Another dirty win.
OK, that’s over the top, but I wasn’t a fan of the starting lineup at all. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Luiz Gustavo? Against Bochum? One defensive midfielder destroys the opponent’s attacks, two defensive midfielders destroy the own team’s. Not to mention that Ivica Olic was a massive disappointment.
So the inevitable happened. Bayern couldn’t really create anything in the first half. The two central midfielders were overwhelmed and Jerome Boateng struggled to support Arjen Robben. The only silver lining was the left flank where Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery and Toni Kroos played lovely football. Still, even they couldn’t make it count so it was Bochum who scored first. The defense was too reluctant, the hosts could play passes without much pressure and everybody expected Chong Tese to shoot the ball. Because of that, Giovanni Federico was left unmarked and didn’t have any problems to put it in the back of the more or less empty net.
Let’s give Bochum credit. Before the match, coach Andreas Bergmann said he’d rather lose 0-5 than play like Köln did. He kept his promise, his team was still defensive-minded (totally legit) but didn’t forget to attack, even though they lacked accuracy many times. Two thumbs up, Bochum.
Still, Bayern easily could’ve been the better team. As I mentioned before, Tymoshchuk and Gustavo didn’t want the ball at all, especially the Brazilian was absolutely invisible. Toni Kroos had to drop back to put them out of their misery called possession. Arjen Robben was completely isolated and always had to face two or three defenders at the same time without any support. Ivica Olic simply looked like retirement. He couldn’t convert a single of the handful of decent crosses. A honey badger without teeth.
At half-time, Jupp Heynckes did the logical things: replace one defensive midfielder (in this case it was the invisible Luiz) with David Alaba and bring on Mario Gomez for Ivica Olic.
All of a sudden, totally
unexpected, things were a lot better. The first five or so minutes of the second half were the football-equivalent of a fight between a cheetah and a sloth. I’d give you the stats if I had them but believe me, that was utter dominance.
A lovely combination between Kroos and Gomez finally put Bayern fans’ minds at rest. The Bochum defenders tried to block the expected Gomez shot but the striker played a perfect pass to Kroos instead. The 21-year old delicacy scored with ease.
However, for whatever reason, they stopped playing with that intensity after the equalizer. Bayern was still the dominating side but it looked like the players were waiting for the hosts’s exhaustion to kick in. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Both teams had a few chances but it wasn’t until the 90th minute that the match was decided. Bochum captain Christoph Dabrowski played a risky pass that was intercepted by Philipp Lahm. The left-back, who was very active today, immediately gave the ball to Franck Ribery, probably everybody’s man of the match. The Frenchman waited for the perfect moment to play a pass to Arjen Robben whose one-timer beat keeper Andreas Luthe.
That was it, a shaky 2-1 win for Bayern. Heynckes made mistakes but also fixed them himself. Toni Kroos again proved that he deserves a spot in the starting lineup, whether that’s as attacking midfielder or maybe even as central midfielder alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger, something I expect and hope to see tested again sooner or later. Rather alarming was the incredible onesidedness. The left flank featured Lahm and Ribery who were supported by Kroos, Alaba and Badstuber. The right flank on the other hand had a lonely Arjen Robben who couldn’t count on Boateng (replacement Rafinha was better in that regard), Tymoshchuk and van Buyten to support him. To have a balanced team, Heynckes would have to let Boateng start as center back with Rafinha as right-back and he’d have to get rid of the defensive midfielder to create a central midfield including Schweinsteiger and Kroos or Alaba. Whether that’s solid enough defensively remains proven. Until then, there’ll be a lopsidedness.
- 1-0 Federico (26′)
- 1-1 Kroos (52′)
- 1-2 Robben (90′)
- VfL Bochum:
- Paul Freier (Toski, 46′)
- Daniel Ginczek (Federico, 58′)
- FC Bayern:
- David Alaba (Gustavo, 46′)
- Mario Gomez (Olic, 46′)
- Rafinha (Boateng, 68′)
Team stats (Bochum-Bayern):
- Shots taken: 9 – 22
- Corner kicks: 1 – 7
- Tackles won: 44% – 56%
- Fouls committed: 17 – 10
Other DFB-Pokal matches:
- Nürnberg v Fürth 0-1 (Prib)
- Hoffenheim v Augsburg 2-1 (Salihovic, Ibisevic; Oehrl)
- Düsseldorf v Dortmund 0-0 (4-5 pen)
- Hertha v Lautern
- Kiel v Mainz
- Stuttgart v Hamburg
- Gladbach v Schalke
Next match: “Enjoy” the break.