“Out of the frying pan and into the fire!”
So muttered the illustrious former Hertha director Bilbo Baggins upon running into a spot of bother whilst plundering Kevin Grosskreutz’s basement for riches beyond Thorin Oakenshield’s wildest dreams. Yet, between the point when one hops out of the frying pan and one hops into the fire, there must come a point when one is neither sizzling in the oil of the frying pan, nor burning in the flames of the fire, a momentary respite from the consuming heat. For FC Bayern, this moment occurred on the 7th of April, as Jupp Heynckes team took to the pitch at the Allianz Arena against fellow Bavarian side FC Augsburg.
The match kicked off under the majestic gaze of hot, blazing Bavarian sun, a scintillating topaz in the glistening crown of the azure sky. Within no less than four and twenty seconds of play, Mario Gomez received the ball in the box courtesy of a magnificent run by Franck Ribery, converting the chance with his second shot after first being denied by Augsburg ‘keeper Simon Jentzsch. This early lead would set a tone of complacency among Jupp Heynckes’ charges, who, try as they may, would be unable to build upon their lead for the remaining portion of the half. Nonetheless, die roten fully dominated the first fifteen minutes of this match, mostly played in our own half, occasionally nervously chatting up the back of Jentzsch’s net only to run away as soon as the Augsburg defence displayed any chance of asking our attacking players to come upstairs for coffee. Our best chance of this spell of play came in the eighth minute, as Arjen Robben drove a free kick wide of Augsburg’s post. Augsburg would have a similar chance in the 15th minute, coming much closer to converting a skilfully worked set of one-two passing to pull Manuel Neuer off his line, but Jerome Boateng intercepted Axel Bellinghausen’s shot and the score remained 1-0 for Bayern.
Bellinghausen’s free kick and following shot would mark a turning point for this game. From hereon, Augsburg would begin to counterattack up the wing in a manner eerily similar to Bayern’s style of play against Marseille during the week. Nonetheless, our boys in red would twice come close to doubling their lead, first through a low Phillip Lahm drive not dissimilar to Axel Bellinghausen’s only a few minutes earlier, and then via a chancy hoof from the edge of the box by Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. These would all be to no avail, as a minute later (in the 23rd minute, to be precise) Axel Bellinghausen would beat the offside trap with a delicious run down the wing, threatening to shoot and eventually passing backwards to Wolfsburg loanee Koo Ja-Cheol, who encountered little resistance blasting the ball past the half-stranded Neuer for 1-1.
The remaining twenty minutes of the half, though without marked incident, would be a veritable end to end cracker, rife with poor ball control and wild possession statistics, bursting like the overripe peach that is Manuel Neuer’s shorts with disjointed counterattacks and shots off target. In the thirty-second minute of play, Thomas Müller lofted a header from an Arjen Robben cross wide of the post. Five minutes later, Mario Gomez would squander a similar opportunity. Franck Ribery was next denied a birthday goal by the net tragically being positioned seven thousand yards to the right of where he directed the ball. Vobis vincere quidam, te aliquid amittere.
The second half opened in much the same way as the first closed. Bayern’s first chance came in the 48th minute, with a glorious passing movement meekly finished off by David Alaba. Two minutes later Thomas Müller, apparently forgetting this wasn’t the Marseille game (and there were times when I forgot this, too), cut in from the flank and zinged a woeful effort high and wide over the bar. A minute later, Shifty Eyes made his first change of the match, hauling off Anatoliy Tymoscapegoat for Toni “Schweinsteiger should never be used in a double pivot midfield with” Kroos, who promptly demonstrated exactly why he had earned said nickname, at all times playing no more than two feet away from the climber of pigs.
