Gladbach-Bayern deep dive teaser

They say it’s never good to pose a question you can’t answer, but when it comes to this completely absurd Klassiker (yeah, it’s the real one, sry BVB fans), we’re beyond the realm of rationality.

Absurd numbers

I mean until that Perisic shot which seemed to catch the in-form Yann Sommer by surprise and give Bayern the lead, we saw this ridiculous stat line:

On the whole, Gladbach were held shotless for the first 40 minutes, at 0.03 XG for 50 and finished at 0.6 + the stoppage time penalty for the match. No player other than Ramy Bensebaini, who scored both goals, had more than one shot for the Foals. Bayern’s plethora of chances fell to Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller (0.7 XG) in the first quarter of an hour, but it was Tolisso (interesting side note, he had the most XA on the match in his 20 minutes with 0.6) replacement Ivan Perisic who led them with 4 shots. Although they totaled just 0.2 XG, he also had a couple situations where his hesitancy cost Bayern.

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Kimmich and Bayern beat the press

Tactically, it was interesting to see how little effectiveness Gladbach’s return to the 4-diamond 2 had. The idea seemingly was to press the CBs, then by crowding the center - Stindl would stick to the number six - Bayern were forced wide. If the Thuram/Pléa duo could not force turnovers, the long balls toward Ginter and co were fine, or out on the wings the tough tackling Bensebaini\Lainer duo would be expected to do well vs the Gnabry-less FCB winger core.

Yet, Hansi Flick surprisingly selected Thiago as his number six, meaning Kimmich could play RB. In addition, he would be complemented by a rotating cast of attacking players (Goretzka, Tolisso, Müller, Lewandowski) dropping into midfield to create numerical superiority vs Gladbach’s front six.

Here you can see the 4D2 in action, where the ball far number 8 (Hofmann) is expected to rotate out to the RB Kimmich. The goal, with the central cover is to force Neuer into the long ball.

Yet, as you can see that is not what happened: Kimmich turns inward and Goretzka drops deeper. Together with Lewandowski, this freezes Zakaria enough, and since Stindl can’t get over off Thiago, Bénes needs to stay in his central zone (Tolisso), Bayern can evade pressure.

A few minutes later, we see a similar situation of Kimmich once again making a great decision under pressure from Hofmann : this time Stindl’s taken away by Tolisso, while the 2 forwards must remain with the 2 CBs.

That leaves Thiago wide open, as the gesturing (towards Pléa?) Bénes is reluctant to move up centrally and leave Davies and Goretzka.

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