Some years ago, even predating Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s pioneering work in the field of social networking, it came to pass that a vast boulder, 10 kilometres in diameter, plummeted down from the heavens onto the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, submerging the primeval land under wave, rending high mountain peaks to their knees, laying waste to forests, enveloping the young earth in a cloud of dust, and wiping out vast swathes of said planet’s reptilian sizeable populations. This is what came to mind after watching Bayern dismantle Hoffenheim today at the Allianz Arena.
Make no mistake, the scoreline belies these two sides’ respective performances. From Mario Gomez’s formative touches of the ball to Arjen Robben’s near death experience towards the end of the 90 minutes, Bayern wholly dominated this match, masterfully deploying the fluid and (if we are to be fully honest with each other) caustic counterattacking game that we’ve seen Heynckes attempt to develop over the last few months. Bayern tore through Markus Babbel’s side like a child defacing a cheap copy of a (purely metaphorical) trashy bestselling autobiography by a footballer who has captained his country, leaving this viewer with the reflection that, while the salad dressing may be won against the likes of Dortmund, Schalke, and Moenchengladbach, the salad bowl is won in the provinces.
I must admit, even I did not anticipate such a rout. From the right off, we had chances. 15 seconds in, Franck Ribery attempted a shot from close distance, though unfortunately Hoffenheim’s defence left the Frenchman standing on the pavement with balloons and a mariachi band in toe. Five minutes later, Mario Gomez opened the scoring with a scintillating blast past the stranded Starke. At this point, one could be forgiven for expecting Bayern to sit back, popping out of the trenches every once in a while to paint a picture of the enemy positions, so to speak. However, much like Thomas Dewey’s resounding victory over Harry S. Truman in the 1948 American presidential election, this was not the case.
In the twelfth minute, Phillip Lahm was sent down in the area after a flurry of chances. Arjen Robben’s following penalty would double the score. Once again, I expected Bayern to repeat their tried and tested strategy of grinding out an ugly victory. Once again, I was proven wrong, as Toni “form of his life” Kroos knocked in a superb low drive to make it 3-0 for the home side in the 18th minute. This goal set the pattern for the rest of the match, a very simple yet no less enjoyable pattern involving Bayern scoring shedloads, Hoffenheim playing abjectly, and the camera panning to a dejected Sebastian Rudy. The match, by this point out of sight, should have been called off as a mercy kill by referee Marco Fritz, yet it would continue for 70 more minutes, encompassing five goals, a Mario Gomez hat-trick, various camera shots of Uli Hoeness grinning like demented cat, the second coming of Bastian Schweinsteiger, a cheeky Thomas Mueller shot from a standing position on the right side of the box, a Boris Vukcevic yellow card, and a Luiz Gustavo own-goal.
The growing list of reasons to wear a smug and self-righteous grin did not end there. Elsewhere in Bavaria, the rekordmeister’s cause was furthered by Augsburg, who held Dortmund to a 0-0 draw at the SGL Arena, decreasing the Borussians’ lead at the top of the table to 5 points. You didn’t think you’d read those words back in October, did you?
A few points:
- Hoffenheim did not lose this game, we won it. Yes, the village people were as woeful and unwatchable as their namesake, but only because we allowed it. This aspect of our game has been on gardening leave in the south of France for most of this season.
- Despite his brace, Arjen Robben was something of a liability to the team, failing to take several gilt-edged passing opportunities. While this was of little consequence against Hoffenheim, the same opportunity for error is not affordable against Basel on Tuesday.
- I only found out four hours after the match finished that Holger Badstuber was playing. I think that sums up Hoff’s attacking efforts quite nicely.
- Markus Babbel has never won a Bundesliga game against Bayern as a coach.
- As if the signs did not turn bleak for Hoffenheim to begin with, Babbel’s men were wearing white kits. The curse lives on.
- Yet again, Manuel Neuer’s relative absence from the game gave the German international goalkeeper yet another opportunity to pick up a gold medal in the biathlon. Like reusing old calendars, voting for a leftwing political party, and starting Daniel Van Buyten at right-back, that pun will never grow old to me.
- 1-0 Gomez (5′)
- 2-0 Robben (12′)
- 3-0 Kroos (18′)
- 4-0 Robben (29′)
- 5-0 Gomez (35′)
- 6-0 Gomez (48′)
- 7-0 Ribery (58′)
- 7-1 Gustavo (OG, 85′)
- FC Bayern:
- Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Boateng, 46′)
- Ivica Olic (Gomez, 57′)
- Bastian Schweinsteiger (Müller, 62′)
- 1899 Hoffenheim:
- Sandro Wieser (Firmino, 62′)
- Dominik Kaiser (Vukcevic, 87′)
- Peniel Mlapa (Weis, 87′)
Team stats (Bayern-Hoffenheim):
- Ball possession: 61% – 39%
- Shots taken: 23 – 4
- Passes completed (in %): 546 – 266 (92% – 84%)
- Corner kicks: 13 – 4
- Tackles won: 57% – 43%
- Fouls committed: 12 – 15
- Distance covered: 112,8 – 112,8
Leading player stats (Bayern-Hoffenheim):
- Touches: Franck Ribery (104) – Jannik Vestergaard (57)
- Shots taken: Arjen Robben (5) – Ryan Babel (2)
- Passes completed: Philipp Lahm (71) – Vestergaard/Compper (35 each)
- Crosses attempted: David Alaba (5) – Boris Vukcevic (3)
- Tackles won: Arjen Robben (15) – Jannik Vestergaard (11)
- Tackles won in %: Jerome Boateng (89%) – Marvin Compper (67%)
- Distance covered: Luiz Gustavo (11,5) – Tobias Weis (11,8)
- Fastest sprint in km/h: Jerome Boateng (33,4) – Ryan Babel (33,2)
Next match: Tuesday v Basel (Champions League), 8.45 pm