Reliance on 'Robbery' is the first thing new Bayern Munich boss has to fix
New coach, same problems. Following Carlo Ancelotti's sacking, interim coach Willy Sagnol restored Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to the starting line-up. But after both were substituted, a familiar theme emerged.
When Corentin Tolisso fired a speculative shot over the bar from over 40 yards in the 80th minute, it summed up Bayern Munich's lack of ideas in the second half of their 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin in the Olympic Stadium.
Hertha hung on comfortably for the remaining ten minutes plus stoppage time to set a new negative record for the reigning champions. After drawing 2-2 with Wolfsburg last week, it's the first time that Bayern have thrown away a two-goal lead in two consecutive Bundesliga games in the club's history.
The defending Bundesliga champions have now gone more than a week without a victory. Their biggest problem is one that has persisted over the last couple of seasons – a dependence on veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Changing that dynamic will have to be the first task of whoever is Bayern's next long-term appointment.
There was more bad news for interim coach Willy Sagnol when Ribery had to be carried off the field midway through the second half and taken to hospital with suspected knee ligament damage after catching his studs in the turf.
There's a lot to think about for Willy Sagnol (l) and Hassan Salihamidzic
Without the Frenchman – and without Arjen Robben who had been replaced by Thiago Alcantara just moments earlier – Bayern lost any semblance of an attacking threat. David Alaba and Kingsley Coman toiled in vain down the left but their final balls were poor. Joshua Kimmich tried the same on the right but with even less success.
The reliance on the ageing wide men (Ribery and Robben are 34 and 33 respectively) is the first thing which Carlo Ancelotti's permanent successor – whoever it is – will have to correct.
Bayern's most recent offensive recruits haven't convinced. Renato Sanchez has been sent out on loan to Swansea City in the Premier League where he will hope for more game time under Ancelotti's former assistant Paul Clement. Meanwhile, Coman has had a limited impact since Bayern made his loan move from Juventus permanent.
With Thomas Müller struggling for form, Ancelotti brought in James Rodriguez – a world class name but nevertheless a player considered not good enough for Real Madrid, a club Bayern would like to consider a European rival.
Haraguchi (third from left) showed what Bayern lacked
Without "Robbery," there is little sign of the unpredictability, innovation and penetration that Genki Haraguchi demonstrated in the build-up to Hertha's first goal, dancing past three Bayern defenders before cutting back to Ondrej Duda to halve the deficit.
As with all champions, one of Bayern's key characteristics as a team was the ability to produce individual moments of quality to decide games even when all else was going against them. Last season, en route to their fifth consecutive Bundesliga title, those moments came courtesy of Robert Lewandowski in Freiburg, Arturo Vidal in Ingolstadt and Robben in Leipzig – not forgetting Lewandowski salvaging a point on this very ground.
Ominously for Bayern though, that's precisely what Andriy Yarmolenko and Shinji Kagawa were able to provide for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Peter Bosz's team goes into the international break with a five point lead at the top of the Bundesliga and it will be down to Ancelotti's replacement to catch them.