Schalke 04 – Bayern Munich: Bayern’s fullbacks dominate Schalke’s high press, James dominates in another easy win for the reigning champs (0-2)
Domenico Tedesco’s plans for an upset against Bayern were crushed by an early goal from James Rodríguez. Thanks to excellent fullback play by Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba, Bayern nullified the Schalke press and cruised to victory.
This season, Domenico Tedesco’s Schalke 04 is still without a win in the Bundesliga. Not a great time to be playing the high-flying Bayern Munich - but is it ever? Last season, the 33-year-old coach revitalized Schalke with a mix of stout defending, excellent pressing and occasional glimpses of possession football.
Tedesco could seemingly do no wrong. From changing formations mid-game to deploying the attacking midfielder Max Meyer as a deep-lying playmaker or bringing in a game-changer like Leon Goretzka down 0-4 against Dortmund and rescue a point with a 4-4 draw. It all worked, and by finishing the season in second place Schalke qualified for the Champions League.
The summer departures of Meyer (Crystal Palace) and Goretzka (Bayern München) forced sporting director Christian Heidel to retool the midfield. Sebastian Rudy (from Bayern) joined the team late and has so far not thrived in the Meyer role.
In fact, all of the attributes of last season’s Schalke side have vanished. The pressing is disorganized and late, and the loss of Benjamin Stambouli to injury has left the responsibilities of the buildup and long passing to the powerful but technically limited Naldo and Salif Sané.
In a 1-1 home draw against FC Porto in the Champions League last Wednesday, Schalke showed improved pressing and some better individual performances from the likes of Weston McKennie and Breel Embolo.
Tedesco made two changes to the squad from Wednesday, with Rudy in for Nabil Bentaleb, and Suat Serdar giving way to Franco . . .