Bundesliga rivals see hope after noticing weakness in Bayern defense


While not to blame, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has conceded seven goals in his last two games.

As Bayern’s forwards set Bundesliga records, the team’s defense offers rivals a path to success few had attempted before. Most opponents focus on their own defense first in what is usually a futile attempt to restrain Bayern’s formidable offensive formation.

But Borussia Mönchengladbach showed attacking is the best form of defense when they beat Bayern 5-0 in the German Cup last Wednesday, the Bavarian power’s biggest loss since 1978, and Union Berlin showed again on Saturday that Bayern’s defense can be fallible as they scored two goals before ultimately losing 5-2.

Union’s performance was indicative as they fell 3-0 behind after a hesitant start, then finally started playing after pulling out a goal. Bayern ultimately won, but the late goals stymied the game with the Union bringing the visitors closer.

Neuer was busy in both games helping his beleaguered defenders. Dayot Upamecano is overwhelmed in Gladbach.

“With the exception of Neuer, it was a disastrous performance on our part,” Bayern striker Thomas Muller said after the loss to Gladbach.

“I have never experienced anything like this before.”

On Saturday, Muller was happier after his team scored five goals.

“We found the right answers with the goals,” Muller said.

Bayern’s forwards have now scored 38 goals in 10 league appearances, a record at this stage in the Bundesliga. Robert Lewandowski scored two goals on Saturday to bring his league total to 12 goals.

Lewandowski, who broke Gerd Muller’s league record scoring 41 goals last season, already has 17 in 14 games in all competitions, including five in the Champions League. Bayern’s defense has yet to concede in this competition in matches against Barcelona (3-0), Dynamo Kiev (5-0) and Benfica (4-0).

Bayern can advance to the next round on Tuesday with another victory over Benfica in Munich.

Bayern are awaiting the fitness of defender Lucas Hernandez, who left early on Saturday after receiving a blow below the knee.

“We hope he can be there on Tuesday,” said assistant coach Dino Toppmoller, who replaced Julian Nagelsmann, who was infected with the coronavirus.

Freiburg then visits the Bundesliga on Saturday. Freiburg is in third place after conceding just seven goals so far, as many as Neuer in his last two games.

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