Another three points, another clean sheet – Bayern’s lucky streak of having to play against “weak opponents” continues (and will until a match is lost). Leverkusen’s coach Robin Dutt decided to use a very cautious, reactionary strategy and was punished for it. Arjen Robben celebrates a glorious comeback.
Jupp Heynckes decided to give Daniel van Buyten a chance, Jerome Boateng had to enjoy one of the best seats in the stadium. Aside from that, Bayern’s lineup featured no surprises. Leverkusen on the other hand let Danny da Costa (18 years old, 0 Bundesliga experience) play as right-back and thus as direct opponent of one of the league’s currently most dangerous players, Franck Ribery. Hanno Balitsch as left midfielder/third central midfielder/second right-back was supposed to support the inexperienced da Costa, an experiment that failed almost miserably. Add to that a very poor performance by Renato Augusto, the man who was intended to build a bridge between the 7-man defense and 3-man (or 2-man if you don’t count Augusto) offense because Simon Rolfes and Lars Bender aren’t the best central midfielders when it comes to playmaking abilities, and you can already guess what happened.
Only a few minutes were played when Franck Ribery went on a rampage with da Costa as victim (and no sign of Balitsch support). Both Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller were relatively unmarked, you know what that means. It was Müller who scored, Leverkusen’s hopes were crushed while some fans were still looking for their seats.
Something I think I’ve mentioned in every recent recap: there should’ve been more goals. To be fair, a second one was scored (Daniel van Buyten with a free kick for complete humiliation of the guests) but after that the team didn’t look particularly interested in attacking anymore. Let’s make it sound more positive: they were already resting for the upcoming Champions League match (against the “first” “real opponent” that will either prove that Bayern “isn’t that good” or turn out to be “too inexperienced internationally to be considered a serious opponent”).
If you’re waiting for something about Leverkusen, I’m here to disappoint you. Stefan Kießling, the lone(liest) striker, gave it everything but there’s only so much you can do all by yourself. They did a decent job shutting down the center of the pitch, more or less isolating Toni Kroos (not as drastic as it might sound, just compared to his recent performances) but always looked fragile.
Bayern controlled, Bayern was there to maintain the lead without wasting any power. Until something happened. What happened? Arjen Robben happened.
When he left the bench to warm up, the audience became nervous.
When he entered the pitch, replacing Toni Kroos, the audience started cheering as if someone scored a goal.
When he scored a goal to make it 3-0, the stadium erupted with joy.
The rest was excitement and delight. If the players and fans aren’t ready for Man City now, they’ll never be.
Goals: 1-0 Müller (5′), 2-0 van Buyten (19′), 3-0 Robben (90′)
FC Bayern: Luiz Gustavo (Gomez, 65′), Arjen Robben (Kroos, 78′), David Alaba (Ribery, 82′)
Leverkusen: Karim Bellarabi (da Costa, 65′), Manuel Friedrich (Toprak, 85′)
Other Bundesliga matches:
Stuttgart v Hamburg 1-2 (Harnik; Bruma, Tesche)
Gladbach v Nürnberg 1-0 (Daems)
Mainz v Dortmund 1-2 (N.Müller; Perisic, Piszczek)
Schalke v Freiburg 4-2 (Farfan, Huntelaar, Holtby, Raul; Cisse, Jendrisek)
Wolfsburg v Lautern 1-0 (Dejagah)
Augsburg v Hannover 0-0
Köln v Hoffenheim 2-0 (Jajalo, Podolski)
Bremen v Hertha 2-1 (Pizarro x2; Ramos)
Next match: Tuesday v Manchester City (Champions League Group A), 8.45 pm