A testy, yet lovely, afternoon at the Allianz Arena saw a mostly down-tempo Bayern Munich nab three points from Eintracht Frankfurt on a spectacular Franck Ribéry volley.
Frankfurt, while not exactly parking the bus, ultimately played to defend; backed by a superlative match from goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.
Though Eagles coach Niko Kovac would start a five-man back-line, the play was relatively open in the first 15 minutes – end-to-end stuff with a couple of half chances until the teams would eventually settle down. It would be Ribéry that did the settling with a fantastic overhead volley after Mario Götze’s strike could only be parried out by Hradecky.
From there, Bayern probed – generally down the left, occasionally in the middle – for a second goal but shots from Juan Bernat, Thomas Müller and Xabi Alonso all went wanting due to the Frankfurt keeper’s fine play.
There is not anything really remarkable to take out of this match – just a couple of small points – before moving forward to the Benfica clash on Tuesday. I mean, come on! Manuel Neuer recorded his 150th clean sheet in 311 appearances without having to make a save.
Mario gets real minutes
I could not tell you whether Götze got the start because of Kingsley Coman’s late scratch or whether Pep Guardiola decided to use him from the get-go in Müller’s nominal position. Does it matter? In the end, the boy wonder got quality minutes and availed himself mostly well.
Defensively shaky, Götze might have been sent off for a foul, after his deserved yellow, if referee Florian Meyer was in the mood but the little-engine-that-could took his chances with a block, two saved shots (one leading to Ribery’s fine goal) and one off target.
What happened to the right side?
Was there a right side of the pitch? Did it magically disappear? Coman’s scratch would move Müller to the wing (as Pep preserved Douglas Costa) but it might as well have been outer space; such was the reliance on Ribéry and the left. This led to a bit of disjointedness in attack (bad) but also got Bayern some play down the center (good).
Müller’s decidedly “meh” day might have had a lot to do with Robert Lewandowski’s “meh” performance. Denied his strike partner, the Polish hitman would be constantly stranded on the afternoon – and usually offside.
A sight for sore eyes
Javi Martínez shook the rust off rather quickly; utilized here on the right of a three-man back-line. Many were surprised he went the whole 90 but it is imperative that he gets back to form – NOW.
If one could nitpick at anything? It would be his imprecise long balls forward, but Bayern won and no damage came from them. Besides, are you not just thrilled to have him return?
In the end, Bayern did enough to win against a team that rarely pressed the issue. Not a vintage performance by any means but looking ahead to April’s brutal schedule? Nobody will argue with three points.
[su_label] Post editor: Nathalia[/su_label]