The murky situation in Group F of the UEFA Champions League got a little more clear today, as FC Bayern Munich demolished Lille in a comprehensive thrashing. Bayern still has a pair of matches to go in the group stage, but this win put everyone on notice that Die Roten will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the tournament.
Although Lille may have tried to recreate their strategy from the last match, when every Bayern build-up was met with tripping and grabbing, the boys gave them very little to work with today: Bastian Schweinsteiger gave Bayern the lead with a wicked bending free kick in the 5th minute. After that, Lille had no option to sit back and play defense, and they were instead forced to chase the game - with predictable results.
After a few half chances and solid build-ups, Claudio Pizarro broke through on a nice pass from Ribery. Pizarro's blast showed he has plenty left in the tank, as Lille 'keeper Mickael Landreau has no chance (despite the ball arriving from at least 20 yards away). And it was only 5 minutes later that Bayern struck again, this time from a Robben free kick that took a deflection on its way into the net.
At this point, a Bayern win was already in the barn, and it was just a question of guys trying to make the highlight reel (along with avoiding injury). Pizarro's second came from a nice pass from Philipp Lahm that Claudio managed to slide into in front of the goal mouth - not the prettiest goal on the day, but it required a good run, a precise pass from Lahm, and perfect timing. And Lahm found Pizza-man again a few minutes later, this time with a high ball for a perfect header that confirmed the route was on.
After the half, the pace of the match slowed a bit (understandably), but Bayern's defense still held up well. Throughout the entire match, Lille scored on one of the 2 or 3 real chances they had. Kalou's goal came from distance and was struck pretty well; they also had a header that went just over the bar, and a long strike that Neuer saved (and that might have carried over anyway). But they weren't allowed to set up shop in Bayern's end of the field, and anytime on of our back 6 took possession, we cleared it into offensive build-up without losing it.
Some video -
This is Bastian's free kick (along with a few good replays:
This is Pizarro's first - defenders look totally lost:
This is Pizarro's second:
And Kroos - was this 3 assists for Lahm on the day?
- Finally, we got something going from a free kick. Okay, Robben's was a little lucky, but Bastian's was just perfect from the start. Now, if we could get something from a corner, we'd be in business.
- I think some of his teammates forgot how fast Alaba is. On 2 occasions, he had to slow down to wait for a pass to get to him. Against tougher foes, it will be important for him to get the ball in stride.
- Chelsea barely beat Shakhtar, and Juventus crushed the Danish side in that group. Barcelona were handed a loss by Celtic (though they should still advance). Meanwhile, in our group, Valencia won decisively - so next match, Bayern vs. Valencia, is for all the marbles.
We'll be back with more later. Leave your impressions in the comments, if you're interested. Thanks for reading.