Never Mind Rafa, Pressure’s On van Gaal

bayern munich logo Nevermind Rafa Benitez’s much publicized woes at Liverpool, German giants FC Bayern are on the verge of elimination from the UEFA Champions League adding misery to boss Louis van Gaal’s fledgling reign in Munich.

Bayern lost 2-0 at home on Matchday Four to French champions Bordeaux, leaving the Bavarians with a mountain to climb to get through the group phase.

And for van Gaal, who took over at the Allianz Arena in the European summer, its another headache after the club’s sluggish start to the Bundesliga season where they currently sit sixth on the table.

The situation for Bayern in the Champions League, is they currently are third in their group with just four points, trailing leaders Bordeaux (10 points) and Juventus (8 points).

Bayern face group cellar-dwellers Maccabi Haifa (who are pointless at this stage) in Munich, where 3 points will be essential, before meeting Juve on Matchday Six in Turin.

The odds are stacked against the Bavarians qualifying through the group and club president Franz Beckenbauer knows it, although he squarely lays the blame on the players, not the new boss.

van Gaal is having a tough time in Germany>

“FC Bayern no longer have their destiny in their own hands and the consolation of coming third and playing in the Europa League is hardly comforting,’’ Beckenbauer wrote in the Bild newspaper.

He added, in reference to the Bordeaux home loss; “Only when Arjen Robben came on in the second half did we start looking for a goal. He is quick and dares to go into challenges.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is capable of doing that too, as he has shown more often when he has played for the national team.

“You have 90 minutes to score the winner, but you cannot afford to make blunders like Mark van Bommel did for 1-0.’’

Beckenbauer’s scathing assessment of his players’ performance leaves little to the imagination.

And the great admitted the team is missing star man Franck Ribery who has been absent recently with a knee injury.

“It is like the theatre production ‘waiting for Godot’, only we are waiting for Ribery,” he continued. “We have got to hope that Ribery returns. He makes the difference. He gives unpredictability to our game and carries the team with him.”

When will Ribery return?>

But Beckenbauer’s comments don’t tell the whole story, with van Gaal surely not immune from blame.

The Dutchman has struggled to win over the German media since heading east, with van Gaal seen as aloof, arrogant and over-confident.

Beyond his media perception, van Gaal’s tactics haven’t been brilliant either with Bayern clearly lacking width. Perhaps that can be blamed on the club’s recruitment policy in the off-season or even some unfortunate injuries, but the fact is Bayern aren’t getting the results.

Its time for some creativity at Bayern, rather than finger-pointing. But if things continue, someone will be made a scapegoat and you only need to look to the top to find that person.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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