Ancelotti’s Bayern kick off the season with a sweeping triumph

Ancelotti’s Bayern kick off the season with a sweeping triumph

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It never was a question of who would win the Bundesliga opening match. Bayern have been firm favourites even without Werder’s problems in preseason and their cup exit last week. All that, and injuries to both Pizzaro and Kruse created the worst possible scenario to face Bayern, and the reigning champions made good use of their dominance.

The home side set up with a 4-3-3, with Alaba playing a more attacking role from the back four. Because of that, Ribéry often roamed into the centre, at times in the 10 space. On the other flank, Müller acted in the role of a playmaker, crowning his performance with three assists. Xavi, Vidal and Thiago constituted Bayern’s midfield, but they barely had to help out in defence. Vidal and Thiago could concentrate on setting up attacks, the latter having the most touches and passes, making him one of Bayern’s key men in the game.

Werder opted for their traditional 4-1-4-1 formation, but it became apparent early on that they wouldn’t get a chance to play according to their game plan. They were forced to fight the Bayern pressure and failed utterly with terrible positioning right from the start. Their defending mostly meant overcrowding the penalty box, Xavi Alonso capitalized on this with a magnificent chip shot to give the hosts an early lead. The second goal showed the ineffectiveness of Werder’s offside trap and these defensive failings don’t predict anything good for them.

Bayern dominated the game and the changes Ancelotti implemented to last season’s game style became obvious. They played more directly, often charging forward without the careful build-up phase typical for Guardiola’s spell. Ribéry’s assist to Lewandowski for the Pole’s first goal of the night is a good example, and they also made use of Hummels’s ability to deliver long passes. There’s also a bigger emphasis on centres and it might have helped Werder keep the two-goal difference until half-time. They were more dominant in the air and cleared the ball, but never eliminated danger.

There was some enthusiasm from them after the second goal. Bayern didn’t play a too aggressive pressing game with the aim to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible. The two centre-halves (Hummels and Martínez) usually sat deeper and dispossessed Werder without taking any risks. Still, the guests barely saw the final third and couldn’t create a single chance.

In the second half, Bayern made a few adjustments. Right after the restart, they capitalized on Thiago winning possession. The three-goal lead allowed them to play with more freedom in attack, something they could safely do with Werder’s inability to keep possession of the ball. There was more creativity and combination, earning them a handful of chances and goals for Lahm and Ribéry.

This wasn’t

the match where Bayern would be put to a real test, but they still showed their power going into the season. Werder ended the night with a humiliating defeat. Considering their form, it’s to be expected that they will suffer in the upcoming matches and Viktor Skrypnyk remains the most probable Bundesliga coach to be sacked first.