Considering the way football tournaments are organized, it seems like there is no pause between seasons. Hence, a feeling of a never-ending festivity. And yet, yesterday’s match made me think of how much I had missed watching Bayern play. A 60-minute match in the Liga Total! 2011, in which Bayern met with Hamburger SV. As soon as it started, I felt such an excitement as if I just ran into my old friends. I immediately thought of the last season and how difficult it was, how nerve-racking at times. Yesterday’s game felt like a fresh start. The excitement of a new season is here. Too bad that Bayern picked up almost right where it left off last season: the problems in defense.
If I had to describe the game from Bayern’s perspective, I would choose two words – “no direction”. Perhaps, Bayern had a creative spark during the game, but it led to nothing. Granted, Toni Kroos, who came on as a substitute in the second half, scored a goal, and that left some kind of satisfaction. Overall, Bayern’s performance was a mess. Their defense is still in disarray. Rafihna was not feeling well, so I am still waiting to see his and Robben’s teamwork. On the other hand, Lahm played again, – should I say ‘officially’ now, – on the left, pairing up with Ribéry.
I have to say that it is unusual to see Lahm on the left. (I can almost hear people contradict me, “But he started as a left-back!”) It is as if the world was wrong side up, although I realize that the things are, for some, in order. To be honest, he could have played better. There is no doubt about it. But then, is it legitimate to ask that of him right now? He goes back to the left side after playing two seasons on the right. Sure it requires some adjustment time. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to say that yesterday Lahm was at his best. He made a mistake which led, directly or indirectly, to our second goal. He could have been better, though he was good. He tried to stay focused and gave the game as much direction as possible. Around the 48th minute, Lahm stopped Töre (Hamburger SV) without really trying: the latter bumped into Lahm as one would into a wall, who was getting ready to fight for the ball, wanting to go past him, and forgot to take the ball with him. Lahm took it from him, and Bayern went on. Philipp also made a run with the ball from left to right at some point, in order to distribute it differently. He made several runs to the center as well. Overall, a good performance.
Granted, I was disappointed with the result (Bayern lost 1:2), but I believe it would be unfair to have high expectations at this point. (Have I mentioned that I have them, too?) The team needs to continue working together, so they can get a better understanding of each other and of the coach’s expectations and/or ideas. While I would suggest giving them time, it is clear that more serious games are approaching. I hope Bayern will treat them as such. Thus, viel Glück!
PS.: some time ago I came across this commercial for the Liga Total! 2011 games. Among several other players, Lahm was inviting everyone to join the fun and come to see the matches.