Bayern Munich maintained their 100% start to the Bundesliga season with a 3-0 win at mid-table Mainz. Mainz made life difficult for the German champions in the first half however Bayern’s superior quality showed in the second half and once they had broken the deadlock, the 2nd and 3rd goals were relatively simple for a team of their quality. As for Mainz, their season will arguably not be defined by matches against top level opposition such as Bayern and they can take heart from their defensive resolve that helped keep Bayern out until the 51st minute.
Goal 1: Lewandowski (51′)
In the first screenshot Bayern are facing a fairly compact Mainz defence and Clemens is pressing Rafinha from a good angle using his cover shadow (red triangle) to block the pass into Lewandowski between the lines. Bayern thus decide to circulate the ball in search of a better attacking opportunity. Note the positions of right flank players Lahm and Coman in the second screenshot which is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is opposite to the common practice of wide players drifting inside and full-backs staying wide, with the full-back in this case taking up a central position. Secondly it shows one of the benefits of Guardiola’s rule that wingers and full-backs never occupy the same vertical line. Lahm’s central positioning attracts De Blasis towards him and potentially creates a 1v1 opportunity for Kingsley Coman against Bengtsson if the ball is played to him quickly enough which is advantageous for a player with his pace and dribbling ability.
As it turns out De Blasis adjusts his positioning as the ball comes out to Coman however he has no trouble beating him on the outside. Bengtsson comes out to meet him but Coman whips a deep cross in early.
Lewandowski ghosts in at the far post managing to avoid being picked up by Mainz defenders Bungert and Bronsinski. The striker then impressively plants a curling header right into the corner as the image above shows.
Goal 2: Lewandowski (63‘)
As usual Bayern have a high numerical presence between their opponents’ midfield and defensive lines with players occupying both attacking half spaces which poses questions to Mainz’s midfielders. Do they drop to protect their defence and give Bayern’s midfield players time on the ball? Or do they pro-actively defend the 10 space using cover shadows at the risk of exposing their defence?
It is common knowledge that it is easier to score goals against a team once you have broken the deadlock but this is not only valuable on the transition. As this goal shows, when you have possession your opponents must attempt to win possession back at the risk of creating gaps in their defensive structure and Bayern take advantage of this ruthlessly.
Mainz are potentially attempting a trap here, In leaving the pass to Alonso open, they invite Thiago to pass to him. Once this pass is made four Mainz midfielders surround Alonso and the defensive line push up, however the potential trap is quite poorly executed and the pass to Vidal is left open. Alonso makes the pass to Vidal which is fatal for Mainz given that their defence is pushing up, Vidal has space and Lewandowski is running in the opposite direction. Remember “a high line without pressure on the ball spells danger”.
Vidal then plays a simple pass to the in-form Lewandowski (who is possibly offside) who then rounds Karius and rolls the ball into the empty net.
Goal 3: Kingsley Coman (68‘)
In the above scenes Bayern take advantage of Mainz’s high individual ball-orientation, Rafinha is pressed by De Blasis, Clemens and Muto but has the simple out ball to Costa. Usually Bayern have to work and manoeuvre to create 1v1 situations for their wingers and Costa in particular however this one is created through Mainz’s desperation. With Costa’s superior pace (qualitative superiority) and his directness Brosinski was in trouble as soon as this situation was created.
Costa, rather predictably, skins Brosinski and has enough time to get his head up and spot Coman’s far post run (who takes advantage of Bengtsson’s ball-watching) and he flashes a low cross across towards him. Coman simply could not miss.
Originally posted on Outside of the Boot