The last time Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both were in the starting lineup for a competitive match? Last season’s DFB Cup final against Bremen. The result? 4-0. So what do you think was the result of yesterday’s Bundesliga match against the “feeder club” Hoffenheim? Exactly.
A more detailed recap after the jump:
Robben and Ribery available, Bastian Schweinsteiger finally returning to the central midfield, Thomas Müller moving to his favorite position behind Mario Gomez: Things looked good before the game. But things also looked good after the first half last weekend and yet they still managed to lose. At home, in the again sold out Allianz Arena, the team made sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.
Just a bit over a minute was played when Franck Ribery moved inside, passed the ball to Müller who anticipated Arjen Robben’s run and played a perfectly placed pass to the Dutch who just had to bring the ball to Mario Gomez. No problem for the league’s top scorer, 1-0 Bayern.
It was obvious that Hoffenheim struggled terribly early in the match. They had problems to cope with some of Bayern’s strategies:
- Bastian Schweinsteiger and Danijel Pranjic constantly switched sides
- Thomas Müller acted more as a second striker than as an offensive midfielder, the difference between him and Schweinsteiger playing that position was noticeable
- When not in possession, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben also moved forward to create an offensive bank of four that pressured Hoffenheim’s defenders high up the pitch
Add to that a midfield that was either scared or tired but definitely not aggressive enough and you know how much 1899 was dominated.
After Isaac Vorsah misplaced a simple pass that Thomas Müller, with the help of Franck Ribery, turned into Bayern’s second goal of the game. Hoffe’s coach Marco Pezzaiuoli had to react. 20 minutes into the match, young midfielder Sebastian Rudy was subbed off for Tobias Weis, a former German international well-known for his aggressiveness. And indeed that helped a bit, the guests still couldn’t create any real scoring chance but at least prevented a third FCB goal in the first half. Schweinsteiger could’ve scored after 40 minutes but goalkeeper Tom Starke, who can’t be blamed for any of the conceded goals, reacted well.
The second half saw a much more aggressive start from Hoffenheim. Sometimes too aggressive: Josip Simunic, who replaced Isaac Vorsah, obviously couldn’t handle Arjen Robben’s agility so he used his left arm to try to break Robben’s nose. The Dutch winger had to leave the field for a few minutes so that the bleeding could be stopped. However, for whatever reason, referee Peter Gagelmann only booked Simunic instead of sending him off like he should.
Minutes later, it was almost time for revenge. Simunic slipped and lost the ball but Müller and Gomez couldn’t use the chance to score a third. That happened a little later when another misplaced Hoffenheim pass gave Robben the opportunity to drift inside. Three “opponents” (they didn’t really react) weren’t enough to stop him, 3-0 FCB. Game, set and match.
The last half-hour was mainly Bayern controlling the match. Three things have to be mentioned, though: An absolute beauty of a goal by Arjen Robben to make it 4-0, a terrible pass by Schweinsteiger that almost ruined the shutout but Thomas Kraft saved Ryan Babel’s shot and the standing ovations for Arjen Robben when he was subbed off for Hamit Altintop.
A deserved 4-0 win against a disappointing Hoffenheim. Say what you want but the quality of this team is vastly improved when both wingers are fit and Müller plays as offensive midfielder/second striker.
Goals: 1-0 Gomez (2′), 2-0 Müller (15′), 3-0 Robben (63′), 4-0 Robben (81′)
FC Bayern: Hamit Altintop (Robben, 84′)
1899 Hoffenheim: Tobias Weis (Rudy, 20′), Josip Simunic (Vorsah, 46′), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Vukcevic, 77′)
Other league matches:
Frankfurt v Leverkusen 0-3 (Rolfes, Augusto, Balitsch)
Wolfsburg v Hamburg 0-1 (Petric)
St. Pauli v Gladbach 3-1 (Kruse, Asamoah, Lehmann; de Camargo)
Schalke v Freiburg 1-0 (Farfan)
Stuttgart v Nuremberg 1-4 (Funk; Simons, Schieber, Chandler, Ekici)
Kaiserslautern v Dortmund 1-1 (Moravek; Bender)
Cologne v Mainz – Sunday
Bremen v Hannover – Sunday
Next match: Saturday @ Mainz (Bundesliga), 6.30 pm local time