The match was decided in Bayern’s favour in the 60th minute, as Mario Gomez yet again converted a Robben pass from the wing into a goal, sending Jentzsch the wrong way with a tap in as smooth as a Joachim Löw pick up line. From this point onward Heynckes’ men, doubtlessly with the midweek game against The Great Satan in mind, took the game down a few notches, nonchalantly passing the ball hither and thither, to and fro, stepping up to place a shot on occasion, but little else. Augsburg had a marvellous chance in the dying embers of the game, deflected by Neuer, who fisted away the ball as if it were a tin can casually trashed by Sven Bender. A minute later, Franck Ribery departed the pitch goalless for the oncoming Diego Contento, and two minutes later Bayern left the pitch with three points.
- Manuel Neuer was probably responsible for two of our three points today. Simply magnificent, as per usual.
- Perhaps it’s because it was Franck Ribery’s birthday, but Arjen Robben surprised us all with his (wait for it) speed, unselfish play, and keen passing vision, creating most of our chances. I am quite certain I didn’t take LSD before or during this match.
- His Serene Highness Friedrich Leonhard Ignatius Josef Maria Lamoral Balthasar “Fritz” von Thurn and Taxis once again extended his magnanimous dominion towards the microphone for this match on SKY, stealing the show with his reedy voice and pearls of wisdom.
- After the match, a journalist asked the (otherwise mediocre today) Bastian Schweinsteiger “Wouldn’t Dortmund be more scared if you’d beaten Augsburg 5-0?”.
“That’s an interesting point you bring up. I will devote all my attentions to a full and comprehensive analysis of your erudite speculation”“Are you shitting me?” responded the climber of pigs, before suavely riding off into the sunset.
- Oliver Kahn appeared during the half time advertisements on Sky, with the intention of selling us a beautiful, beautiful plate of sausages. Uli Hoeness is going to roast him for that.
- Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Stuttgart held on to their spot at the top of the form table, while Dortmund overcame Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg 3-1 to retain their three-point lead over Bayern.
- Mario Gomez’s goal bore an uncanny resemblance to that easter egg on Twilight Princess that allowed you to slay Ganon with nothing but a simple fishing rod. Yes, bloggers sometimes do other things in the basement.
- Err… I was impressed by David Alaba‘s work at left back today. It seems Heynckes’ patience with the Austrian is starting to bear fruit. This is why you should always listen to Heynckes, and not me.
- That new haircut really doesn’t suit Holger Badstuber. He looked like Arjen Robben
before his ‘groin injury’back when the Dutch winger had hair. It looks like there will be no cherries on the ice cream sunday tonight at Chez Badstuber.
- This preview contains no use of the word Fuggerstädter. My sincerest apologies.
- White shirts. That is all. Thanks.
- 1-0 Gomez (1′)
- 1-1 Koo (23′)
- 2-1 Gomez (60′)
- FC Bayern:
- Toni Kroos (Tymoshchuk, 53′)
- Diego Contento (Ribery, 90′)
- FC Augsburg:
- Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (Rafael, 55′)
- Tobias Werner (Ndjeng, 75′)
- Stephan Hain (Hosogai, 82′)
Team stats (Bayern-Augsburg):
- Ball possession: 55% – 45%
- Shots taken: 16 – 6
- Passes completed (in %): 439 – 315 (87% – 84%)
- Corner kicks: 3 – 5
- Tackles won: 48% – 52%
- Fouls committed: 15 – 14
- Distance covered: 111,9 – 111,9
Leading player stats (Bayern-Augsburg):
- Touches: Jerome Boateng (87) – Sebastian Langkamp (71)
- Shots taken: Mario Gomez (5) – Ndjeng/Werner (2 each)
- Passes completed: Jerome Boateng (69) – Sebastian Langkamp (47)
- Crosses attempted: Arjen Robben (4) – Axel Bellinghausen (3)
- Tackles won: Bastian Schweinsteiger (15) – Sebastian Langkamp (15)
- Tackles won in %: Bastian Schweinsteiger (79%) – Sebastian Langkamp (75%)
- Distance covered: Thomas Müller (11,8) – Daniel Baier (11,6)
- Fastest sprint in km/h: Franck Ribery (32,8) – Tobias Werner (31,9)
Next match: Wednesday at Dortmund (Bundesliga), 8 pm