Season just starting and there are already “surprising games” all around the leagues. This week we saw the defeat of Bayern Munich against Hoffenheim and Monaco against Nice. Drops of forms, the beginning of the season or just small mistakes? This is what we will see here.
Hoffenheim against Bayern Munich: 2-0
This game is a bit like a reunion. Sold this summer at Bayern Munich, Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy found their former garden. The first on the bench, the second in the starting eleven. Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann had to go without the services of Serge Gnabry, loaned by Bayern and with an injured ankle. On the right wing of the Bavarian attack, Thomas Müller started his 400th match under the red jersey. But his quest for a 286th victory proves more difficult than expected. If the visitors dominate from the outset, they face a compact and solid defence that prevents Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman or Corentin Tolisso from completing their attempts.
Hoffenheim then multiplied the counters and found the fault at the twenty-seventh minute via Mark Uth. A more than a contentious goal, as two balls were on the field during his strike. Not enough to influence the referee who returns both teams to the locker room with a taste of bitterness for some and the rage of defeat for others.
In the second period, the trend remained the same: Bayern has possession, but the defence was very fragile. The proof is when Hoffenheim doubles the bet five minutes after the beginning of the second period. With an accurate centre of Steven Zuber, Mark Uth had only to shoot past a helpless Manuel Neuer. Carlo Ancelotti has to bite his fingers to have so turned his squad, letting on the bench players like Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and James Rodríguez (all three entered during the game), especially in view of the absence of executives like Alaba (injured), Boateng and Vidal (both still physically out of shape after the international week).
Comparing pass network shows how Bayern Munich dominated the game with more than 70% of ball possession and 23 shots while each Hoffenheim player has failed to make more than 5 passes to another (almost).
At the final whistle, Hoffenheim is the co-leader of the Bundesliga with Dortmund. Bayern, meanwhile, has a surprising fifth place. A burst of pride is to be expected next Tuesday with the reception of Anderlecht in the Champions League.
The two goals from Hoffenheim this weekend just showed how Alaba and Boateng are important in defence and this defeat will be only one of two or three this season, Bayern being so much superior to their opponents in terms of numbers and experience.
Nice against Monaco: 4-0
Nice stumbled since the start of the season, and woke up at the best time, to put an end to ASM’s unbeaten record in Ligue 1 (24 matches: 22 wins, 2 draws). After 16 wins in a row, Leonardo Jardim team took a realistic lesson in Nice (0-4), just like last season (0-4, 22 September 2016). A heavy defeat that leaves ASM at three lengths behind PSG.
While Leonardo Jardim aligned the same starting eleven for the fourth time in a row, the good balance – especially against OM (6-1) – did not work. If the ASM overall was superior in the conservation, it was not able to be precise in the last gesture, thus setting its first shot in the 84th. Worse, the team has multiplied the errors, collective and individual, perfectly exploited by Nice. Djibril Sidibé cracked first by hooking Mario Balotelli in the area (6th), unnecessarily for the first of the Italian’s two goals.
Then the Monegasque block was porous to let Alassane Plea make the break (18th). Still more pressing, Monaco sank definitely at the hour of play, with Mario Balotelli completely lonely before Danijel Subasic (60th). The Nice block remained impermeable, guided by an imperial Jean-Michaël Seri, apparently recovered from the psychological shock of the aborted transfer to Barcelona. The entrances to Ghezzal, Carrillo and Jovetic – his first with the Monegasque jersey – have not changed the face of the game. The Monegasque nightmare continued with a fourth goal against the young Ganago (18 years old), just entered the game. A result that has finally launched the Nice season.
Mute against Nice, Monaco saw its series of 36 matches in a row with at least one goal scored in Ligue 1 to stop. The last goalless match of the Monegasques in the Championship went back to 22 September 2016 in Nice, already (0-4). ASM did not know how to be dangerous. The side players, in particular, were of a rare indigence, with a ghostly Thomas Lemar, and a Rony Lopes on the same level (clear on the pass network). Falcao also went through the game without showing up. The departures of Kylian Mbappe and Bernardo Silva and others rumors will undoubtedly count for the title race, especially when we look at how PSG has strengthened
After Chelsea’s defeat against Burnley in matchday 2 and these two defeats, the champions have never been so fought: there is likely to be suspense all over the season.