FC Bayern 3-2 Napoli: Much Ado About Nothing; Some Things Never Change

Samrin HasibAnalyst INovember 3, 2011

Super Mario!
Super Mario!

Napoli's front trio which includes the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani has a knack of producing when it matters. Italian teams generally don't like to attack; however Plan A for Napoli is to attack. Unfortunately, Plan B is a very Italian plan: diving, cheating and whining.

In the first 40 minutes, Bayern played swashbuckling football at the Allianz Arena. The Italian commentator on Sky called it "spectacular." Mario Gomez was brilliant; his three goals portrayed different skills. The first one, which he created following a pass by Bastian Schweinsteiger was a display of pure class. The second one created by Toni Kroos showed his ability to read the offside trap and the game. The third was just a poacher's finish. Mario is now officially Germany's top scorer in the Champions League.

Despite all the improvement in defense, Bayern conceded from a set-piece at the end of the first half when Federico Fernandez was left unmarked in the box. Daniel Van Buyten was part of the guilty party. In the second half, Jupp Heynckes seemed to be happy to allow Bayern to preserve the lead and see the match out. For a team whose natural play involves attacking and searching for goals, this was perhaps a wrong decision. Napoli went for Plan B as they knew that at 3-1, the comeback was hardly possible.

Then the 'iron-man' Gokhan Inler absolutely bombarded into Schweinsteiger and broke his collar bone. Schweini will be out for the rest of the year. For a player who was in the form of his life, that is a real real shame. Bayern is half the team without him. However, all good teams find a way to win even without their best player. Bayern can win games without him. The unfortunate thing is that the fans will be not be able to watch him until January.

Then, in the 70th minute came Juan Zuniga's red card. Zuniga's second yellow wasn't really legitimate. If anyone should have been sent off, it should have been Blerin Dzemaili. A better decision would be to send off Edinson Cavani in the 77th minute for one of the best dives I have ever seen. Holger Badstuber's reaction when he was given his marching orders told the story perfectly.

Anyhow, Napoli scored a second. Bayern then finally shut the door on the Italians. Goran Pandev came on to scare the life out of Bayern but with little avail. Bayern showed exactly why they are a favorite to win a treble this year by attacking and ensuring that Napoli don't catch them out at the back. They were brilliant to simply put it in the closing stages. In those last 10 minutes, they could have had three goals via David Alaba, Philipp Lahm (who was quite good against Christian Maggio) and Gomez.

That final attempt by Gomez was amazing and it is really a shame that Morgan de Sanctis managed to clear that. Bayern's celebrations were quite muted after the game. However, I have to agree with Kroos who said that Bayern cannot be expected to win every match 5-0. What must be said is that they made too much of it. They had the game at 3-0 and that is the way it should have stayed- or they should have added more goals.

Napoli fouled Bayern players all night long. Luis Gustavo was fouled continuously as was Franck Ribery. Kroos was at the receiving end of a few blows but obviously the biggest blow fell on Schweinsteiger.

Now that Schweinsteiger is out, benching Van Buyten and playing Rafinha more regularly wouldn't be a bad idea. What was slightly disgraceful was the argument between Van Buyten and Gustavo at the end. That was completely unnecessary; Van Buyten was to blame at least partly for both goals. Not being able to clear with his head considering his height is what is disgraceful.

Well, at least after all that, Bayern topped the group. A point from their remaining two games will take them through to the Round 16.


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