Hinrunde Reviews: Bayern Munich

The 2017/18 Bundesliga season has reached the halfway stage, giving us here at the Bundesliga Fanatic the opportunity to take stock of each club’s progress so far. Here, we look at how Bayern Munich have fared in the Hinrunde.

The story so far

Sitting pretty at the top of the table going into the Winterpause with an 11-point lead might give the impression that everything has been plain sailing for Bayern in the Hinrunde, but that doesn’t quite give the whole picture of the first half of the season.

It would be far better to divide the season so far into two parts- the Ancelotti days and the Heynckes days.

Two opening wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen were followed by the now customary defeat to Hoffenheim with the help of the quick thinking ball-boy. Mainz and Schalke were both dispatched, before the ‘blip’ period against Wolfsburg, PSG and Hertha Berlin where Bayern failed to win any of the three games.

An undercurrent of discontent was bubbling away at the Sabener Strasse with it emerging that a core of players were dissatisfied with Carlo Ancelotti. With the Italian duly sacked and speculation mounting that Thomas Tuchel was to be brought in, the world of football was shocked when Bayern recalled treble winning trainer Jupp Heynckes from retirement.

A 5-0 win kicked-off the fourth Heynckes era and Bayern haven’t really looked back. A 2-1 loss to an impressive looking Borussia Mönchengladbach aside, FCB have looked back to their smooth-running best.

As they Hinrunde wound down, so did Bayern to some extent with three consecutive 1-0 wins to round off the year. Their points tally of 41 in the Hinrunde is however the club’s worst in six years, but yet they still lead the table by 11 points, which says a lot about the consistency of the challengers.

Stats central

P17 W13 D2 L2 F37 A11 Pt41

  • Bayern won 13 of 16 Bundesliga home games in 2017 (3 draws) and remain unbeaten in the Allianz Arena for the entire year in the Bundesliga for the 1st time since 2013
  • Franck Ribéry made his 366th appearance in all competitions for Bayern on matchday 16 – more than any other foreign FC Bayern player!
  • Bayern have hit the woodwork 15 times in their 17 games- a Bundesliga high.

Top Performer: Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski does exactly what a goalscorer is there to do- he scores goals (and lots of them). The Hinrunde has seen the prolific Pole start 16 of Bayern’s 17 games and he’s found the back of the net an amazing 15 times with 4 penalties amongst that tally.

His goals have come in shapes and sizes, but there have been a couple of stand-out efforts. His cheeky back-heel against Dortmund showed huge quality and was almost a carbon-copy of his goal against Werder Bremen.

As Bayern’s only recognised out-and-out striker the pressure is on him to play every game and deliver, but he seems to thrive on that role and will have his eyes firmly set on regaining the Torschützenkanone back from Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who pipped him by one last season.

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The summer signings

All of Bayern’s transfer acquisitions have made a positive start their time at the club. Niklas Süle has slotted in alongside Mats Hummels when chosen to start and even scored on his debut against Leverkusen.

Midfielder Sebastian Rudy, Corentin Tolisso and James have all been given game time in Bayern’s rotation. Frenchman Tolisso has scored twice as has Colombian James Rodriguez, who has won over many of the doubters with a growing reputation the result of some excellent displays.

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Hinrunde lowlight

The 2-2 draw at the Olympiastadion against Hertha on matchday 7 saw Willy Sagnol taking temporary control following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti and just like the previous weekend Bayern were to surrender a 2-0 lead and drop valuable points when victory looked assured.

At home to VfL Wolfsburg a howler from Sven Ulreich handed the visitors a share of the spoils and then came the midweek debacle in the Champions League against Paris St Germain. The champions were to take a 2-0 lead in the capital with goals from Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski, but a poor five minute spell at the start of the second half saw goals from Ondrej Duda and Salomon Kalou get Hertha back into the match.

Bayern realistically should have taken six points from the two games, but had just two on their record.

Hinrunde highlight

The Klassiker four matchdays later was to prove just the tonic for a much improved Bayern now under the guidance of Jupp Heynckes. Any win at the Signal-Iduna Park against their rivals, but the style in which this one was achieved gave extra reason to cheer.

A fantastic opener from Arjen Robben after 17 minutes was added to by Robert Lewandowski’s audacious back-heeled effort on 37 minutes. David Alaba put the result beyond BVB midway through the second half meaning Marc Bartra’s late goal was a mere consolation.

Bayern were on the way up, rivals Dortmund on the other hands were headed in the opposite direction.

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The forecast

A sixth successive title seems a foregone conclusion for Bayern, but Bayern being Bayern, there is bound to be a few bumps in the road until they hoist the Bundesliga Meisterschale at the Marienplatz in May.

There is a question as to whether Bayern will splash out on a back-up striker to Robert Lewandowski in the transfer window with youngster Kwasi Wriedt drafted in this season. Sandro Wagner’s name has been the one mentioned most audibly.

The quest for the Champions League will intensify with the league seemingly under control. A seemingly easy (-ish) tie with Besiktas lies ahead, but all eyes will be on making the final in Kiev in May. Who’d bet against Jupp Heynckes working his magic once more?

Speculation will also rise as to the identity of the Bayern trainer for the 2018-19 season. Jupp Heynckes has already intimated he’s only here for the short-term, contrary to Uli Hoeness’ statements. Julian Nagelsmann will continue to be linked, but there will surely be a few more names thrown into the hat before the end of the season.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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