Our games against Bayern are always some of the best games of the year. As usual we did an Q and A with Ryan Cowper from BFW to gauge our opponents this weekend.
Q: How has Mats Hummels played so far and are Bayern happy with the transfer?
A: Mats Hummels has been more than satisfactory for Bayern Munich this season. He's not quite back to being the lock down defender he was during the heyday of Jurgen Klopp but Hummels has been a stalwart alongside Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez this season and his skill in possession is as good as it has ever been. Hummels definitely receives a boost from Ancelotti's willingness to defend with a deeper midfield and backline though. That predilection tends to keep Hummels patented reckless 1-v-1 challenges to a minimum.
Q: Do you see Dortmund as your main competition this year or is it RBL?
A: At this point, that's a complete tossup. Bayern's Bundesliga schedule to date has been fairly easy. They haven't played Dortmund, Leverkusen, or RB Leipzig yet, and have fixtures against Wolfsburg (admittedly this seems less hard know than four months ago) and Mainz to negotiate as well. The last month of the Hinrunde is the real test and how Bayern Munich fare against Dortmund and how well RB Leipzig can keep pace will determine who the real competition is this year.
Q: Is Franck Ribéry playing as well as his numbers suggest?
A:This is the return of the Franck Ribery who shreds opposition defenses and should have won a Ballon d'Or. This is the Franck Ribery that every rightback in Europe should be terrified to face.
Q: What are the main differences so far between Peps Bayern and Carlos Bayern.
A: Pep Guardiola's Bayern loved to play in your half of the field. High pressing lateral football was it's hallmark and it was dominating. Carlo Ancelotti loves to play vertically and he's completely fine to drop off, let you have the ball and attack on the counterattack. He accepts allowing the opposition to play in Bayern's half of the field if needed. Bayern don't feel as in control as they did under Guardiola, but at the same time this team never feels like its such a finely tuned machine that a mistake would bring the system crashing down around itself.
Also, players play in logical positions and in logical fashions. The days of David Alaba being asked to play as an inverted box-to-box fullback/midfielder hybrid riding a unicycle while juggling tiger cubs are over.