FC Bayern Munich took on Koeln and beat them for the first time at the Allianz Arena. They produced a performance which will give them plenty of confidence for upcoming matches.
Franck Ribery's temper flares quite often. But this time his temper cost him a spot in a Champions League final, which his team went on to lose.
With about 33 minutes played on the clock, Ribery lost his cool. Koeln was playing with five defenders and Ribery was unable to break through to goal. Henrique Sereno was getting on his nerves. Both he and Sereno were shown yellow cards for bickering in the penalty area.
Unfortunately, Philipp Lahm didn't sense the signs—he didn't pull Ribery away. Mario Gomez made his best efforts to keep Ribery away from Sereno. Soon afterwards, Sereno provoked Ribery and Ribery duly obliged.
He attacked Sereno and was shown a second yellow.
Koeln—fortunately for FCB—did not use the advantage. Bayern still looked to have the upper hand in the first half. In the second half, Bayern finally made the breakthrough. Koeln failed to clear the ball properly following a simple attack.
A mistake from a Koeln defender saw the ball at Thomas Mueller's feet. Mueller quickly made his way towards goal and squared to Gomez for an easy finish.
Mueller was soon subbed afterwards—his reaction was one of a professional. He shook hands with everyone before sitting down on the bench. Bayern on another day would have tried to protect the lead. However, they did what their normal style allows them to do: attack freely. A second came when a corner from Toni Kroos missed everybody and fell to David Alaba to smash in from close range.
Kroos himself scored a third to end a long scoreless run: This is his first goal since Matchday 10 of last season in a 4-2 victory over Freiburg. That goal was as special as was this one. Kroos did a 360-degree turn to collect the ball and then chipped it over a clutch of players, including former Bayern keeper Michael Rensing.
The win ensures that Bayern remains at the top with a three-point lead over second and third placed Dortmund and Schalke, respectively. Of the 16 times that Bayern has won the Autumn Championship, they have won the title 14 times.
Prior to the win over Koeln, Bayern found out that they will play Basel in the last 16 of the Champions League. Basel shouldn't be taken lightly.
Last season, they gave Bayern a tough time in Switzerland, and Bayern won 2-1 there. Jupp Heynckes was happy with the draw—as were the players—but any team that has beaten Manchester United is a team that commands respect.
And so, we approach the final match of the year.
The German Cup last 16 tie against VfL Bochum is on Tuesday. Bayern travels to the Ruhr valley to play the team, which is ninth in the second division. Bochum holds fond memories for Bayern. They played Bochum on Matchday 33 in 2010, and wrapped up the title in the Allianz Arena with a 3-1 win.
Thomas Mueller scored a hat-trick in his breakout season in that match.
As far as Bochum is concerned, they are the 'ignored' side of the Ruhr. Their nickname was the 'Unrelegettables' a few seasons ago. They were the below-average side that survived relegation every season. When Bochum was relegated, almost the entire league breathed a sigh of relief.
Recently, Bochum played the leaders of the second division Fortuna Dusseldorf and came out with a 1-1 draw. Their last match in the Bundesliga was against FSV Frankfurt and they won 2-0.
As far as familiar names in the roster are concerned, you might recognize Christoph Dabrowski. Lukas Sinkiewicz played for Leverkusen, and as far as I can remember, he had a very evil.
The most familiar name is Bjorn Kopplin. He was one of those 'wunderkinds' of the Bayern youth academy. Bayern sent him to Bochum in 2010. He was a right-back, and back then, Philipp Lahm was the right-back.
He is a talented lad—he lit up the stage with Germany at youth level.
Let's hope selling Kopplin doesn't come back to haunt Bayern—as selling Hummels did.