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The Set: Bayern Munich 1-2 Cologne


I doubt many people expected Cologne’s visit to Allianz to produce one of the best games of the weekend, but Christophe Daum and his scrappy side went to Munich (with only one win in their last 15 visits) and shocked the Bavarians. Two beautifully crafted counters along with 45 minutes of organized defending was the formula for the Billy Goats. But one cannot look past the egregious call made 13 minutes into the game that would have changed the look of this game significantly.

However, the poor decision by the linesman should not clear Bayern of a woeful display in front of their faithful, and it should definitely not take away from an inspiring performance by Cologne. The win breaks a streak of four straight draws and sets the promoted side 10 points clear of the drop zone, which should clear them of any further worries. Meanwhile, the favorites lost their fifth game of the season (3 more than the whole of last year) and they now have allowed as many goals as bottom-dwelling Gladbach at home. Defense is a big issue, and it would seem that they might possibly be the least likely of the “group of six” to end up with the title come season’s end.

Seven Random Facts about Bayern and Cologne

1. Offsides

So Babak Rafati interprets the rule for offside differently? In his world, any pass, whether its from your own player, or glanced off say the head of a defender like Kevin McKenna, counts toward the attacking player’s position. Had Klose’s goal been allowed to stand, rightfully, how different the game might have been. Cologne were playing a simple counter attack, which could be expected of any underdog away side. But had they been forced to chase the game, especially so early on, this tactic would have had to been abandoned and Bayern would have had more organization. Thus Cologne would not have been able to exploit the bevy of holes in the Klinsmann’s defense.

Regardless, the most impressive part of this goal was that, despite the deflection by McKenna, Klose kept his concentration, adjusted his angle on the ball and finished the goal. It’s too bad it didn’t stand on it’s merit alone.

2. The Modern “M”

We call it at 4-3-3. It is closer to a 4-5-1. But the truth is that Daum has set out a modern M (without the W) in his midfield. It looks like this:

Cologne's Modern M

In our haste to define systems in a slightly rigid way, it is interesting to note that Daum is doing something completely different. And it is working. It is easy to look at Petit and say he’s a DM, but he’s not playing that Makalele type role that we have come accustomed to defining the position by. He plays higher up, breaking up play before it can get to the deeper lying Brosinski and Pezzoni. And play does flow through him, unlike a typical holder. And with him obviously capable of tracking back, the deeper midfielders do have license to get forward. Brosinski was able to get forward and was pivotal to both goals. I’ve seen Pezzoni do the same, although today he was more committed to defense.

3. Brosinski and Brecko on the right

First, you do not need to check their pockets for Franck Ribery. Few could completely nullify the diminutive Frenchman. But the two of them had an objective, which was to crowd Ribery’s space, and they did a spectacular job of it. Ribery was still a danger, but Brecko shadowed him the entire game on the wing and Brosinski covered the channel. Ribery was not the factor we have come to expect as he wasn’t able to run at the defense and he was often forced into hurrying his passes. These two showed that tenacity is enough to limit Ribery’s impact and give any team a chance.

4. The Sweet Counter

A nice counter attack is a beautiful thing. Cologne’s first goal came of a fantastic one, led by their new signing and Ribery agitator, Daniel Brosinski. Podolski was stripped of the ball by Brosinski who then threads a pass to Vucicevic through three Bayern players. Vucicevic plays two give-and-go’s with Petit in his own half and Novakovic in Bayern’s half that covers and third of the pitch and sets him free in front of Bayern’s defense. Ehret meanwhile ghosts in from the left. Oddo fails to follow and Dimichelis, who had a poor match, does nothing to stop the Frenchman’s run. Vucicevic threads a nifty pass into space and the angling Ehret gets to ball and slots it in to the far post for the first goal.

Cologne's First Goal

5. Speaking of Ehret

Perhaps Klinsmann was trying to get the best out of Podolski by playing him against his former/future club. Rather than inspiring the Clownprinz, what he did was inspire Fabrice Ehret, who had a blinding game. He looks to occupy Podolski’s position in Daum’s modern “M” and I don’t see Podolski being able to win the position as he doesn’t have Ehret’s tactical acumen. Ehret is a better player, at the moment, and Podolski could face an uphill battle to unseat him. It seem he’s bound for a similar situation in Cologne to the one he faces in Munich. As the saying goes, “never go back”.

6. Like for Like

Klinsmann tactic’s are going to be heavily analyzed as Bayern go into full scale crisis mode. However, it’s justified to blame them. While he set out a system that should have worked, it wasn’t. And rather than changing it, he only swapped pieces. Ribery was never moved to the center where he might have benefited from the change. He stuck to two strikers, when one or three might have caused McKenna and Geromel to change their stations. And he stuck with a back four when it was obvious that Cologne had set up shot to protect the lead.

His substitutions were all like for like with Donovan coming in for Podolski, Altintop for Schweinsteiger and Borowski for Ze Roberto. All three substitutions were like for like, rather an attempt to change the dynamics. It was either arrogance or stupidity and it did cost them the game. Not as much as the non-goal, but still.

7. Lucky

Due to the fantastic effort by the whole of the Cologne side, I find it rather hard to say that they were very lucky to win this game. While the goal-that-wasn’t isn’t their fault and they took advantage of the gift, I don’t think Daum was smart to set 10 behind the ball for 45 minutes. He got away with it, but when you defend a lead (with no care to increase your lead) for an entire half against a decent side, let alone Bayern Munich, you have to consider yourself lucky to get the full 3 points. While Bayern did pull one back late, they had a dozen build ups that should have resulted in the leveler and winner. Geromel and Mondragon were on top form, but they rode their luck to the victory.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Juliet

    February 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I sometimes wonder about Klinsi’s willingness to try new tactics after his initial failure with the 3-5-2 experiment.

    There is no reason the BM back line should be so fragile — with the exception of Oddo, who is surely better than Jansen, it’s exactly the same as last year. But here they are, making all kinds of insane mistakes. And Rensing so far hasn’t shown himself capable of handling the pressure when the back line screws up. BM may be on the transfer market again this summer, because I’m concerned about Rensing facing the next round of CL competition.

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