FC Bayern took a major step towards the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League today, scoring twice and bringing a 2-0 lead back to Germany for the second leg. Bayern controlled the majority of possession from the start, and always looked the more likely side to win. But OM had a few chances from counter-attacking and pouncing on loose balls, and we actually needed a nice quick-reaction save from Manuel Neuer to keep them off the board.
The Bayern line-up was as expected. Marseille threw us a curve-ball, though, with Remy starting up front (despite rumors that he'd be out with a hamstring injury). In the early going, it was pretty clear that Marseille would be happy to get away with a 0-0 result. They usually had at least 8 guys behind the ball, and sometimes 9, whenever Bayern tried to set up shop. Still, they were clearly looking to take a chance to kick out on the break when possible, as they nearly did on two occasions in the first half.
Bayern generally did a decent job in the middle of the field, but our attack broke down a few times when we got into the final third. The Marseille FB (was that Azpilicueta?) did a pretty solid job on Ribery, I thought, and they came in with the idea to double-out on our wings whenever went into dribbling mode.
Still, we were pressuring them pretty consistently, and the breakthrough came late in the first half. Marseille could arguably say that Lahm got the ball with his hand before his pass that started the break ... but, he then got immediately punched in the nuts right afterwards, which wasn't called, so I don't think they have any right to complain.
Some general observations:
- The commentators were really giving it to Marseille's 'keeper, but I don't think he played terribly. The first goal came off his hand, but still - it was a hard blast that was rising from ground level and he had already gone out to meet it. That's a tough save for anyone.
- Lahm is looking excellent over on that right side. I don't know why it took us so long to hit upon that idea - Alabaster + Lahm is growing into our FB pairing of the future ... which might mean Rafinha is out of ajob.
- Bastian's yellow card mean he'll be suspended for the next match, which is good - get it out of the way now, so it won't come back to haunt us in the later stages. But I think we have 3 other guys who are a single yellow away from a missed game. So that could come back to haunt us later.
Video - both goals should be here. We'll be back later with more analysis and a look ahead. I don't want to start scouting Real Madrid yet, because anything could happen, but this is a very positive result.