What might have been a battle of the Bundesliga’s undefeated sides turned in to yet another utterly dominant performance for FC Bayern Munich over Hertha Berlin SC. FCB pegged Pal Dardai’s side to their own goal with a nifty whole-team performance.
What BSC did right
The header should probably say “what Niklas Stark did right”. With four interceptions, as many clearances and a block, centre-back Stark most definitely saved Hertha a few blushes.
BSC was decent in tackle (15 out of 22 successful), and a little less so in clearances (12 from 21), but where they stood out as a unit was their interceptions. Dardai and his squad will rue the day that they got almost nothing going with them.
Where it all went wrong for Berlin
Besides the obvious Bayern engine running at full throttle, what chances (see the interception dashboard) Berlin had to take the ball of the toes of their enemies went mostly for naught. The men from the capital only managed two shots– both at goal and saved by Manuel Neuer– though sub Valentin Stocker’s was a cracker.
Nothing worked through, or over, the middle for Hertha as a mighty midfield performance from the trio of Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal forced them to the wings. It only got nominally better from there.
If you read my piece regarding Frank Ribéry’s performance versus Ingolstadt over the weekend, you might remember that I picked apart his take-ons despite him assisting all three of Bayern’s goals on the day. Well, I am more than happy to be wrong: Ribéry’s still got it.
Though three of his four successful take-ons came within a few seconds of each other, what a twinkle-toed goal that turned out to be! Flitting through Berlin’s box, it was a glimpse of the Ribéry of lore. More of where that came from, please.
Speaking of Franck, his long-time partner-in-crime came back in typical Arjen Robben-style, scoring a typical Arjen Robben goal. Though Carlo Ancelotti kept him to just 25 minutes, he made it count with that strike (71′) and another chance created.
Alcantara shone offensively, Vidal played the muscle with Alonso pulling the build-up strings. While, yes, everyone (myself included) wants to see Joshua Kimmich play all the time, it is hard to deny the excellence that was this Spanish-speaking trio on the day.
I’ll just drop these dashboards right here.
[Dashboards courtesy of FourFourTwo]