FC Bayern Munich picked up another league win and brought their lead atop the Bundesliga standings to an astonishing 20 points today. But it was anything but easy, as Fortuna took advantage of some low-energy defending from Bayern to score twice and throw a real scare into the hosts. Several missed chances from Bayern kept it close, but Ribery and Boateng both scored in the last 20 minutes to give Bayern the win.
After a somewhat lazy first 15 minutes, Bayern defenders may have been lulled to sleep, because the Fortuna goal saw practically our entire back 6 standing flat-footed. After a high lob from Fortuna's left flank, Lambertz headed the ball into the middle, where Mathis Bolly was waiting unmarked. There was, perhaps, a bit of good fortune for Fortuna, as the ball landed right on the best part of Bolly's foot, but it was still poor defending to allow him to sit in that dangerous spot without a marker on his hip:
Rather poor, but the goal did wake Bayern up. Following that, we had several good runs forward; unfortunately, we couldn't capitalize. Mandzukic and Thomas Müller both had solid chances that they blew, and our midfielders couldn't do enough to break down the Fortuna defense. But towards the end of the first half, Bayern started to make some impressive moves. First, Philipp Lahm threaded in a precise cross that van Buyten almost headed into the net. Then, Lahm made another beautiful pass, this time to set up Müller for our first goal:
In the second half, Bayern seemed to be in control again, but again it was Fortuna taking the lead. Off a counter-attack (that I think Bayern players through was offside), Lambertz ran through the ball to set up a 1-v-1 with Neuer, and beat him to the near side. But it was only two minutes before Bayern again equalized, this time through Ribery, after a touch pass from the newly-arrived Pizarro:
In fact, Ribery was our only exciting player for much of the second half, constantly pushing forward and creating chances. Although he can get a little selfish, there's no denying he frightened the Düsseldorf win every time he got the ball.
The winner, though, came from the unlikeliest place: Jerome Boateng, who had never scored a goal for Bayern since he came over in the summer of 2011. But he looked like a goal-scoring pro, rising to meet the ball with his head and drilling it straight into the back of the net. Bayern held on for a nervy (though, all things considered, probably deserved) win.
- The first goal allowed was much worse than the second. Getting hit on the counter-attack is understandable, but having three guys right near an opposing forward in the box, and not getting to him to shut down the shot, is hard to forgive.
- I've been talking up Mandzukic since he got here, so it's only fair that I say it now: he didn't have a great match. He missed a very ... I won't say "easy," but make-able chance in the first half. And his header seemed to desert him in the second. Gomez didn't do much in the time he was on, but he nearly gave us the lead with a driven header of his own.
- Great to see Boateng get the winning goal, but I'd have to say MotM was Lahm or Ribery. Lahm is easily the best passing fullback in the world, someone who basically gives you another wing to set up teammates. And Ribery is our only aggressive player for long stretches of time, the only one who will throw himself into the match when we need to create something. Kroos and Müller are both excellent players, but sometimes they need to attack the game, rather than trying to let it come to them.
- Credit to Fortuna D, who fought hard and gave a great effort, and to their travelling fans. They definitely made themselves heard, and hopefully felt like they got a good show for their money.
Back with more later. With Leverkusen and BVB both losing, our current lead is an unreal 20 points atop the league. This win wasn't perfect, but it's good to see us overcome some early mistakes to fight out way to three points. Thanks for reading.
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UPDATE - you can check out some goal .gifs here. Go down to the comment section.