Records Remain Intact as Favre Streak Continues: Lessons from Bayern vs Gladbach
Bayern Munich ended the first half of the 2012-13 Bundesliga campaign on a low note on Friday, as they had to come from behind to earn a draw with Moenchengladbach.
An early Thorben Marx penalty left the hosts chasing the game. And while the Roten drew level through substitute Xherdan Shaqiri on the hour mark, they were unable to carve out a winner before full-time.
Heading into the game, Bayern were close to half-season records for points and goals conceded. They failed to set milestones for either, however, as Lucien Favre's formidable BMG side earned their point, advancing temporarily to sixth place in the table.
As the two sides prepare for the winter break, each have narratives upon which to reflect. Read on for a full analysis.
Lucien Favre Still Has Bayern's Number
Bayern and Gladbach have met five times since Lucien Favre was appointed head coach of the Fohlen in 2011. The first ended in a 1-0 win for the Bavarians in Munich. Since then, however, Favre has gotten the better of the clashes between the two sides.
The Fohlen won both of their encounters with Bayern in the 2011-12 Bundesliga campaign; their 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena was one of just two home losses the Roten suffered all season. The two sides also met in the DFB-Pokal semifinal earlier this year, a match that ended in a 0-0 draw before Bayern advanced on penalties.
Following Friday's result, Favre's Gladbach have two wins, two draws and one loss against Bayern. And this time, the Swiss trainer did it without three key figures from the previous encounters: Marco Reus, Dante and Roman Neustaedter. With all things considered, that's quite impressive.
Bayern Are Tremendously Inefficient with Free Kicks
Given the quality in their squad, one would expect Bayern to bang home free kicks from left, right and center. Toni Kroos, Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribery, David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger...even if two or three of their stars are having an off-day, one should be up to the task.
On Friday, a rotation of Bayern players took half a dozen free kicks from very dangerous areas. Alaba and Kroos were hopelessly off target. Shaqiri, on the other hand, fired just over the bar, while Schweinsteiger had one cleared off the line by the very alert Juan Arango.
Curiously, Bayern's rotation of free kick-takers seemed to come without any feedback. After coming close, Schweinsteiger might have deserved another chance. Instead, Kroos took the next set piece that called for a right foot. Later, instead of Shaqiri—whose confidence was at a high after he scored—having another crack at it, Alaba fired well over the bar.
It may be good to have a choice, but with options comes opportunity to make mistakes. Bayern could have done much better from dead ball situations.
Bayern Miss out on Records, but That Says Little About Their Class
Heading into Friday's match, the question floating around the German media was how many records Bayern would break. By conceding and dropping points, they missed out on milestones for most points earned and fewest goals conceded in the first half of a Bundesliga season.
With 42 points, they are one behind the Dortmund side that went on to win the Bundesliga title two seasons ago. That side was ultimately less successful than the one that came a year later, when a better BVB set a record with 81 points earned by season's end.
Bayern head into the winter break two points behind the record of 44 points from a Hinrunde. That was set in 2005-06 by Felix Magath's side; the very same side that got knocked out of the Champions League following a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Milan in the Round of 16.
Neither the Dortmund of yesteryear nor the Bayern of 2005-06 were the classiest and most formidable Bundesliga teams of all time; they were just extremely effective and consistent. The second round will tell how this Bayern team ranks historically; even if they barely break the 70-point barrier, if they can win a treble, they will rank as one of the best Bundesliga sides in history.