In a match between two struggling teams, it was only a matter of time until one collapses. A goal early in the second half dealt a deathblow to Hamburg’s hopes and morale. Bayern gains the confidence the team so desperately needed for the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16.
If you read the preview, you’re aware of the momentary similarities between these two clubs. How would the ‘lame duck’ coaches react? Are the players still willed to give it their all?
To answer the first question: No extraordinary reactions were noticeable in the lineups. Louis van Gaal reacted to Breno’s suspension by using Luiz Gustavo and Daniel van Buyten as center backs, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger formed the central midfield, the rest was pretty much as usual. Armin Veh gave Eljero Elia a chance and Tomas Rincon replaced the injured Guy Demel.
Tactically, the most important change for Bayern was the offensive off-the-ball movement. Almost non-existent for a long time (and one of the main reasons for the struggle in my opinion), they finally made that change either because or despite van Gaal leaving after the season.
But as great as that sounds and as one-sided the result is, the first 20 or so minutes weren’t a lot of fun. Both teams (understandably) were insecure, the ball went up and down the pitch non-stop. Hamburg even had the better chances but couldn’t capitalize. Then, all of a sudden, Bayern overcame that nervousness. The aforementioned off-the-ball movement of Ribery, Müller and Robben started and chances were created almost every minute.
When Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller only hit the post/crossbar instead of the empty net and Frank Rost somehow saved Daniel van Buyten’s shot, I was about to give up. It seemed obvious that goals can’t be scored, that this match can’t be won. But they once again proved me wrong: Minutes before halftime, Arjen Robben furiously shot the ball and hit it perfectly. No chance for Rost, finally 1-0 FCB.
Still, one couldn’t be sure what that means for the match. Bayern was all over Hamburg in the last 15 minutes but the boys from up north had a couple of decent scoring chances, too. Not even 2 minutes after the second half started (who else but) Arjen Robben delivered the answer: his free kick was missed by Gomez but accurate enough to beat Rost, who couldn’t be sure whether Gomez reaches the ball and so had to wait before reacting, directly.
This was the moment when an entire squad collapsed. Hamburg seemed to have given up, the hosts were given time and space to do what they want. And boy, they wanted a lot. To keep it short and simple: Franck Ribery helped Arjen Robben to score a hat trick, Arjen Robben helped Franck Ribery to score a goal, Thomas Müller put the ball past the keeper and, to make the humiliation complete, Heiko Westermann scored an own goal.
After the match, HSV keeper Frank Rost gave some remarkable interviews. He criticized the entire club, including president Bernd Hoffmann, for the miserable management of the last years. In response to the result (not the interview), Armin Veh was sacked.
For Bayern, this was an important win. Due to the losses of Hannover and Mainz, the Champions League qualification is within reach again. But it’s worth nothing if this intensity can’t be kept up.
Goals: 1-0 Robben (40′), 2-0 Robben (47′), 3-0 Robben (55′), 4-0 Ribery (64′), 5-0 Müller (79′), 6-0 Westermann (OG, 85′)
FC Bayern: Holger Badstuber (Gustavo, 66′), Hamit Altintop (Robben, 70′), Miroslav Klose (Gomez, 73′)
Hamburger SV: Marcell Jansen (Ben-Hatira, 66′), Robert Tesche (Guerrero, 68′)
Other Bundesliga matches:
Cologne v Hannover 4-0 (Petit, Podolski, Novakovic x2)
Hoffenheim v Dortmund 1-0 (Ibisevic)
Schalke v Frankfurt 2-1 (Jurado, Charisteas; Tzavellas)
Kaiserslautern v Freiburg 2-1 (Nemec, Hoffer; Nemec OG)
Wolfsburg v Nuremberg 1-2 (Mandzukic; Wollscheid, Nilsson)
Bremen v Gladbach 1-1 (Wagner; Dante)
Mainz v Leverkusen 0-1 (Augusto)
St. Pauli v Stuttgart 1-2 (Boll; Kuzmanovic, Schipplock)
Next match: Tuesday v Inter (Champions League), 8.45 pm local time