Bayern beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 over the weekend in the round of 16 of the DFB Pokal. This win came on the back of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Frankfurt just before the recently ended international break; Bayern had their revenge. Bühl, who was a substitute in the league match, took center stage in the cup tie scoring a brace to eliminate Frankfurt. Bayern’s attack looked reinvigorated with her return; her impact on Bayern’s offense was clear.
Klara Bühl joined Bayern last season from Freiburg ahead of the 2020-21 season. Bühl was coming on the back of an 11 goal campaign, finishing as Freiburg’s leading goalscorer. The youngster, who debuted at 15 for SC Freiburg, went from strong to stronger with each passing season.
In her first season at Bayern, the forward amassed 8 goals and 6 assists in the league, finishing as the player with 3rd most direct goal contributions in the team. She was a crucial part of Bayern’s attack.
Her talent was evident at the youth levels where she was a crucial part of the German U17 squad that won the European Championship in 2016; Bühl finished the tournament with 3 goals and was named in the Team of the Tournament as well. Her story with the senior German national team has been the same as well, in 17 national team caps, Bühl has scored 7 goals for the senior side.
In 2019, Bühl was awarded the female Fritz Walter Medal ahead of the likes of Lena Oberdorf and Gia Corley, underlining her immense talent.
Bühl is a versatile forward capable of playing on either flank. She is very comfortable with either foot. She is an incredible dribbler who can take on and beat players at will, helping her side gain an advantage. She has a really good shot on her and has a tendency to drift inwards.
In the following section, we will look at some key aspects of her playing style and what makes her so effective.
Jens Scheuer’s Bayern have been set up in a 4-2-3-1 on most occasions and Bühl has featured as the part of the attacking 4. She usually features on either flank (usually left) but is equally capable of playing through the middle as well. In Freiburg, who also played a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 most times, Bühl featured on the flanks.
Bühl’s spatial awareness to take up positions in the half-spaces or in between lines puts the defenders in a tough spot, forcing them to commit or allow her time and space.
Playing out wide, Bühl is a creative powerhouse who can hurt the opposition in more ways than one. Her positioning, vision, and ability to play incisive passes make her a valuable asset for any side. She ranked among the very best in the world for chance creation metrics last season.
Bühl’s biggest strength is her ability to take on players and beat them at will. She is one of the most skilled and effective dribblers in the world. Her dribbling isn’t just flashy to beat players but every successful take-on results in her team being in a slightly better position attacking-wise than before.
Her quick feet and change of pace comes in really handy in all of this, allowing her to create separation from opposition players and draw fouls in dangerous areas. Her two-footed nature allows her to dribble on either side of the opponent, adding to her threat irrespective of the side she is deployed on and making her unpredictable.
Her first touch is sublime allowing her to quickly turn into space and get the shot off or cross the ball in. An example of this was seen in the Pokal game against Frankfurt. For her 2nd of the night, Bühl controlled the ball with the deftest of touches and turned to shoot the ball with her left, sealing the game for Bayern.
In the video above we can see her quickly take up a position in between the lines and then with space and time, beats a player and fires a shot into the goal.
When playing out wide, the ability to cross the ball becomes important, and Bühl has that trait in her repertoire as well. She likes to drift inwards slightly, allowing the fullback to overlap, playing her through or playing a driven low ball across the face of the goal herself or choosing to shoot. This makes for a great strike partnership with her forward as we saw with Schüller at Bayern. She also has set-pieces in her repertoire, making her a threat from dead-ball situations with her crossing.
In the example above, Bühl can be seen positioned in the space between FB and CB (half-space), receives with a brilliant first touch, beats a player, and then plays a brilliant driven ball across goal.
Another key trait in her game is the ability to progress the ball. As has been discussed before Bühl’s abilities on the ball are really good and her ability to drive forwards with the ball at her feet is top-notch. Coupled with her ability to take on players, she is a great asset for any side to move them up the field. She is constantly looking to move her team upfield via passing or her ball carrying.
In the modern game, you attack and defend as a unit. Attackers are the first line of defence and Bühl knows that. She isn’t a workhorse but she is economical in her defensive approach. The majority of her defensive contributions come as a part of Bayern’s pressing scheme and her shadow blocking passing lanes. Her spatial awareness plays a vital role here again as she reads the play, scans her surroundings, and then cuts off passing options to force the opposition into a corner.
An example of her scanning her surroundings to then shadow block passing lanes and force opponents to one side was seen against AS Roma in the French AMOS Cup. Bühl cuts off a passing option and forces Roma to go inwards where Bayern have the trap set-up to win the possession back. She is also quick to attack the space vacated by Schüller.
Bühl isn’t the only one spearheading the “Make Bayern Great Again” campaign. Their recruitment in the last few years has largely been spotless, combining great young talents with the wisdom of proven winners and veterans. The duo of Bühl-Schüller (Bühler?) was one of the best-attacking duos in world football last season. Bühl along with Schüller, Gwinn, and Lohmann are all at the heart of this Bavarian revolution and things look largely positive in the near future for the Bavarians.
Cover Pic Courtesy: Eva