“I decree today that life is simply taking, and not giving”, Morrissey sang in the ‘The Smiths’ classic pop song ‘Still Ill’ in 82. Many Bayern fans, and maybe even Louis van Gaal, may feel the same way after the teams recent performances.
Two losses at home are a rare thing for the Bavarians, who in fact haven’t done that since 2001. After the exit in the cup, and the dreadful season so far, Bayern have only the Champions League left. Last year the team unexpectedly reached the final of the competition that pitches Europe’s finest against each other. Reviewing Bayern’s counterparts and their form so far this season, it will take a lot for Bayern to win this competition, and at the moment it seems rather unlikely that it will happen for the reds.
The malaise of the defense
That is why Philipp Lahm’s statement in today’s Kicker hit the nail right on the head. The defender simply stated that “the game against Hannover 96 may be the most important game that we will play this season”.
If Hannover win this game, and go five points clear of Bayern in the table, and Leverkusen win their game and go 7 points clear of Bayern the team will face an epic uphill battle for the qualifying spot in the Champions League. Defeat is not an option for van Gaal’s men.
Bayern have suffered all season long from a weak defense. Only in reviewing how many different players have had a go at the central back role in Bayern’s line up one can easily see how Louis van Gaal has struggled to find the right pairing in defense. Additionally has the left back position given the Bayern coach a lot of grieve.
In recent weeks Bayern have also started to look bad when defending set pieces. So Bayern’s problems in defense have spread from the personnel problems at the back, and throughout the whole team.
Furthermore the hailed Robbery attack has let the Bavarians down in the last couple of games. Robben was against Dortmund the player with the most ball losses on the pitch, and was effectively covered up by two defenders all the time. Ribbery has on his side been more threatening when going forward, but didn’t seem his old self.
Make or break time
The game against Hannover might be the one game that decides Louis van Gaal’s future. A loss against the team from Lower Saxony could see the Dutchman fired before the weekend is over according to reports in the German media.
The good news ahead of the game for the Bavarian’s is that Hannover’s most effective striker, Didier Ya Konan, is out with an injury. The team has in recent years performed well against Hannover, 7 of the last 8 matches were won by the Bavarians.
If Louis van Gaal’s team should fail to get their fourth away win for the season, van Gaal probably will identify with another of the classic lines from the ‘The Smiths’ classic ‘Still Ill’: “And if you must go to work tomorrow, well, if I were you I wouldn’t bother. For there are brighter sides to live, and I should know, because I have seen them”
Well, assuming that van Gaal has a job after a defeat against Hannover…
What do you think? Will Bayern turn the corner against Hannover and claim one of the Champions League spots at the end of the season? Leave a comment below!