Things rarely go exactly to plan in the wonderful world of football, yet last weekend, when Bayern Munich made the long trip to Hoffenheim to continue their unfathomably long undefeated run in the Bundesliga, the Bavarian steam train almost came off the tracks entirely.
On the 75th minute, in a packed Rhein-Neckar Arena, Bayern marched up the pitch to the rough tone of their past excursions into the host's half. Mario Gotze looked flat, Bastian Schweinsteiger jaded and Thomas Muller increasingly ineffective as the seconds ticked by.
A half-arsed attack headed by the ex-Dortmund midfielder came close, but a well-timed tackle by Niklas Sule thwarted any chance of a goal. Then, as if out of nowhere, Philipp Lahm intercepted the ball, where it then bounced to Javi Martinez on the edge of the box.
Martinez then squared it to an open Franck Ribery.
What the Frenchman then did was akin to a Ronaldinho flick or a Lionel Messi shimmy: upon receiving the ball, with his back to goal, he turned and passed to Muller—who couldn’t possibly have been in his peripheral vision—in a single move.
Muller scored and Bayern went on to win, but it was Ribery’s moment of magic that encapsulated that game.