Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Kim and the problem of a lack of flair

In Heidenheim, coach Thomas Tuchel gave his central defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier a break without need – and was disappointed by their deputies. In the case of Min-Jae Kim, the question now is whether it’s a lack of confidence or the necessary class

Of course, the entire team is to blame for this unnecessary defeat, which has somehow become typical of Bayern. They no longer embody anything that was considered typical of FC Bayern for years. There’s a lack of class, aplomb, a lack of confidence, a lack of ease anyway. A 2-0 lead at a newly promoted team like Heidenheim is therefore no guarantee of a win, as FC Bayern learned painfully but deservedly on Saturday afternoon

And yet a serious reason for the collapse in Heidenheim lies in the central defense. Dayot Upamecano and Min-Jae Kim were long regarded as Tuchel’s preferred duo – now they showed once again why they are no longer. Upamecano’s tendency to make mistakes is nothing new; in Heidenheim, he was particularly at fault for the first goal conceded. Kim, on the other hand, completely misjudged the situation at 2:2, losing sight of goalscorer Tim Kleindienst. He was also wrong at 2:3

Consequences for the Champions League quarter-finals?

This is surprising in view of the South Korean’s CV, who was voted the best defender in Serie A last season. In other words, the league that has elevated defending to an art. In Munich, the 27-year-old has been able to confirm this far too rarely. His lack of instinct for the right decision is often striking: When is it about defending resolutely forward? And when would it be better to drop back and protect? In Heidenheim, Kim looked very unsettled after a solid first half when he conceded the first goal.

The only conclusion for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at FC Arsenal on Tuesday can therefore be that Tuchel reverts to Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier. However, the baton should not be broken for good on Kim. He would not be the first professional to hit the ground running in only his second year at FC Bayern. However, this will require a huge improvement in performance

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