Can Harry Kane (r.), Eric Dier & Co. turn Bayern Munich's season around? Maybe they don't have to. - © IMAGO/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON
Can Harry Kane (r.), Eric Dier & Co. turn Bayern Munich's season around? Maybe they don't have to. - © IMAGO/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON

Crisis? What crisis? The stats show Bayern Munich are having a great season


Bayern Munich have lost their last three competitive games, slipped behind Bayer Leverkusen in the race for the Bundesliga title and signalled the end of Thomas Tuchel's tenure in the summer. asks: Is Bayern's season really that bad?

Coach Thomas Tuchel said, "Everything that could go wrong did go wrong today," as his side were beaten 3-2 by Bochum on Matchday 22 and, just days later, the club announced that this season would be his last

Leon Goretzka called it "a horror movie that won't end". Manuel Neuer was perhaps more damning: "We can't allow ourselves to fall apart like we did and concede three goals in Bochum. That is not FC Bayern."

Watch: Tuchel says Bayern performing "way below expectations"

What is Bayern, then? In the last 11 seasons, it has been virtually all-conquering, sweeping to the title in most of those campaigns. With an eight-point gap to leaders Leverkusen after Matchday 22, a 12th successive Meisterschale remains possible, but unlikely. 

No team has ever made up an eight-point deficit to claim the German league title, and Bayern are in far-from-dominant form. It is almost nine years since Bayern last lost three competitive games, and a fourth on Matchday 23 at home to RB Leipzig - in the Bundesliga record champions' 1000th top-flight home game - would be a first in 32 years. Or to perhaps better put it into context, since Thomas Müller was two years old.

Kevin Stöger scores from the spot as Bochum condemned Bayern to a third successive defeat in all competitions. - INA FASSBENDER

Don't forget too that it was only by the very slimmest of margins - and in comic-book-fantasy circumstances - that they pipped Borussia Dortmund to the league title last season. So this dip has been coming then? Well, the numbers suggest it's not exactly a dip.

Bayern have picked up 50 points - four more than they had as league leaders at the same stage last season. In fact, only once has a second-placed team had more points than Tuchel's side after 22 games of a Bundesliga season ever: Pep Guardiola's Bayern team of 2015/16 on 51 points. Only once in the last five seasons have Bayern reached or breached the 50-point mark in the first 22 matchdays.

Pep Guardiola is one of the rare former Bayern coaches to have a better record than Thomas Tuchel 22 games into a Bundesliga season. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/Sven Simon

The 16 wins Tuchel's team have racked up already is something the club has only ever achieved at this stage of a season in nine previous top-flight campaigns, the 61 goals they have netted just six, and the 25 goals Harry Kane has scored has only been bettered twice in the entire league's history. And yes, it was Robert Lewandowski with 26 in 2020/21 and 2021/22.

But the Bayern post-match reactions after the Bochum loss highlighted the number of missed chances, and Kane will know himself he could have (probably should have) scored more than his late strike that gave the visitors some hope.

Tuchel, however, could point to the fact that chances were created, an improvement on the single attempt at goal Bayern mustered in the Matchday 21 defeat to Leverkusen and their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg loss at Lazio, both of which were very much NOT Bayern of recent memory.

What also "isn't Bayern" is their recent defensive record. Not helped by the red card for Dayot Upamecano in Bochum, Bayern have now lost back-to-back league games shipping three goals, and have already conceded 25 times this season.

Bayern have struggled defensively since the turn of the year. - IMAGO/Jürgen Schwarz

They have only twice in the last 11 seasons conceded as many goals at this stage of a season. They have not kept a clean sheet in their last five competitive games, shipping on average two goals per match. If your forwards aren't taking chances, and your team are conceding, you simply do not win football matches.

But it's not all doom and gloom, or at least it shouldn't be. "Overall, we performed differently today than in Leverkusen and Rome. We never lost hope," said Tuchel, and the club's fans - highly unused to their team struggling - can be optimistic, too.

While Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen suggested Bochum's "mentality won out over [Bayern's] quality", the statistics this season also suggest the determination and spirit in Tuchel's squad remains intact: no Bundesliga team boasts a better ratio of successful challenges than the Bavarians' 53 per cent.

Bayern have, of course, had a number of injury problems, the scale of which has stretched even their impressive and extensive manpower. And then surely even they must tip their hats to Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen, even if only grudgingly.

It was not only the convincing result, but also Die Werkself's masterful performance in dispatching the reigning champions on Matchday 21 that made it feel like a changing of the guard. 

Watch: How Leverkusen beat Bayern - analysis

Alonso's men have set new club records for most goals scored and fewest conceded after 22 games, and their Spanish coach places fourth - behind Bayern bosses Guardiola, Hansi Flick and Carlo Ancelotti - in terms of his points-per-game ratio in the 48 matches he has overseen.

And his team have matched the record Flick's Bayern set across two seasons in 2019 and 2020 of going 32 competitive games unbeaten. It's not simply exceptional, it's not just historic and record-breaking, it is very nearly unprecedented.  

Perhaps Bayern simply have to accept this is not going to be their year. That no matter how well they play, Leverkusen will win their first Bundesliga title and end the Munich monopoly on the Meisterschale.

After their last trophy less season, Bayern claimed the first Bundesliga-DFB Cup-Champions League treble in German football history. - imago/Laci Perenyi

It could even be a first trophyless season for Bayern since 2011/12. That summer, coach Jupp Heynckes stayed in his job, Ivica Olić was the only notable departure from the squad, and Javi Martínez, Mario Mandžukić, Dante, Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro were brought in.

What followed was the first treble in German football history, and the start of a dynasty that saw an unprecedented 11 titles arrive at the Allianz Arena. They will now have a new regime to welcome ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, so maybe missing out this season won't be that bad, after all.