That’s that for the 2021/22 season folks. Bayern Munich close the season with a draw against VfL Wolfsburg. The game started well and Bayern got an early lead but allowed the Wolves to get back into the game and snatch a draw from the Bavarians. Here are the match observations:
Dead wood game that came alive in the second half
Bayern won the title three matchdays ago and with Wolfsburg in 12th place, both sides had nothing to play for. The Wolves had a pragmatic start to their game, allowing Bayern to hold much of the possession. A well timed header from Josip Stanišić from Joshua Kimmich’s corner, gave Bayern an early goal in the 17th minute. A Mullendowski goal in the 40th minute gave Bayern the double goal cushion and it seemed like the game was going to go Bayern’s way from there onwards.
Jonas Wind however, pulled it back for the home side with a crucial goal in the last minute of the first half. Another goal within the hour mark left the Wolves with 30 minutes to win the game and hounded Bayern to make it happen. Bayern missed chances and looked the team with the lesser hunger to win. It was another one of those games were the draw could be seen from a mile away, no matter the number of chances Bayern created.
Wolfsburg’s calculated press
The amount of space on offer for Bayern in the first half was astonishingly coming on the back of recent intense games. Bayern hardly ever left the second gear and had a two goal lead by 40 minutes. The home side’s pressing was not an all out press, but rather a limited press with packs of 2-3 players exerting pressure whereas the others did not budge from their positions. Bayern did not feel the pressure as they had plenty of passing options since Wolfsburg favored structure over marking.
All of that changed in the second half. The Wolves’ pragmatic first half meant that they had plenty of energy left for the second half. They upped the intensity and with Kruse’s goal in the 58th minute, the home side went to town. Bayern refused to shift up gears and could not outplay the Wolves. Wolfsburg had only 35 percent possession in the first half, which is a complete contrast to their 47 percent possession in the second half. With Thomas Muller subbed out in the 60th minute, there was no way Bayern could have regained control without drastically increasing their intensity.
Not a lot of young blood
When Nagelsmann said he would be giving time to the youngsters after sealing the title against Borussia Dortmund, he got a lot of hopes up. But in the following three games, only three youngsters found their way into the starting lineup during that time – Tanguy Nianzou, Jamal Musiala and Josip Stanisic. Musiala is a semi-starter, so that makes it only two. Gabriel Vidovic saw some game time against Mainz and today against Wolfsburg. It was a great opportunity to have a couple of kids start every game with Muller and Kimmich organizing the structure and guiding them.
I know this is early and nothing is officially decided, but after Brazzo’s statement, I see little chance of Bayern holding on to Robert Lewandowski. I thought I was prepared to let go and be happy that it happened rather than be sad that its over, but as the clock ticked on in the game, the realization of Lewandowski no longer playing for Bayern hit me like a bag of bricks. It has truly been an era with the Pole. Plenty of things to talk about if things go the way they are headed at the moment, but at least, we had one last Mullendowski goal if this was Robert’s last competitive game in Bayern’s colors. Thanks Lewy.