If only Thomas Schaaf’s wonderful crew could get their heads together…
These days though, Bayern don’t necessarily require others to fall in a hole to order to keep hold of the top spot. Bayern beat Frankfurt 2-0 in a win which can be best described as "labored." After the intensity of the first half against Lille, a lesser performance was to be expected.
The injuries have started coming once again. Mario Mandzukic was good enough for the bench today but not good enough to start. Holger Badstuber’s injury resulted in a deficiency of true defenders on the bench. Daniel van Buyten came on when Jerome Boateng went off in the first half.
Ten out of the 11 who started against Lille started this one. Thomas Müller was the one who left the lineup this time for Toni Kroos. Bayern started on the front foot and dominated the opening exchanges.
However, Frankfurt, lying third in the table, slowly grew into the match.
They missed some great chances because of Bayern’s inability to clear the ball from set pieces. Bayern themselves did well on set pieces of their own on the day. David Alaba, the man of the match in my opinion, stung the hands of Kevin Trapp. Kroos found Bayern’s favourite Belgian bull with his cross. However, van Buyten was offside when he headed in.
Speaking of offside calls, Frankfurt have a brilliant offside trap. I have never seen Bayern caught offsides as many times as today. In the second half, it was becoming quite annoying.
Nonetheless, Kroos set up a brilliant chance for Arjen Robben in the first half, but the Dutchman couldn’t find the back of the net.
As the first half came to a close, Alaba jumped and danced his way through three Frankfurt players and found Javier Martinez of all people on the right flank. Martinez set up Ribery for an easy finish. Bayern almost doubled their lead within a minute, but Kroos’ effort was parried by Trapp.
The fact that Bayern didn’t panic and took the lead despite having not scored early on is a good sign for the future. In the second half, Frankfurt initially tried to come at Bayern. The bar was rattled, but Frankfurt did not score. Bayern kept on breaking away, but offside calls and poor finishing denied them.
Eventually, Jupp Heynckes took off Claudio Pizarro and brought on Thomas Müller. Müller brought with him a lot of energy, but when clean on goal, he stepped back as he hurt his eye. Kroos was then taken off to preserve the thin lead. The Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoshchuk stepped in.
Bastian Schweinsteiger took over Kroos’ role and earned a penalty. David Alaba stepped up and converted it. Nobody converts a penalty in this Bayern side quite like Alaba. Trapp guessed correctly but couldn’t save it because of the power of the shot and the placement of the ball.
Frankfurt finally let up, as Trapp single-handedly kept the score down.
The win is a good one for Bayern, as both the Ruhr sides secured victories today. Bremen initially led 0-1 against Schalke thanks to a superb goal from Aaron Hunt but lost out, as Roman Neustadter and Julian Draxler struck twice in 10 minutes in the second half.
After the match, I switched to the English Premier League to watch Arsenal play Fulham. The score was locked at 3-3, and the commentators were going on about a wonderful game.
In all honesty, though, even though that game was a lot of fun, Bayern vs. Frankfurt was a true contest.
Both teams were pressing each other from the off.
The comparison between the two is perhaps not fair, as the clash in the Bundesliga was between the first and third sides in the table, and that in the EPL was between the sixth and seventh.
Nonetheless, the quality of the Bundesliga match was very high. Both teams could have scored a few in the first half despite the fact that the defending on the whole was quite good.
Frankfurt showed why they are third in the table. They are an exciting side. There are no midweek club matches; Bayern plays Nürnberg next on the 17th of November. They were drawn against Augsburg in the third round of the DFB Pokal, in case someone didn’t know.
At the moment, Bayern sit on a wonderful 30 points with 11 matches played. They are sitting atop, looking down upon their opponents.
And this time, they are not showing any signs of relinquishing their huge lead.