After poor performances in FC Bayern’s defensive midfield, Marcel Sabitzer was allowed to try his hand at left-back in recent weeks due to the great Corona crisis. But even there, the former captain of RB Leipzig disappointed. Is the marriage between Sabitzer and the record champion just a big misunderstanding?
No, that was not at all what his head coach Julian Nagelsmann had given him: “I’m someone who likes brave players. He should just play with his soul,” said the Bayern coach in the direction of Marcel Sabitzers said on the “Sky” microphone before the last Bundesliga game against 1. FC Köln (4-0).
Playing free, kicking boldly are currently the last characteristics associated with Marcel Sabitzer, who was presented by Nagelsmann last summer as a 15 million euro transfer request.
Even after his first half-year at the club, the Austrian still looks totally inhibited in the Bayern jersey, sometimes like a foreign body in the leaders’ game.
Catastrophic appearance when FC Bayern went bankrupt against Gladbach
In the collective failure of FC Bayern against Borussia Mönchengladbach at the start of the second half of the season (1: 2), the 27-year-old even stood out negatively, playing a catastrophic 20 bad passes in his first game as a left-back.
“Marcel Sabitzer was an absolute miscast in the left-back position,” said former Bayern captain Stefan Effenberg to “Sport1” about the summer purchase, which has been contractually bound to the German industry leader until mid-2025.
Instead of grabbing the opportunity to be flushed into the Bayern back four for Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernández and Omar Richards, who were suffering from Corona, Sabitzer indicated how alien he was to the position at the back left.
Again many bad passes from Marcel Sabitzer
The negative impression of the Gladbach game (sport.de rating 5.0) in terms of commitment was only marginally improved last weekend at 1. FC Köln. In his 75-minute appearance at Effzeh, Sabitzer led a total of six duels. For comparison: Joshua Kimmich had 23 duels after 90 minutes.
As against Gladbach, Sabitzer played the most bad passes for his colors in Cologne and found hardly any arguments to appear in the starting line-up again next weekend at Hertha BSC (from 5:30 p.m.).
Meanwhile, with Lucas Hernández and Omar Richards, two alternatives are back in the squad anyway, who will contest Sabitzer’s place. The French world champion also sees the left-back position only as a second preference for himself, preferring to play in the center of Munich’s defence.
However, as a full-back in the past, Hernández has always weighed everything he has to offer in terms of aggressiveness, tackling and running strength. And thus implemented the most important requirement of the coach: Play boldly. This was not necessarily the case with Sabitzer.
FC Bayern: Teammate as a role model for Marcel Sabitzer?
Corentin Tolisso proved in a smooth away win in Cologne last weekend that you can take advantage of such an opportunity to suddenly prove yourself right from the start. The 27-year-old was preferred to Sabitzer in sixth position, convincing with running more than ten kilometers in 75 minutes, winning 63 percent of duels and scoring his first goal of the season.
The French national player, who was actually already retired and was considered a change candidate in the summer, is fighting for perhaps the last opportunity to get a new contract with FC Bayern.
Sabitzer, on the other hand, all too often lacks the fighting spirit to face the unsatisfactory situation as a noble reservist or temporary left-back with full commitment.
The former top performer from RB Leipzig will not have too much time to finally turn things around in Munich and do self-promotion with strong performances. The hot phase of the season is only just beginning for the ambitious FC Bayern.
Opportunities for large trials or rotations will then probably no longer arise. Especially not when other top performers are pushed back into the squad with Leon Goretzka, Dayot Upamecano or Alphonso Davies, who were also absent recently.
In Leipzig, Sabitzer marched ahead in central midfield as a leader, appeared as team captain, goalscorer and creative player. Ironically, at the club where he has wanted to play since childhood, it is precisely these self-confident appearances that are still missing.
All of his 15 appearances for FC Bayern ended goalless and mostly pale overall. Sabitzer has to deliver slowly in order not to be punished as a misunderstanding in his first year in Munich. He’s had enough opportunities already.
Mats Yannick Roth