FC Bayern Munich stamped their ticket to the 2012 DFB Pokal Final today, although it took a few nervous minutes and a set of penalty kicks to do it. In a game in which both teams blew a few good chances and both 'keepers had some heroic moments, the match came down to kicks after neither club could find the net in 120 minutes. Some calm penalty-taking by Bayern and more great play from Manuel Neuer sealed the deal.
From the first few minutes, it was clear that this wasn't going to be a match similar to Bayern's last three. We controlled plenty of possession and got forward a few times, but there wasn't much space in the final third. And in the few chances in which we did get a shot at the goal, we spurned our chances (although Toni Kroos came righteously close in the early going).
'Gladbach struggled to get their trademark counter-attack game going as well, and the few times they did break forward, Manuel Neuer was there to save. Between good saves and authoritative play in claiming and clearing the ball, I thought Neuer was our MVP today. Monchengladbach's MVP would probably be referee Thorsten Kinhöfer and his linemen (whose names I can't find), with a couple very questionable calls going against Bayern to keep the score-sheet empty.
Some general impressions:
- Neuer - I thought he was great, seems to be finding his form at just the right time.
- Alaba, who is maturing very well for a young guy at a fairly new position, and who has helped solve our FB problem.
- Lahm, who moved from LB back to RB and hasn't missed a beat.
- Our blog, which came up with a new nickname for Alaba: he will be known as "Alabaster." I think this might have come across via auto-correct, rather than deliberately. But if someone wants to claim it, do so in the comments.
- Gomez wasn't awful, and he didn't have too many of his trademark clumsy moments. And he had a chance that was (arguably) wrongfully ruled out. Still, he isn't a creator - if he's not being fed, he can pretty much be marked out of the game.
- Petersen. It's hard to come in cold and on short notice, I'm sure, but at least keep your footing.
- Gustavo is a tough tackler and ball-winner, but he doesn't bring much to the table going forward.
Some video - this has most of the PKs (I think it's missing just one), along with the whole celebration:
Back with more later. Still alive for 3 trophies, and we probably needed a tough, dirty win - you know we weren't going to win every game by 6. Thanks for reading.