FC Bayern advanced to the Round of 32 in the DFB Pokal today, easing past an outclassed Kaiserslautern squad in the Allianz Arena by a 4-0 score-line. The only blemish for Bayern was the loss of Rafina, who left with an injury in the second half.
Although Die Roten fielded a side with a lot of reserves, the talent gap was still pretty apparent from the early going. Bayern took a few minutes to feel out the defense, but soon found a way through, as Arjen Robben fielded a long ball off his chest and slipped a through pass to Pizarro, who buried it:
A beautiful pass by Robben who drew 2 defenders before pushing it right into the open space where Pizarro was running. But at this point, K'slautern actually got 2 decent chances in the subsequent few minutes. One was well-saved by Starke as he moved laterally, and the other came when Starke was wandering too far off his line and couldn't get back to save a low blast. Luckily for Bayern, it rattled off the post. If Kaiserslautern had scored there, they surely would have sat back and tried to defend for the remainder of the match. But as it was, Bayern went into the half with a 1-0 lead; not enough to feel 100 percent confident, but certainly a good edge, considering we had controlled the majority of the possession and were creating chances repeatedly.
It didn't take long into the 2nd half for FC Bayern to seize control with Robben and Pizarro (again) netting within 15 minutes of the re-start. The wind came out of Bayern's sails, though, as it seemed like Rafinha got hurt in about the 78th minute. I didn't catch any word on the injury - if anyone has more details, leave it in the comment section. Robben sealed MOTM honors with a garbage time goal 2 minutes from time.
- The veterans really looked the part today, as Robben, Pizarro, and Tymoschuk controlled the match. Certainly nothing in a match like this is guaranteed, and Kaiserslautern is a respectable opponent. But you'd hope that those 3, with years of experience in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, would be able to assert themselves from the early going. Today, they were able to, and Robben especially looked like a man among boys (which, in a match like this, he was).
- Emre Can did a few things well, but he had at least one bad turnover that could have cost Bayern. I think it was Boateng who got back to win the ball away, but if the situation had gone slightly differently, that could have turned into a good scoring chance for Kaiserslautern. Can is aggressive, though, which you like to see. And you can tell that opponents don't want to go near him if there's a loose ball nearby.
- Things sort of unraveled for him near the end, but I have to say, I thought K'slautern GK Tobias Sippel had a few good saves. Of course he won't consider it a great day after giving up 4 goals, but he had a nice save on an Alaba free kick that was dipping to the far low corner, and he also made a quick reaction save on a Pizarro shot that kept it at 1-0 late in the first. If Kaiserslautern could have scored on either of their chances late in the first half, we'd be looking at those Sippel saves as what kept them in the match for a while.
- Elsewhere, Leverkusen needed extra time to get past Arminia Bielefeld, and Hannover 96 and Dynamo Dresden are currently level at 1 goal apiece in extra time. Check back a bit later to see results there. Thanks for reading.