A 3-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach makes it four games without a win for Bayern Munich, and the champions will spend the international break outside the top four. But what are the causes of the club's poor form?
Of the many qualities that have set Bayern apart over their six year title-winning sequence, consistency and concentration have been among the most important. But major individual errors have started to creep in. Manuel Neuer helped Augsburg to a late equalizer, Jerome Boateng gave away an entirely needless penalty against Hertha Berlin and Thiago's heavy touch on Saturday allowed Gladbach to double their lead. There were plenty more mistakes that went unpunished and Bayern's senior men are failing to set an adequate example.
While experience can be a strength, age can be a weakness. Bayern have the oldest squad in the Bundesliga and it's starting to show. Boateng, Hummels and Neuer suddenly don't appear the impenetrable trio they once were, Franck Ribery hasn't scored and has provided just a single assist this term and Arjen Robben has been removed early in each of the last three games. There has been a lethargy in patches of each of Bayern's recent performances and it's backed up by the fact they don't have a single entry in a list of the top 20 sprint-makers in the league.
Lack of cohesion
With at least 74 minutes to pull back a two-goal deficit on Saturday, Bayern sides of recent vintage would've still fancied their chances. But as against Ajax and Hertha, the expected storm never arrived. Bayern were once again ponderous in their buildup, with attacking players looking to each other to take the lead and defensive organization notable by its absence.
Niko Kovac has yet to name the same team for consecutive league matches since joining and the wealth of options he has at Bayern seems currently to be more of a hindrance than a help. It's unclear exactly where he wants Thomas Müller and James Rodriguez to play and Thiago is not an ideal holding midfielder. Kovac now has a two week international break to ponder, though few of his players will be there to work with.
Not all of Kovac's changes have been a question of choice. Serious early-season injuries to Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso have robbed him of two of his more dynamic players, while Rafinha's ligament damage has exposed the lack of cover at fullback. Worse could be to come in that sense, after David Alaba - Bayern's only specialist left back after the sale of Juan Bernat to Paris Saint-Germain - was forced off clutching his hamstring on Saturday. That forced Joshua Kimmich to the other side, where his greatest asset - his crossing on the run - is likely to be negated.
Over-reliance on Lewandowski
When Mario Götze turned in Borussia Dortmund's third goal against Augsburg earlier on Saturday, he became the 13th man to score for BVB in the league this season. For Bayern, that number is six. For some time, Bayern fans fretted about who came in when Robert Lewandowski was missing. The signing of Sandro Wagner eased those fears somewhat but, after three goalless games from the Polish striker, the question is now what happens when he's not firing. Bayern failed to really test Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer despite dominating possesssion, and Kovac needs to find a way to get proven goalscorers like Robben, Müller and Ribery in to more threatening positions more often.
Squad gone slightly stale
Unlike most clubs operating in the same rarified atmosphere as the Bavarians, Bayern did little business in the summer transfer window, with free transfer Leon Goretzka the only first-team arrival. The club's top brass has made much of their reluctance to spend big on players but they are also struggling to bring through talent in the way that they once did. While sweeping up the best talent from the rest of the German clubs is a proven strategy, the fact that Thomas Müller and David Alaba were the last two youth products to make a substantial impact is troubling for a club that prides itself on such things.