Bayern Beats Hamburg, Earns Third Place (w/ Video)

FC Bayern made up for a lackluster performance yesterday with a solid display today, beating Hamburger SV by a 1-0 scoreline to earn third place honors in the Liga Total! Cup for the second straight year. Yeah, I know - not very honorable. But the club performed well, with several guy who wouldn't usually be starters taking advantage of their opportunity.

I came in late in the first half, so I don't know exactly how we started off. Thanks to Brey and everyone else who improvised a Match Thread. Sorry, late night last night. From what I saw, though, we looked pretty aggressive, and the few times Hamburg did anything to create an attack, we snuffed it out. We still need to work on delivery and last balls into the area, but that's something we can tinker with over the next week.

The bad news, of course, is that these rotation guys are going to need to play as well as they've been looking. Mario Gomez will need to undergo surgery, as the ankle injury he suffered yesterday was more serious than it looked. No word on a time-table for his return, though. He joins Diego Contento and David Alaba as Bayern players who won't be ready for the start of the year. Rafinha hasn't played since picking up a minor ligament injury in the Napoli friendly, but he didn't need surgery. His presence for the start of the year is up in the air. And Schweinsteiger is supposedly OK, but he looks like he's running on fumes, and the season hasn't even started yet.

Just going to throw this out there - I'm sure everyone will disagree, but it's worth talking about:

Mandzukic

Ribery - Mueller - Robben

Tymoschuk - Kroos

Boateng - Badstuber - Dante - Lahm

Neuer

A few things to note:

- I would leave Bastian on the bench for the first match or two. He's been playing non-stop for months, and every time he has an injury,w e rush him back too soon. Let him go home and sleep in and chill with his girlfriend for a few weeks, and he can come back when he's 100 percent.

- Someone has to play that LB spot until Contento and/or Alaba returns. Boateng did it in the 2010 World Cup, and I'm not convinced he's any better at RB anyway. Let Lahm stay where he's played so well.

- Gustavo could just as easily be at that CM spot next to Kroos, and I don't have any special reason to put Tymo ahead of him. I just thought that, with Gus able to play along the back line, he could be a better second-half defensive boost from the bench, and he would give us flexibility.

- Mandzu and Pizarro is an interesting question. More on that later. Thanks for reading.

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