Bayern Munich figured out a way to seemingly return to form today in a 5-2 victory at the Allianz Arena against Werder Bremen. Yes, I understand that it was "just" Werder, but the manner of the victory was good to see.
FCB fell behind early on another counter attack goal. This time it was Theodore Gebre Selassi getting behind and past David Alaba for the shot to beat Manuel Neuer. Ten minutes later, Bayern would equalize through Franck Ribery! The Frenchman burst up the middle, received a nice through-ball and then finished past Raphael Wolf. Bayern nearly took a 2-1 lead after a little bit of intricate passing in the box, but Clemens Fritz cleared Claudio Pizarro's chip shot off the line with a bicycle kick. Unfortunately for Bayern, Aaron Hunt would grab a goal in the 36th minute to lead Werder into the break with a 2-1 lead.
The second half was all Bayern. They turned a 1-2 deficit into a 4-2 lead by the 61st minute. Pizarro grabbed a brace against his old team, and then Bastian Schweinsteiger added another with a header following a Philipp Lahm cross. Pizarro's first goal came from a flick-on header from Thomas Müller following a Ribery corner. The second came after a great run from Ribery before a pass by Alaba for the tap-in. The fifth goal would come from Arjen Robben with his patented "cut to your left foot, dribble across the box, and shoot" seconds after entering the game as a substitute.
Here are my takeaways from the game.
- Pep Guardiola started a 4-2-3-1 with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez in the double pivot role. While some people have been clamoring for Guardiola to return to this since the team has been struggling, it didn't start magnificently with both players failing to disrupt play in the midfield enough to break up weaker counterattacks from Werder. However the beginning of the second half was a different story, and they dominated the field until Martinez was moved back to centerback when Dante was subbed out for Arjen Robben. Just the other day, Guardiola spoke out about how the only issue with Martinez was his lack of full match fitness, which is attributed to him missing half the season due to injury. If he's fit, this particular double pivot gives Guardiola another weapon to use at his disposal.
- Speaking of Schweinsteiger, it was good to see him get back on the score sheet with a nice header from open play. I thought he was playing rather mediocre through the first half, and the goal is sure to keep some of the criticism at bay. I'll be interested to see if Guardiola starts Schweinsteiger against Real Madrid on Tuesday, or if he goes with Toni Kroos.
- As of late, I've been wondering if Franck Ribery had checked out mentally following his loss of the Ballon d'Or to Cristiano Ronaldo and the butt injury that kept him out of action for some time. He was still making runs and putting in the effort, but his game clearly wasn't there. Today, we saw glimpses of the Ribery we know and love in the first half, but then he fully emerged in the second half. The run he made into the penalty area before cutting the ball to David Alaba for Claudio Pizarro's second goal was great to see. Hopefully, the confidence remains heading into the Champions League match.
- Should we be asking if Pep Guardiola should start Claudio Pizarro over Mario Mandzukic against Real Madrid? Yes? No? I don't know. I still feel like Mandzukic brings more to the table, but Pizarro... no. I'm sticking with Mandzukic. Right?
- Does anyone laugh when you see Arjen Robben do what he did today? We basically know what he wants to do every single time the ball is at his feet when he's out wide. He wants to cut inside on his left foot and rip a shot on target. Today, he cut on his left foot and dribbled across the top of the box before putting the ball into the back of the net with his left foot. The guy is something special, and Bayern will need him to keep being special if the club want to win another treble.