When Bayern Nunich walked out to the crowd at the Allianz Arena, it was certainly with the intent to avenge a hinründe draw against SC Freiburg. In their first meeting of the season, SC Freiburg were able to snatch a late equalizer just before second half stoppage time to hand Bayern Munich their first dropped points of the season.
Fast forwarding 5 months later and while Bayern Munich have only dropped points on one other occasion, Freiburg have struggled under the weight of increased expectations, fixture congestion, and the loss of star players like Max Kruse. To say that Freiburg's season has been underwhelming would be an understatement as they currently sit in 15th place, just above the relegation zone.
However, those story lines do not do them justice, nor does the embarrassing 4-0 scoreline that resulted from their clash at the Allianz Arena. It was one of those evenings were everything went wrong for Freburg in front of goal and everything went right for Bayern Munich.
The visitors came in with a deliberate gameplan for stopping Bayern Munich. That gameplan was to foul, and disrupt possession at every turn. By the time 90 minutes had elapsed Freburg had made 26 tackles, 17 interceptions, and committed 11 fouls. For a good portion of the beginning of this match, they weren't in control, but they were composed and organized in front of Oliver Buamann's goal. But where Freiburg really lost control of the match was in the air where Bayern Munich won two third of the aerial duels and on the ground where Freiburg passed for less then 70% accuracy.
Yet. all It took was one moment of poor concentration from the Freiburg defense for Diego Contento to send a measured cross with plenty of time direct to the head of the unmarked Dante. The Brazilian international's powerful header flew into the far corner of Oliver Baumann's goal. From there on out it was just Xherdan Shaqiri and a series of unfortunate events for the visitors in the first half.
The 22-year-old Swiss international doubled Bayern Munich's advantage in the 34th minute when a brilliant backhell pass from Claudio Pizarro into open space saw Shaqiri beat the Freiburg defense to get 1 on 1 with Oliver Baumann. Shaqiri had almost zero chance of beating the goalkeeper from short range at his near post. But just as Shaqiri shot, a challenge from a Freiburg player, saw the ball deflect up, whizzing past a stunned and flailing Baumann's head, to ping off the post before settling into the net.
It was only 8 minutes later when Toni Kroos got loose down the center on a quick attack, interchanged with Xherdan Shaqiri on the left, before centering for the Swiss international to hit it first time. The ball looked on its way to forcing another great save from Oliver Baumann before Thomas Müller gangled his way in front of Baumann, deflecting the ball past the wrong footed Freiburg goalkeeper.
Three goals to the good, it was only natural that Bayern Munich allowed SC Freburg one absolutely brilliant chance immediately there after, which the visitors buried in the back. Unfortunately, with lady luck elsewhere shining her shoes ,the assistant referee saw fit to adjudge Freiburg were in an offside position. Replay showed that they were clearly not. Shortly thereafter the halftime whistle blew on what can only be described as one of the most thoroughly unlucky halves of football for SC Freiburg.
The second half was a back and forth affair from both sides with Bayern Munich defending well, stopping Freiburg from putting quality chances on goal. On the flipside, Bayern Munich struggled to generate high quality chances on offense as the Freburg defense were staunch and organized for much of the second half. With the introduction of Daniel Van Buyten in the 78th minute Bayern Munich reverted to their Heynckes-ian 4-2-3-1 with two banks of four defenders and two pressing attackers for the final 10 minutes of the match.
This was as much an attempt to utilize the players on the pitch to their maximum potential as it was to also stop a very aggressive Freiburg side. That aggressiveness eventually cost Freiburg as two minutes from time, Claudio Pizarro slotted home the fourth goal for Bayern Munich with a great 20-yard strike past Oliver Baumann. He celebrated as only Claudio Pizarro knows how.
Bayern Munich finished the match with 16 shots on the day, nowhere even near a record number for them. What was truly unusual was the 12 shots they allowed Freiburg to take on the evening. The fact that not a single shot against was on target all game speaks to the desperation with which the visitors were throwing shots at goal in the attempt to even grab a lifeline after the horrible unluckiness of the first half. Yet at the same times, it was a great defensive showing from a Bayern Munich squad that for most of this season has looked tenuous and weak at the back. It's also become a continuation of a pattern to mark the second half of the season under Guardiola in that Bayern have looked more tactically sound in defense since returning from winter break. Their UEFA Champions League visit to the Emirates on Wednesday will be the true test of how much they've perfected their defensive structure. For now they can celebrate the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with thoroughly annihilating your opponent on the final scoreline tally.