Marseille 0-2 Bayern: Reflections on the Match
This article perhaps comes a little too late, but I just wanted to highlight some aspects of the match.
A 0-2 win away from home is definitely one to be treasured considering Bayern's away troubles up to the point when they played Hertha. The display was professional, and certainly did not showcase what Bayern can do when firing on all cylinders.
David Alaba has been a revelation this season.
Jupp Heynckes trusted Alaba enough to slot him into the left-back berth and the move paid more dividends than expected. Bayern's record with Alaba currently at left-back, presently stands at five wins and one draw.
Alaba's attacking abilities are quite good too. He set up some great attacking moves. He is very vibrant and he rushed back to defend against counter-attacks too. However, with young talent comes risk. The yellow card Alaba received for a foul, which was totally uncalled for in the final minutes displayed that.
Toni Kroos, Anatoliy Tymoshchuck and Luiz Gustavo all have habits of making the odd tackle that deserves a booking. This puts all of them at risk of sometimes collecting an odd red card or two. While the foul Kroos committed was nowhere as bad as many of the fouls committed by the Marseille players, it was worthy of the yellow card shown to him.
This brings up the issue about the match referee.
The Spanish official was supposed to discipline the players— he did discipline them—except all of the players, bar one that he cautioned, came from the team that comitted fewer fouls, Bayern.
Marseille players got away with elbowing Mario Gomez in the face, hitting Thomas Mueller on the back with a knee and fouling Arjen Robben. Philipp Lahm was booked for arguing—as the captain—he has the right to do so.
The Bayern defence showcased its weaknesses on more than one occasion.
While Holger Badstuber generally played an almost error-free match, Jerome Boateng suffered. Boateng seems to be in dire need of a rest. Manuel Neuer was exceptional, and bailed Boateng out on more than one occasion. The Neuer that we all saw at Schalke put up displays similar to the one the German put up on Wednesday.
Bayern has to be given credit for playing to the whistle. The alleged handball, which led to the first goal wasn't given by the referee. Bayern allowed the Marseille players to complain and simply launched a brilliant counter-attack. While Mario Gomez's goal might be looked at as nothing more than a keeping error, Gomez has to be given credit for getting his shot away.
He put in a great display buoyed by the confidence of his goal against Hanover last weekend.
The Bayern players had opportunities to put in balls into the box on more than one occasion. Plenty of the balls which came into the penalty area were quite poor—Franck Ribery, Mueller and Lahm all have to take the blame for that. Lahm was caught out once by Mathieu Valbuena due to his willingness to run forward. He was lucky to still be on the pitch following a foul that merited a second yellow card.
Both of Bayern's goals came at times when Marseille seemingly had the upper hand in the game.
The goal scored by Robben was set up nicely—the one-two with Mueller was quite easy on the eye. Robben finished off the move with aplomb. However, in the closing stages, Bayern could have had a third had Robben chosen to pass to a teammate rather than shoot at goal in a situation where Marseille had thrown almost everyone forward.
Finally, this tie is not over yet. Winning the away leg does not mean that Bayern will reach the semi-finals.
Last year, in case anyone forgets, Bayern won the away leg against Inter Milan. We all know what happened in the second leg. Also, Marseille has a week to prepare for the second leg whereas Bayern will only have two and a half days worth of rest following their Bundesliga match against Nuremberg.
Let me hear your thoughts about the match.
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