An opponent who stopped playing in the second half, a great substitution and a late goal, that’s all Bayern needed to win this important match.
As I said in the preview, Freiburg’s post-winter break results haven’t been good so far. Robin Dutt’s team wanted to change that and what’s a better way than a win against Bayern?
The lineups featured one rather big surprise: SCF’s Abdessadki didn’t start, Daniel Caligiuri replaced him. Besides that, Freiburg used the expected 4-1-4-1. Bayern’s formation was identical to the one that beat Hamburg 6-0 a week ago.
But that 4-1-4-1 wasn’t a typical one. Cedric Makiadi often moved forward when not in possession to cover the area of the pitch the lone striker usually would cover. Not this time, though, as Papiss Cisse constantly drifted to the right wing, something Bayern obviously didn’t expect as Luiz Gustavo was terrible overwhelmed by Cisse’s 24/7 presence. If you’re looking for a proper description of Freiburg’s formation, I’d call it a lopsided 4-1-2-2-1.
Dutt’s unusual strategy worked so well in the first half, I almost enjoyed watching my team getting dominated. It wasn’t the (already boring) approach of using 2-3 defenders against each winger. Freiburg’s early pressing made any possession-based, midfield-controlled game impossible and you won’t be surprised to hear that Bayern struggled because of that. Even more surprising was the early lead: a rare attack created a free-kick opportunity, Franck Ribery’s cross was converted by Mario Gomez.
The goal didn’t change anything, though, as Freiburg continued to dominate possession and Gustavo continued to struggle with Cisse’s presence. A pass that should’ve been intercepted by the Brazilian led to a penalty kick for the hosts but Cisse’s weak try was saved by Thomas Kraft. The ultimate turning point of the match? Not at all. Minutes later, it was again Gustavo (I’m 100% sure that this first half was the worst you’ll ever see him play for this club) who couldn’t cope with his opponent. While he rejected the first invitation, Cisse now realized that enough is enough and tied the game.
To make things even worse, Arjen Robben had to be subbed off after 30 minutes. Hamit Altintop replaced him and once again proved that he’s almost worthless in this system, it’s beyond me why such a talented player didn’t leave the club that uses a for him wrong system when his contract expired last summer.
Freiburg never stopped eliminating Bayern’s central midfield (I’m still waiting for Stephen Hawking’s reaction to the first black hole ever seen in Southern Germany) but they wasted their scoring chances. At half time, it was an undeserved tie as one team was obviously superior.
Whatever happened during those 15 minutes, it surely was terrible. The second-half Freiburg was a different team, one that seemed to be looking for nothing but a lucky tie. The impressive pressing was gone. Bayern still wasn’t playing an overly great game but now created the scoring chances that Altintop and Klose couldn’t convert.
The magic happened in minute 78: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk replaced Toni Kroos and did exactly what you’d expect from the young German. Accurate vertical passes, staying calm when in possession, simply put he was what this midfield needed. So who else but Tymoshchuk was supposed to assist a late game-winning goal? He passed the ball to Ribery whose shot beat Freiburg’s young keeper Oliver Baumann. With just a few more minutes to go, that was it. An in the end maybe even deserved but definitely important win for the FCB. One might say it was the opposite of the loss v Inter, I don’t think I’d disagree.
Goals: 0-1 Gomez (9′), 1-1 Cisse (17′), 1-2 Ribery (88′)
SC Freiburg: Stefan Reisinger (Flum, 78′), Heiko Butscher (Caligiuri, 85′), Kisho Yano (Putsila, 90′)
FC Bayern: Hamit Altintop (Robben, 30′), Miroslav Klose (Müller, 71′), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Kroos, 78′)
Other Bundesliga matches:
Gladbach v Kaiserslautern 0-1 (Bailly OG)
Nuremberg v Bremen 1-3 (Gündogan; Wagner x2, Pizarro)
Hannover v Hoffenheim 2-0 (Ya Konan, Abdellaoue)
Hamburg v Cologne 6-2 (Petric x3, Ben-Hatira, Kacar, Ze Roberto; Jajalo, Podolski)
Frankfurt v St. Pauli 2-1 (Gekas x2; Takyi)
Dortmund v Mainz 1-1 (Hummels; Sliskovic)
Leverkusen v Schalke 2-0 (Derdiyok, Metzelder OG)
Stuttgart v Wolfsburg 1-1 (Niedermeier; Grafite)
Next match: Saturday, April 2 v Gladbach (Bundesliga), 3.30 pm local time