Some players are known to perform better with certain coaches. Messi and Guardiola or Carvalho and Mourinho are just two examples. Here’s an analysis of how some Bayern players fared under Louis van Gaal and how they perform now under Jupp Heynckes.
Under LvG: 90 games, 53 goals, 9 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 58%
Offensive Productivity: 69%
Under Heynckes: 28 games, 25 goals, 3 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 89%
Offensive Productivity: 100%
It is apparent that Gomez has been much more productive in his six months under Heynckes than during his two seasons with van Gaal. It is strange considering many of the factors have been the same. In his three seasons with Bayern, Gomez has always been flanked by Robben (when fit) and Ribéry. Gomez usually has the support of Thomas Müller and Schweinsteiger behind him as well. Gomez had a great 2010/11 season, but his awful 2009/10 season brought down his stats considerably. The difference was his performance in 2009/10, as opposed to those in 2010/11 and 2011/12. In 2009/10, Gomez started out as first choice, but was benched due to the good form of Ivica Olić as well as his own poor form. Gomez started out his second season with Bayern as a substitute, but injuries to Ivica Olić and Miroslav Klose (remember him?) gave van Gaal no other choice. Gomez responded brilliantly, grabbing more than three dozen goals. Gomez started out the first few games in 2011/12 poorly, but has since hit top form, and he is considered one of the world’s top strikers. Strange how things change over a couple of years.
Under LvG: 99 games, 37 goals, 26 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 37%
Offensive Productivity: 64%
Under Heynckes: 27 games, 4 goals, 5 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 15%
Offensive Productivity: 33%
While Gomez has hit top form this season, Müller has been in poor form for most of the season. In the first match of the season, versus Eintracht Braunshweig, Müller put in a man of the match performance, grabbing two assists as well as a goal. Since then however, we have seen only sparks of the form he showed during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. One of the main factors of his drop in form is his constant repositioning across the offense. Müller has played mostly in the unfamiliar position of right-winger this season due to Robben’s extended absence. While he did not flop in that position, he certainly did not impress. Recently, as well as in the beginning of the season, Müller has played in his favored second striker position. While his recent performances don’t lack energy, they do lack precision, as evidenced by his glaring miss versus Wolfsburg. While some fans think that Müller is simply in slump of form, others think that he has hit his peak, and that his 2009/10 and 2010/11 performances were the best he had in him.
Under LvG: 55 games, 36 goals, 17 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 65%
Offensive Productivity: 96%
Under Heynckes: 14 games, 6 goals, 1 assist.
Goal-game ratio: 43%
Offensive Productivity: 50%
While his long absence makes it too early to judge his performances this season, one can’t help but compare his performances so far this season to those of 2009/10 and 2010/11. Robben has always played as a right-winger for Bayern Munich, and he has always played in the offense next to Müller, Ribéry (when fit), Schweinsteiger, Olić, and later on, Gomez. In his first season with Bayern, Robben scored goals for fun, and his 80% goal ratio shows that. The thing that separates Robben from other big players like Ronaldo or Ibrahimovic is his performances in big games. Many will remember his winner versus Fiorentina, and Manchester United, and Lyon, and Schalke, and Werder Bremen, and so on. Upon returning from injury in 2010/11, Arjen Robben made an instant impact. He was crucial in Bayern’s first leg win versus Inter, and he scored 13 goals for Bayern last season. Upon returning from injury this season, many expected Robben to instantly start banging in the goals, but what happened? This season, Bayern, under Jupp Heynckes, has put much more emphasis on defending, and all members of the team are expected to help out in defense. This defense-first mentality has turned Robben into a slightly more defensive player, as evidenced by his interception and run starting from Bayern’s 18-yard box versus Wolfsburg. Another factor in Robben’s performances is the right-back he plays with. Under van Gaal, Robben always had Lahm supporting him, and this led to some stellar performances. Under Heynckes, however, Robben has played with Rafinha and Boateng behind him. Their constant reshuffling has severely hindered any potential chemistry between the right-back and the right-winger. If Robben is to return to top form, however, it is more likely to be with Rafinha supporting him than Boateng. This is because of Rafinha’s attacking flair, as opposed to the defensive Boateng. Fans undoubtedly hope for a quick return to top form for Robben in the next few games, as he will be a crucial player as the season reaches its deciding stages.
Under LvG: 62 games, 18 goals, 24 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 29%
Offensive Productivity: 68%
Under Heynckes: 27 games, 10 goals, 9 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 37%
Offensive Productivity: 70%
While Robben’s games under van Gaal have been more memorable than his games under Heynckes, the exact opposite can be said of Ribéry. It was no secret that van Gaal and Ribéry didn’t get on well, and that was reflected on the pitch. Under Heynckes, however, Ribéry has put in arguably his best performances for Bayern so far. Just as he had sparkled in 2007/08 and, to a lesser extent, 2008/09, Ribéry has sparkled again this season. It is no coincidence that both Robben and Ribéry were supported by Lahm as a full-back during their good seasons. This season, it is Ribéry’s time again to enjoy Lahm’s company, and Bayern’s left wing has been far more dangerous this season. The fact that whoever is supported by Lahm tends to play well cement’s Lahm’s reputation as a world-class full-back.
Under LvG: 37 games, 2 goals, 5 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 5%
Offensive Productivity: 19%
Under Heynckes: 27 games, 4 goals, 10 assists.
Goal-game ratio: 15%
Offensive Productivity: 52%
If Thomas Müller was van Gaal’s “creation”, then Toni Kroos is undoubtedly Heynckes’ “creation”. Ironically, Müller has underperformed with Heynckes and Kroos has underperformed with van Gaal. During his loan at Leverkusen, Kroos was in great form (Kroos played a huge role in Leverkusen’s draw with Bayern in the second half of 2009/10), and this was down to Heynckes. His Torres-esque stats show that Kroos didn’t play very well with van Gaal, this was due to his lack of experience in the “number 6” role next to Schweinsteiger as well as the better form of other attackers around him. When Heynckes became Bayern coach at the beginning of the current season, he was reunited with Kroos. The effect Heynckes has on Kroos was evidenced by some of the great performances, especially in the Champions League, Kroos gave during the first half of this season. It remains to be seen whether or not Kroos can add on his good performances during the second half of the season.
Regardless of their statistics this season, Bayern players will need to perform well in the upcoming weeks in order to ensure that they remain in all three competitions.
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