It is always difficult to lose. It is probably even more difficult to watch your favorite team lose. Still, it is even harder to watch them lose like Bayern lost to, first, Borussia (1:3) and then to Schalke 04 (0:1). The former was a decisive moment in the Bundesliga, for Bayern’s hope for the title was alive. Barely but alive. Losing to Borussia was a disaster. Bayern played as if they did not quite know what to do on the field. I had no idea as to what has happened to my favorite team. The players did not communicate effectively with one another, hence many missed opportunities, slow passes, a complete disarray… Philipp’s performance was not as spectacular as in the match against Inter, but it had high quality to it. He was active in defense, and he also did try to start attacks over and over, but some of those opportunities were not developed. After the match, Lahm was one of those few who went to thank the fans. Interviews? Of course, he did those as well. Somebody has said, “Lahm is the most talkative in our team. Too talkative.” Well, surprise! He is the captain. That is his responsibility.
I do not write about Bastian Schweinsteiger because it is not my purpose here, but I have to say that his performances have been lacking Bastian’s usual spark. They were bad. After the match against Borussia, in which two of the conceded goals are the result of Bastian’s mistakes, he went to the locker room without thanking the fans, without talking to the media, with his hood pulled up. Why am I telling all this? I am telling this because I have heard plenty of times that Bastian is a soul of the team, that losing a game takes an emotional toll on him. How can a person inspire his team if he cannot pull himself together? (There are those out there who believe Lahm does not have what it takes to emotionally lead the team). The reason why it’s Philipp who leads the team should become clearer for some fans out there.
In his turn, Lahm was not happy with the result. Why would he be? I believe it is very unpleasant when one tries, and things do not improve. He was asked to give his opinion on the matter, and he did (see the previous post). I have read people say things like “such a statement from the most diplomatic captain in the world is a like an exploding bomb in the face of the head coach.” Please note that he did not blame anyone but got his message across all the same. That’s what I call leadership. Anyone can be an emotional leader. Not everyone can be a leader. Period.
Losing to Schalke 04 with the Spanish score, i.e. they scored just one goal, was even a bigger disappointment. Lahm’s call for “all or nothing” and the change of tactics was neither heard, nor taking into consideration. Or, perhaps, it was not Bayern’s day. I believe it was their worst game in this season. Lahm along with Robben, Gustavo, and Müller, were doing all they could. The stakes were high: going to the finals and winning the German Cup. Not only was Lahm playing in the defense and participating in attacks, he also found himself in the central midfield. What was he doing there? Helping the midfielders out. The team was demoralized and tired, both physically and mentally. Van Gaal made his usual statements (read: it was not in the cards for Bayern that day). Lahm… Lahm made his. Concise, frustrated, composed.
The fans are not happy. I can imagine that the bosses are not happy either. The players are not happy. What’s left? To hope for the best, I think. A game against Hannover is coming up this Saturday. I am not sure what Bayern we will see on the field.