FC Bayern's run of form rolled on today, as the club defeated Schalke 04 thanks to two second half goals. Bayern dominated possession during the first half, but a few turnovers and some poor decisions prevented Bayern from taking a lead into the half. In the second frame, though, Bayern broke through and scored through Kroos and Mueller, and cruised to a vital victory.
Bayern was in control of the middle of the field from the early going. In the final third of the pitch, though, we were plagued by one error after another. Thomas Mueller had a few that he mis-hit, and Mandzukic had a chance to either shoot or lay off a nice pass, and essentially held the ball until it was stolen. In fact, our back six (and Neuer) kept it scoreless at the half, as Schalke had a few chances of their own. This also wasn't helped by the officiating crew, which was really letting the game flow (or, depending upon your point of view, allowing fouls to go unpunished). Still, I can't blame Schalke for trying to rough up Bayern players if they're not getting called for it - you do what you can get away with.
Early in the second half, it was more of the same, as Bayern controlled possession but couldn't turn it into anything valuable. But 10 minutes into the second half, Bayern broke through. Kroos put in a good pass to Mueller right on the edge of the area, then kept running through open space. Mueller did well to lay off a gentle pass from the outside of his foot, and Kroos put an accurate shot into the far bottom corner:
Less than 4 minutes later, it was Mueller creating danger again. This time, he kept it himself - after a slick between-the-legs move, he swept a soft roller past Unnerstall to the far side:
After that, Bayern went into eat-the-clock mode, aside from Robben having a 1-on-1 chance and failing to get his lob over Unnerstall. Easy to criticize Robben here, but looking at the replay, Unnerstall was trying to keep his body low to the ground and get ready to drop to either side. It was a justifiable decision to try to go high on him. Obviously you want a good scorer to turn that situation into a goal, but if the lob had worked, everyone would have been like "great goal!"
Schalke failed to field any kind of impressive rally after going down 2, their substitutes doing nothing to affect the match. Their only decent shot was a low liner from 20 yards (I think through Farfan?) that Neuer snuffed out. The Schalke fans didn't approve of their side's effort in the last 30 minutes. They certainly put up a better fight than VfB, but Die Blau und Weiss have a bit to go before they can reach the level of Bayern or Dortmund.
Some random thoughts:
- Draxler had a chance to lay off a pass for Huntelaar in the box, and tried to take it himself. I'd have to see the replay to understand what he was thinking, but that looked like a chance to create something if he'd passed it to KJH.
- After I panned their chances in the preview, Hamburg SV showed me what's up with an inspired performance against Dortmund. Their 3-2 win puts Dortmund in an early hole. And things won't get easier for BVB, as they next take on a surging Eintracht Frankfurt side in a mid-week match.
Back with more later - I'll do Bundesliga News and Notes after the weekend's games are over. Thanks for reading.