Bayern come under fire for weakened XI
A number of officials at Bundesliga clubs have hit out at Bayern Munich for fielding several reserve players in their 1-0 defeat at Augsburg on Saturday.
• Schaaf: End of the run
The Bavarians’ record-breaking run of 53 unbeaten Bundesliga games over a period of 524 days came to an end at the weekend, when Sascha Moelders’ goal secured all three points for Markus Weinzierl’s side.
Ahead of the match, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola announced that doing well in the league is no longer his side’s top priority, having already secured the title last month.
As a result, Guardiola started three reserve players against Augsburg -- Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg, Ylli Sallahi and Mitchell Weiser -- and also played veteran centre-back Daniel van Buyten, as well as Claudio Pizarro behind striker Mario Mandzukic.
Officials from other Bundesliga clubs have been critical of Guardiola’s approach of focusing on Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal second-leg clash with Manchester United.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt hit out at Bayern for throwing the game away.
Speaking to the press following his side’s 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen, he said: “It’s bad style to act so that others might run into problems,” before adding sarcastically: “Maybe Bayern had too many injured players.”
Heldt was referring to his fears that Bayern could also field a weakened side against Borussia Dortmund next weekend, which would make it more difficult for the Royal Blues to beat their fierce rivals to second spot this season. Three points currently separate Dortmund, who hold the position, and third-placed Schalke.
Heldt was also referring to the wider race for a place in Europe, as Augsburg’s surprise victory leaves them with a chance of securing seventh place, which could be enough to secure Europa League football for next season.
With five games left to play, Mainz currently hold seventh spot in the Bundesliga, but when Thomas Tuchel’s side faced Bayern last month, Guardiola played his best team, which claimed all three points.
Mainz president Harald Strunz told kicker: “It is startling that Bayern takes those measures while a lot of the teams are still dependent on points.”
Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel added: “Officially, I won’t fret about it. The only thing I can say is that Bayern knew that they’d start a discussion should their plan not work out.”
Frankfurt coach Armin Veh, who had rested two of his key players in matches against Bayern and Dortmund, also hit out at the German champions.
“Looking at the Bayern line-up, I don’t think that’s OK for the league,” he said. “I don’t think it’s OK to throw away points like that when other teams still have something to play for.”
However, Augsburg centre-back Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker pointed out after the game that Bayern had still played a number of first-team players, and that his side should be proud of their victory.
“Mandzukic has played Champions League, hasn’t he? And this [Manuel] Neuer kid will play at the World Cup, I believe," he said. "Guardiola is pretty decent as well. We don’t have to feel ashamed for this win."