How did Bayern score against Stuttgart?
What a week for Bayern fans: avoiding another potential group of death in the Champions League, finally getting Javi Martinez to Munich and now starting the Bundesliga season at Allianz arena with six goals. Just like last week, I once again wanna show you how these 6(+1) goals happened, who’s to blame and who’s to celebrate. Don’t worry, there’s nothing complicated coming up and I have pretty pictures to support my words.
The match ended as lovely as it gets but let’s not forget that the beginning wasn’t that wonderful. Bayern struggled (Neuer’s world-class save that deflected the ball to the crossbar prevented an early goal against) and just as they took over control, Stuttgart scored first. How could that happen? It’s quite simple, Thomas Müller even explained it in a post-match interview. Let’s look at the situation.
Free kick VfB, you can separate the box into two halves. The left half, where you have the Bayern players in good positions to stop the cross, and the right half, indicated as blue circle. Here you can notice one thing if you look at the matchups, luckily enough I indicated those too, as little dots in different colors. Three Stuttgart players are all dealing with a Bayern player but the guy with the blue dot, goal scorer Martin Harnik, is unmarked and ready to exploit that by not moving towards the center and thus increasing the area for himself. A simple mistake, explained easily: defender Jerome Boateng wasn’t on the pitch. The collision that resulted in the free kick forced him to leave the pitch for a minute and his teammates weren’t smart enough to react to that by adjusting the matchups. Boateng would’ve been in the blue circle but, since he couldn’t be on the pitch, wasn’t. That Harnik converted this chance with a stunning finish only added insult to injury.
It took the team a few minutes to recover but oh boy they did. The next minutes caused all Stuttgart fans to share a reaction. Let’s move step by step.
Müller time. A decent attack for Bayern but one you see several times in every home match, 3 against 3.
Mandzukic has the ball, Müller and Ribery are waiting for a cross with both facing a direct opponent as the circles show you. Similar to Dante’s goal in Fürth, one step made all the difference.
Boom. Ribery, his opponent and Müller’s opponent (green circle) all keep moving closer to the goal. Thomas Müller (blue circle) on the other side doesn’t care about the majority and adds a little sidestep. Now he’s unmarked right at the edge of the box. Mandzukic sees that (big credit, couldn’t expect such a good eye from a striker), plays the perfect pass and Müller, since he’s Müller, shoots immediately. Ulreich saves, rebound, Müller scores (with a very smart finish, by the way, he was thinking while shooting, others would’ve celebrated mentally already).
Replays were still shown and Bayern worked on another goal.
Different angle because, as I just said, the key moment wasn’t shown live. Bayern with very good pressing (the blue lines indicating the direct battles, the circle the area of action). The problem for Stuttgart here was that the player with the ball is in a horrible position. Facing his own goal, five teammates are no passing options because they’re all behind his back. Three of five others are marked, a pass to one of them would cause more danger. His only option would’ve been a pass like the green line indicates, giving the defender or maybe even the keeper a chance to just get rid of that ball with a clearance. However, he decides against it, tries to dribble and loses the ball to Luiz Gustavo who plays a quick pass to the moving Toni Kroos. Thunderous shot, goal, 2-1.
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably read my tweets explaining the Gustavo/Martinez situation. I said Gustavo is great defensively but not a good man for the offense. In this match he did a brilliant job to prove me wrong (although I still stand by my point which was mainly that he doesn’t function under pressure, none of his good actions last afternoon happened under significant pressure). Why am I telling you this? Because he scored a goal. Let’s look at it.
Situation similar to the 2-1, Lahm with the ball moving towards the goal line as you expect a right-footed player to do here. Of course, his opponent expected that, too, and moved accordingly (green line). Yet Philipp Lahm was a step ahead and decided to cut inside (don’t yell Costa Rica, it was as right-back so it’s not legit). The blue line shows you his movement, the red area shows why it was so very smart because that one swerve made it possible for Bayern to exploit said area. Move your ass, ref, here comes Luiz.
Good situation, right? Now everybody expects a pass to the left flank, a typical Bayern move you might wanna say. Thomas Müller (green circle) even tells Gustavo to pass the ball to what I assume would be Franck Ribery. The Stuttgart player responsible for the Brazilian in this moment expects the very same and, in a moment of laziness, doesn’t really attack Gustavo because of that (as I said, no real pressure). The red area is what the VfB man covers, the blue area is the space Luiz Gustavo has to do whatever he likes. Similar to Tymoshchuk, he has a powerful shot and likes to try that every now and then. Gustavo shoots, Gustavo scores, Gustavo celebrates. Two Stuttgart players expecting the usual, unprepared for the minimal change, that’s all it took for this goal to happen. If you ignore the whole what-a-fucking-hell-of-a-shot-was-that thing.
Second half, second triplet of Bayern goals. Isn’t it delicious…
Delicious? Perfect key word for Toni Kroos, the home-made delicacy.
This goal was pretty much an individual mistake but as the blue circle shows you, Bayern’s pressing happened very early in that case. Kroos attacked the opponent (who cares about names, pay me if you want that extra bit) who lost the ball. Counter attack, Kroos’ perfect pass to Müller, Müller’s shot saved, rebound converted by Mario Mandzukic. Not too much to say about this one.
Time for goal number six, number five if you count the enjoyable ones. Everybody knows about Manuel Neuer’s throwing abilities yet Stuttgart couldn’t stop the inevitable.
Corner kick VfB, Neuer grabs the cross and throws the ball away like David Hasselhoff a good burger. The green line shows you the throw. That one lonely Stuttgart man took a risk and tried to block it but wasn’t successful, leaving Franck Ribery with a shitton of space as the blue area points out.
Not much tactics behind that one but how often do you see 5 attackers against 2 defenders in a league match? Not scoring here would’ve been the more difficult option.
Last but not least, the 6-1. Three pretty pictures for you.
Jerome Boateng has the ball, his direct opponent (I think it’s Ibisevic who certainly showed more passion later on) doesn’t even try to stop his run. Just like last week, Boateng plays a very smart pass (blue line) to Toni Kroos. Very smart because Kroos’ opponent, for whatever reason, decides to move away from him to mark Mandzukic (green circle). Kroos now has lots of space to operate but doesn’t want that, he immediately plays another pass.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was in a good position, Kroos saw that and reacted with the pass. However, the defender did a good job, not giving Schweinsteiger a chance to control the ball. Luckily for Bayern there’s always Thomas Müller. You can’t even see him in this frame but he’s unmarked and ready to claim the pass that Schweinsteiger couldn’t get.
Here’s Müller with the ball. What are his options here? Stopping would kill the attack for now. All he can do is play a cross to either Schweinsteiger or Mandzukic, that’s all the defenders have to take care of now. You could easily have two men defend Müller (we all know his ability to create penalty calls so you’d want two opponents in the box) and still have three defenders against two Bayern players. However, three Stuttgart players decide for focusing on Müller, including the only man (in this pic the only one already inside the box) who could prevent a Schweinsteiger header. If he alone moves inside, there’s a great chance that nothing happens. But he doesn’t and Bastian Schweinsteiger now has that red area all for himself. Müller’s crosses can be very good, this one was, 6-1. The rest was silence. And Pizarro. And Shaqiri. And Martinez.