Julian Nagelsmann’s reign as Bayern Munich head coach began with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in the first match of the 2021-22 Bundesliga season, with Yann Sommer frustrating the champions.
Nagelsmann, who joined from RB Leipzig during the close season, will have been largely pleased with the overall dominance exerted by Bayern but they were unable to make the most of their chances.
Die Roten looked shaky at the start and were deservedly behind in the 10th minute thanks to Alassane Plea, though Robert Lewandowski – who had previously been thwarted three times by Sommer – volleyed home the equaliser to equal his longest Bundesliga scoring streak (11 matches).
More presentable chances came and went after the interval, with Sommer loving his personal duel with Lewandowski, but the best opportunity of all fell to Gladbach as Bayern were arguably fortunate take a point back to Munich.
Bayern had two lucky escapes early on as Patrick Herrmann shot wide from the edge of the box before then surging on to an exquisite Florian Neuhaus ball only to make a mess of his eventual squared pass to Lars Stindl despite having only Manuel Neuer to beat.
Stindl was picked out by Christoph Kramer, however, with the Gladbach skipper nudging his throughball past Bayern debutant Dayot Upamecano and Plea was on hand to slam past Neuer.
Lewandowski somehow failed to level in the 26th minute when shooting straight at Sommer from point-blank range, but the Pole found his range just before the break as he met Joshua Kimmich’s corner with a controlled volley.
Bayern had firmly established dominance and that continued into the second half, with a desperate block by Sommer denying Alphonso Davies a near-certain goal and he then stuck out a foot to prevent Lewandowski getting his second of the day soon after.
But Gladbach began to create openings on the break towards the end and Marcus Thuram should have sealed the three points 13 minutes from time when he only got the faintest of touches on Stefan Lainer’s pass across the face of goal.
Upamecano was then lucky to avoid conceding two late penalties for clumsy collisions with Thuram, as the spoils were ultimately shared.
What does it mean? Work to do at both ends for Nagelsmann
Getting the main job at a club like Bayern always means you have plenty of talent to work with, and that is obviously the case here for Nagelsmann, though there will be plenty of reasons for frustration after this.
Bayern were especially wasteful in front of goal, only finding the net once despite boasting an accumulative expected goals value of 3.0 – essentially, they should have scored three times as many as they did.
And at the back they rarely appeared particularly convincing, with Thuram’s introduction causing plenty of panic. Of course, it is early days, but there is lots of room for improvement.
Sommer saves Gladbach
As already mentioned, were it not for Sommer’s heroics Adi Hutter’s men could have been on the end of a hiding. The Switzerland international made eight saves in total, a haul that was only bettered six times in all of 2020-21. A fine individual performance.
A Dayot to forget
Upamecano joined Bayern to much fanfare but he looked shaky on his debut. Early on he failed to anticipate Stindl’s flick-on for Plea, and then in the second period he was so uncomfortable when up against Thuram. Twice he looked like he had conceded a penalty but somehow was not penalised on either occasion. Not the best start from the Frenchman.
Bayern will now prepare for their DFL-Supercup clash with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday in the first Klassiker of the season, while Gladbach are not in action again until August 21 when they go to Bayer Leverkusen.