ substitution is called? Time-wasting!

There was quite simply no plan B. He played a strong lineup. I liked the very Spanish 4-4-2 he employed. It gave Bayern possession and chances. But this is a team lacking confidence. So some of those chances were squandered. So rather than seeing that his opponent was playing a very conservative counter-attacking system which clogged the middle, he left well enough alone. He passed on a chance to shake things up to help them get the boost of confidence.

Ze Roberto and Demichelis both performed excellently tonight. But one would have sufficed. Klinsmann didn’t need a double pivot when he wasn’t facing an attack. The obvious thing to do is sacrifice one for an attacker: Borowski, Sosa or Podolski. With three in attack, Toulalan can’t focus on Ribery and Makoun can’t focus on Schweinsteiger. The new variable forces change to the organization of Lyon and frees someone to get the ball down the center channel. This should have been done at the half.

Also Ribery is just returning from a long lay-off. Oddo has just joined the team. Both of these players faded midway through the second half. Rather than putting on fresh legs to run at the defense minded French, Klinsmann did nothing and their input into the game deteriorated as his chances at full points went down the drain.

Tactics isn’t change for change sake. It’s recognizing the opposition and responding. Klinsmann failed on this measure tonight.

Jermey Toulalan
What an amazing game this guy had. He would not allow Ribery to roam. He closed down the left channel inwards and forced Ribery to the periphery. It should be something Bundesliga trainers take note of. However, Toulalan is also one of the classiest defensive mids around, so don’t expect all clubs to replicate his performance. Also he plays the simple pass, which is nice. Bayer 04 should take note. Toulalan was easily man of the match over both DiMichelis and Ze Roberto.

Lyon’s Tactics
Here was Claude Puel’s talk with the team before the game.

“Try to get fouled about 50 yards from goal. We will use Juninho’s set piece ability to devastate them.”

Well at least that’s how it played out. Juninho’s free-kicks were the only offense Lyon attempted other than a couple of counters where they literally didn’t know what to do once they had broken behind Bayern’s defense.

Playing for an away draw is common, but this was so cynical that even Ranger’s Walter Smith called it insipid. But it worked because of a lucky bounce and the fact that Klinsmann refused to react.

I’m not a fan of Lucio, but he had a strong game tonight. Little to do, but more than capable when needed. He limited his runs and thus didn’t leave Breno stranded. Three or four times a year, I have to do this. But before long he will return to the center-back who wanted to be Pele and things will go sour.