CL Group A Recap: Napoli v Bayern 1-1

 

My first tweet after the match was the following:

I’m neither sure how this match was not won nor how it was not lost.

This really says it all in my opinion. Bayern was the better team without being a good team. Many (potential) scoring chances were wasted, a 3-0 win would’ve been possible. On the other hand, such a mediocre, not to say inattentive performance usually leads to a loss against a team with the abilities such as Napoli. Knowing that two points were squandered, we have to be happy with the draw. Or something like that.

Lineup-wise, Mazzarri didn’t surprise and Heynckes decided to give the same XI that started against Hertha another chance. If you’re looking for a complete tactical analysis, read Zonal Marking’s piece.

The match couldn’t have started any better. Jerome Boateng passed the ball to Mario Gomez, at least that’s what it looked like. In reality, it was a pass to the unmarked because penetrating Toni Kroos who used the space created by Gomez moving a bit to the right to score a very early goal. Napoli’s weakness seemed to be found after a couple of minutes: a marked player’s horizontal movement followed by another player’s penetration to take advantage of the now completely unmanned zone.

Instead of exploiting that weakness, Bayern seemed to feel comfortable with the one-goal lead. A mistake, not least because Philipp Lahm forgot to take care of Christian Maggio once, leading to the rather fluky equalizer. Holger Badstuber redirected the ball into the own net (still, like I said, Lahm is to blame for this goal, not Badstuber).

The second half wasn’t much fun to watch. Many fouls and drama, a missed penalty kick by Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller not scoring what seemed to be a sure goal and a few other scoring chances Bayern wasted.

All in all, a disappointing match for most. Napoli didn’t look that strong (not a single shot on target in 90 minutes), Bayern was often unfocused and the ref failed to calm players down. The defense struggled with Napoli’s wing-backs, obviously not used to facing that kind of opposition. The offense didn’t play as lopsided as they had to, the right flank with Jerome Boateng who had to act carefully (no blame, that was his task) and Thomas Müller whose performance was one of the weakest of his career was almost deserted and got too much attention considering its lack of offensive firepower. It’s always stupid to say those things but in this case I’m as sure as one can be when talking about things that never happened: In my opinion, Bayern would’ve won with Arjen Robben playing. A strong right flank would’ve helped a lot, the aforementioned Neapolitan weakness of defending square passes could’ve been exploited better.

The best thing about this match: even a so-so performance is apparently enough to be able to win relatively tough Champions League matches. Since Bayern doesn’t get to play against a Galati or BATE this season, a much-needed ability.

Goals:

  • 0-1 Kroos (2′)
  • 1-1 Badstuber (OG, 39′)

Subs:

  • Napoli:
    • Blerim Dzemaili (Cavani, 81′)
    • Mario Santana (Inler, 89′)
    • Giuseppe Mascara (Hamsik, 90′)
  • FC Bayern:
    • David Alaba (Ribery, 90′)
    • Luiz Gustavo (Gomez, 90′)

Team stats (Napoli-Bayern):

  • Ball possession: 42% – 58%
  • Shots taken: 3 – 15
  • Corner kicks: 4 – 5
  • Fouls committed: 16 – 24

Leading player stats (Napoli-Bayern):

  • Shots taken: Maggio/Cavani/Campagnaro (1 each) – Gomez/Kroos (3 each)
  • Fouls committed: Gargano/Lavezzi (3 each) – Thomas Müller (5)

Other Champions league matches:

  • Man City v Villarreal 2-1 (Marchena OG, Aguero; Cani)
  • D. Zagreb v Ajax 0-2 (Boerrigter, Eriksen)
  • Real Madrid v Lyonnais 4-0 (Benzema, Khedira, Lloris OG, Ramos)
  • Lille v Inter 0-1 (Pazzini)
  • Galati v Man United 0-2 (Rooney x2)
  • Basel v Benfica 0-2 (Bruno Cesar, Cardozo)
  • CSKA v Trabzonspor 3-0 (Doumbia x2, Cauna)
  • Leverkusen v Valencia
  • Chelsea v Genk
  • Marseille v Arsenal
  • Olympiakos v Dortmund
  • Shakhtar v Zenit
  • Porto v APOEL
  • AC Milan v BATE
  • Barcelona v Plzen

Next match: Sunday at Hannover (Bundesliga), 5.30 pm

 

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2 Responses to CL Group A Recap: Napoli v Bayern 1-1

  1. Kevin says:

    It was our game and we lost it (as far as I’m concerned) by not playing smart and falling for the Italian’s ability to exploit the referee.

    Heynckes has to take some flack for waiting so long to make subs. We were tired by the 60th minute, let alone the 90th. Olic, Gustavo and Rafinha should have come in before the 75th minute mark to bolster the team and confuse Napoli into mistakes.

    The OG is disappointing but Neuer should have had a better grip on what was going on. It does fall on Lahm’s shoulders ultimately, though.

  2. Vincent says:

    I completely agree with the previous post. Around the 60th minute Bayern started to look tired, they even gave away the inniciative to the Italians. I think that was the main problem, our offensive line didn’t have enough gas on the tank to really up the tempo in the final half hour of the game.

    I can’t understand Lahm’s marking on Maggio on the play that lead to the OG, Lahm is a world class defender and he looked desperate and nervous on that play. I don’t understand why he tried to push Maggio with his shoulder (risking a penalty) instead of going directly for the ball or trying to intercept the obvious pass.

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