Once, twice, three times a Gomez – Mario Gomez, despite not being 100% fit, scored a hat trick in Kaiserslautern in a match that was incredibly one-sided due to the opponent’s ultra-cautious, ultra-defensive and in the end ultra-suicidal strategy. Kaiserslautern’s offense failed to show a sign of life, Bayern’s formation was one of the most lopsided I’ve recently seen.
First, lineups. The hosts lined up almost as expected, minor differences were that Clemens Walch replaced Oliver Kirch and Richard Sukuta-Pasu made way for the more defensive Pierre de Wit. Marco Kurz opted for a 4-1-4-1, a formation that seems to be quite popular among teams who are aiming for a goalless draw against Bayern. Jupp Heynckes promised rotation and he again delivered: Jerome Boateng instead of Rafinha (Daniel van Buyten was the second center back) and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk instead of Luiz Gustavo. David Alaba replaced the injured Arjen Robben, although Dennis Aogo knows that he’s just faking. On paper it was the usual 4-2-3-1 but in reality the formation was much more complex. Whether it just happened naturally or Heynckes told them so, I don’t know, but Bayern focused entirely on the right flank. If you don’t believe me, let’s just have a look at the stats: Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery had a combined 303 touches and played a combined 242 passes while their counterparts Jerome Boateng, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and David Alaba only had almost paltry 194 touches and just 143 passes. Especially the difference between Ribery and Alaba (104-38, 82-29) is overt.
Bayern started brilliantly and should’ve been up 2-0 after less than 10 minutes but shots were either saved superbly by Trapp or missed the target. After the dashing start, the team calmed down and Lautern started defending better. There wasn’t that much going on until Thomas Müller was brought down by Rodnei moments after the Brazilian defender handled the ball. Worth two penalties but Bayern only got one, Mario Gomez scored. Did that goal help to tear down the wall of FCK defenders (there were 8-9 of them most of the times)? Not at all. Nothing changed in the second half, Lautern continued to…well, now that they conceded one, I don’t know what they were trying to do, it surely wasn’t going for the equalizer surely.
Müller got his second penalty thanks to again Rodnei. Turns out that wild leg swings aren’t such an effective method to defend. Gomez failed to score directly (obviously just to steal that assist from Müller) but converted the rebound with ease. A bit later, the striker scored a third, this time not a penalty yet again assisted by Müller, and that was it. Lautern’s late answer came from Ivo Ilicevic who furiously kicked Anatoliy Tymoshchuk from behind and deservedly got sent off. Said Tymoshchuk after the match: “The ref correctly understood the situation and made the right decision, deliberate rudeness has no place in football. The attack damaged the Achilles tendon, but nothing serious, it’s no problem if the match goes on, I was ready to continue playing. I played hard, but within the rules. The player did not like it after I did a heel pass, it was rough play when I was without the ball.”
All in all, this was a win that seemed to be easy but actually wasn’t. It happened before that Bayern couldn’t breach the opponent’s defensive wall and either had to be happy with a point or, even worse, conceded a goal on a counter-attack. These are the matches that aren’t beautiful but have to be won and this team did it.
Goals: 0-1 Gomez (37′), 0-2 Gomez (55′), 0-3 Gomez (69′)
1. FC Kaiserslautern: Konstantinos Fortounis (De Wit, 56′), Richard Sukuta-Pasu (Walch, 62′), Willi Orban (Petsos, 87′)
FC Bayern: Luiz Gustavo (Alaba, 83′), Nils Petersen (Gomez, 85′), Toni Kroos (Schweinsteiger, 88′)
Other Bundesliga matches:
Hertha v Stuttgart 1-0 (Raffael)
Hamburg v Köln 3-4 (Petric, Rajkovic, Son; Chihi, Novakovic, Clemens, McKenna)
Nürnberg v Augsburg 1-0 (Esswein)
Freiburg v Wolfsburg 3-0 (Barth, Jendrisek, Makiadi)
Hoffenheim v Bremen 1-2 (Firmino; Arnautovic, Rosenberg)
Leverkusen v Dortmund 0-0
Hannover v Mainz 1-1 (Abdellaoue; Allagui)
Schalke v Gladbach 1-0 (Raul)
Next match: Saturday (10/9) v Freiburg (Bundesliga), 3.30 pm local time