Bayern Munich – Bayer 04 Leverkusen: superbly organized Bayern get easy win against directionless Leverkusen
With a mix of great structure, counterpressing and individual brilliance Bayern Munich had no trouble against a timid Bayer Leverkusen side (3-1).
After losing their first two matches Bayer 04 Leverkusen were desperate to finally get their first points against the defending champions Bayern Munich. Leverkusen were seen by many as one of Bayern’s main challengers, but so far have faltered out of the gates.
Leverkusen manager Heiko Herrlich is reportedly already on the hot seat, although the rumors of former RasenBallSport Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhüttl have since been shot down by sporting director Rudi Völler. With injuries to Charles Aránguiz and Julian Baumgartlinger, Leverkusen were short on playmaking midfielders. Herrlich looked to avoid another heavy defeat, but the question was how to do that. Would he experiment with a flexible three man backline like he did in the opening match of last season, or come up with another tactical surprise? Would he press Bayern high or sit back in a low block?
Heavy rotation by Kovač
Niko Kovač’s appointment as Bayern manager was received with skepticism, but so far the Croatian has answered all his critics. The Bavarians crushed Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup and lead the Bundesliga with six points from two matches. Kovač also had a few surprises and rotated his squad ahead of the Champions League match against Benfica on Wednesday. Rafinha replaced David Alaba, while Serge Gnabry and Corentin Tolisso got their first starts for Franck Ribéry and Javi Martínez respectively, with Leon Goretzka, the man of the match against Schalke, not even making the squad.
Bayern's positioning when they had the ball
Bayern lined up in their usual 4-1-4-1 . . .