Julian Nagelsmann shows up Carlo Ancelotti again as Bayern Munich struggle to grow

So last season was no fluke. The youth of Julian Nagelsmann once again got the better of Carlo Ancelotti's experience as the Hoffenheim boss shocked Bayern with a plan, something their opponents lacked.

For the opening 26 minutes of Saturday’s match it felt a like a matter of time before the champions would take the lead, Hoffenheim’s recent record against Bayern would be forgotten and the champions would pull clear of the pack.

But then Mats Hummels switched off, the rest of Bayern’s backline failed to react and Hoffenheim led with their first shot. It was a moment that proved to be symptomatic of the Bavarians’ performance throughout their 2-0 defeat.

Despite having 72 per cent of the ball, Carlo Ancelotti’s men looked bereft of ideas, a team without a plan. After Robert Lewandowski’s seventh-minute miss, they failed to create anything more than occasional half chances and resorted to flinging balls in to the box in the final 15 minutes.

Carlo Ancelotti had no answers as Bayern lost to Hoffenheim on Saturday

A failure to focus

Bayern’s players were flat, Ancelotti even admitted to Sky after the game that they lacked focus, and the Italian must take a significant share of the blame for this. Given the magnitude of the game, his team selection was puzzling - Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery were left to twiddle their aging thumbs on the bench while Kingsley Coman and Thomas Müller flanked Lewandowski. Javi Martinez’ selection denied Niklas Süle a rapid return to Sinsheim.

It was Robben’s omission that was particularly puzzling; Hoffenheim’s susceptibility to pace in the channel between their wingbacks and centerbacks was ruthlessly exposed by Liverpool last month. While Coman has potential, his output is poor  – he’s scored only 11 goals in over 5000 career minutes of first team football – and Müller’s form slump is well documented.

Offensive recruitment an issue

After Uth grabbed a second, the Dutchman was called from the bench but it was too late, neither he nor his fellow substitutes Ribery and debutant James Rodriguez could save the game this time. All this is even more questionable given Bayern’s opponents in the Champions League on Tuesday – Anderlecht at home is about as kind a fixture as that competition throws up.

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James to Bayern, another false dawn?

It also re-raises the thorny issue of Bayern’s attacking purchases in recent seasons. Since Robben’s arrival in 2009, only Lewandowski (and Thiago, depending on how his position is classified) has been an unqualified and sustained success in the forward areas. Douglas Costa, Mario Götze and Coman are among those who have flickered but failed to fully ignite. Of course, replacing players of the caliber of Robben and Ribery is tough – and James or Coman may yet step up – but it needs to happen sooner rather than later for Bayern.

It also needs to happen quickly for the sake of Ancelotti’s long-term job security, especially given the growing credentials of the man in the opposing dugout on Saturday.

Man with a plan

Julian Nagelsmann’s team stood in stark contrast to Ancelotti and his charges. Hoffenheim pressed hard, held a solid back five and allowed Bayern to play in front of them before landing a pair of sucker punches  – in short, they had a plan.

Julian Nagelsmann got the maximum from his team on Saturday

Ancelotti said after the game that Bayern created no chances because they had no space. This was no accident. Nagelsmann is working in much less rarified air but is making the most of his resources. While Bayern’s first sub was Robben for Hoffenheim’s former midfield conductor Sebastian Rudy, Hoffenheim’s was homegrown 19-year-old Dennis Geiger for journeyman Eugen Polanski.

The 30-year-old coach consistently gets the best from his troops through meticulous organization, attention to detail and a flexibility of tactical thought that allows him to tailor gameplans to Hoffenheim’s opponents.

Ancelotti has never been a coach who relies on tactical acumen and his fine record over decades of leadership means there's no suggestion that Nagelsmann is in line to relieve him of his position any time soon. But, more than a year in to his tenure in Bavaria, he’s still yet to really stamp his mark on a club where domestic superiority is so assured that style and European success are enormous factors.

In contrast, Nagelsmann’s fingerprints are all over this Hoffenheim side. And his seven points from nine against Ancelotti have surely put him next in line for the Allianz Stadium hotseat.

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Schalke 3 - 1 Stuttgart

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Hertha Berlin 1 - 1 Werder Bremen

Thomas Delaney's lovely piece of second half skill earnt Bremen a deserved point at the Olympic Stadium. The Dane picked up a bouncing ball with his back to goal, feinted and then clipped it over a Hertha defender before volleying cooly home. The hosts had gone in front thanks to Mathew Leckie's third goal in three games as Bibiana Stenihaus (left) became the Bundesliga's first female referee.

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Freiburg 0 - 0 Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund's 100 per cent record ended after they failed to break down 10-man Freiburg. Yoric Ravet saw red from the VAR just before the half hour mark after catching Marcel Schmelzer on the ankle with a poor challenge. But Dortmund still couldn't find the breakthrough. Christian Pulisic was among those to spurn second half chances as BVB lost Schmelzer (pictured) and Marc Bartra to injury.

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Hoffenheim 2 -0 Bayern Munich

The bad day for the Bundesliga's big two continued in Saturday's late game, as a brace from Mark Uth led Hoffenheim to another positive result against the champions. First Uth caught Mats Hummels sleeping as he collected a quick thrown in to slot home in the first half, then he swept home Steven Zuber's cutback after the break. Julian Nagelsmann has now taken 7 points from 3 games against Bayern.

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Mainz 3 -1 Bayer Leverkusen

Mainz came back from behind to win their first points of the 2017/18 season. A powerful midfield run from Wendell allowed Dominik Kohr to grab the opener for Leverkusen. But the hosts restored parity before the break, Yoshinori Muto (pictured) adjusting his body well to volley home, before Abdou Diallo beat Bernd Leno to a free-kick to nod in the second. Suat Serdar struck late to seal it.

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Augsburg 3 - 0 Cologne

Augsburg picked up their first win of the campaign thanks to a hat-trick from Alfred Finnbogason (right). The Icelandic striker gave the hosts the lead in the first half when he powered home a free header. Things quickly got worse for the visitors, as Jonas Hector hauled down Marcel Heller in the box and Finnbogason tucked home from the spot before knocking in a late rebound for the treble.

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Gladbach 0 - 1 Frankfurt

Kevin Price Boateng was centre of attention as his early goal decided the game. His first strike for his new club came at the end of an eventful period. Boateng thought he’d opened the scoring only to be ruled offside then made amends shortly after, sweeping in a loose ball in the 13th minute. He dedicated his goal to Abdelhak Nouri, who collapsed while playing for Ajax earlier this year.

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Wolfsburg 1 -1 Hannover

In a scrappy Lower Saxony derby, Mario Gomez had the best first-half chance but somehow missed his kick when clean through. Daniel Didavi looked to have saved the Germany striker’s blushes just after the break as his free-kick bounced past Koen Casteels to give Wolfsburg the lead. But the visitors kept their unbeaten league record alive, Martin Harnik scoring an equalizer 15 minutes from time.