FC Bayern Munich: A Draw of Mixed Emotions Against Borussia Dortmund
The match was tense and played at a high pace.
Two goals were traded at the end of 90 minutes. On the balance of play, FC Bayern was the better side. However, they left Mario Gotze unmarked for one moment and paid the price. Bayern dominated proceedings after they scored. Toni Kroos and Jurgen Klopp would have had little to complain about had Bayern taken home the three points.
Here are 10 quick thoughts on the match.
Javier Martinez was huge today!
The only mistake he made was to give the ball away once in a dangerous area which almost resulted in a Marco Reus goal. He was thoroughly outstanding and drove past three Dortmund players at one point.
He outshone his midfield partner, Bastian Schweinsteiger, on the day and would certainly be one of my candidates for man of the match.
Another candidate would be Thomas Muller, despite the fact that he missed two golden chances. A simple touch would have seen the ball across the line on the first miss.
However, Muller was brilliant against Marcel Schmelzer on the night.
He found space and timing that others couldn't and set up Toni Kroos' goal. Muller's 'awkward shot almost had Roman Weidenfeller fooled; overall, it was a delightful display by the German.
Bayern's left wing was brilliant today.
David Alaba and Franck Ribery had a night to remember. Ribery could have scored or even assisted on a few goals. He won the duel against Lukasz Piszczek and looked beyond control at times. Philipp Lahm on the other wing had a great night too.
On the whole, the referee didn't have a bad game, but some throw-in decisions did go against Bayern. Mario Mandzukic is not one to dive, and Neven Subotic's foul on him could have resulted in a penalty on another night. Mandzukic worked hard all night long and contributed to Bayern's attack by winning many headers. Subotic reminded me of Lumpi Lambertz of Dusseldorf.
Bayern again made little use of many of their corners and free-kicks.
Mats Hummels almost scored from a BVB free-kick. Better efficiency from corners and free kicks could have seen Bayern get another goal. They should have won this, considering that they had BVB by the scruff of the neck in the second half.
Manuel Neuer had a good game, too, as did his opposite number, Roman Weidenfeller.
Neuer did have a "communication error" in the first half with Holger Badstuber but managed to get rid of it from his mind. He pulled off some excellent saves.
Toni Kroos was slightly underestimated by me before!
I always thought of Kroos as someone who needed time on the ball to create those excellent passes, but he had little time today and played some great ones. The goal was a wonderful one. He took the ball around two Dortmund players before targeting the furthest corner of the net.
There is no player with better technique on this Bayern side currently than Kroos.
Bayern showed today that they have indeed learned what Jupp Heynckes was emphasizing for a long time. They switched quickly from defence to attack and pressed hard. They sustained pressure for 90 minutes.
A point was well deserved. Three would have been even better.
The sad part is that Bayern will perhaps have to hunt for a central defender in January. Holger Badstuber is reportedly out for six months after damaging his cruciate ligament. Badstuber played some wonderful balls during the game and it is a shame that he has to head to the sidelines for such a long period, especially considering that Jerome Boateng just returned from injury.
The other option would be to use Luiz Gustavo there after he returns.
Mario Gomez's little cameo almost saw another assist. We have recently been seeing the effect of using Gomez as a late sub in matches.
Finally, Leverkusen became Bayern's closest challenger to the throne after beating Nurnberg 2-1. They are eight points behind the club from Bavaria and are the only side to have beaten them. I considered Leverkusen a dark horse before the season but never a serious challenger for the crown.
Let me hear your thoughts on this one.
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