It was a good day for Bayern Munich. For the first time this season, they played a Javi Martinez Bastian Schweinsteiger holding midfield and Bayern Munich were in their glory. They were dynamic, strong on the ball, and strong in defense and played vertical attacking football.
For the entirety of the first half, Bayern Munich were extremely structured on defense and in buildup using the combination of Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger to control the central midfield while Toni Kroos flitted around the field as a deep lying playmaker. Up top Bayern Munich had the constantly rotating trio of Mario Götze, Arjen Robben, and Thomas Müller who played with a distinct left sided bias. This shift left gave Philipp Lahm license to bomb up and down the right flank, acting as a distributor. However, It took 30 minutes before they took the lead, when Mario Götze played an intricate 1-2 with Arjen Robben, whose backheel pass found Götze free on goal to give Bayern Munich the advantage.
Bayern Munich doubled their advantage in the 55th minutes as Arjen Robben took a cheeky corner, catching the Hamburg defense napping, before Mario Götze buried it through traffic, before Thomas Müller added a slight redirection to put it past a hapless Rene Adler. Bayern added a third 15 minutes later on a counterattack down the right that saw Arjen Robben ping a shot off Rene Adler which Hamburg cleared with the skill of a apatosaurus on roller skates. The ball fell kindly to Mario Götze who buried it to earn his brace.
Hamburg would pull one back with Hakan Calhanoglu getting free during a poor defensive lapse from Bayern Munich, and the Turk buried it from over 20 yards out.
But it was Claudio Pizarro who immediately responded with a ferocious strike that saw Rene Alder, yet again deflect the ball nearly straight up. The ball was deflected so high that if gave Pizarro time to turn and bury the ensuing bicycle kick straight past Rene Adler's face in a tremendous display of skill from the 35-year-old Peruvian. Seriously, if Claudio Pizarro isn't back next year as a depth piece Bayern Munich are doing it wrong. His on-ball skill and ability are so incredibly valuable off the bench. He's played about 850 minutes this season and has already contributed 10 goals and 3 assists.
Some thoughts from today's match:
- Oh my god, Javier Martinez, where have you been for the last 9 months? The double pivoy combination of Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger looked like it hasn't skipped a beat and didn't take the last 9 months off. Both players were rocks in defense and nightmares in attack. While certainly playing the completely abject Hamburger SV helped they both, they were both structured in defense
- Javi Martinez finished the match with 6 tackles, 1 interception. This was by far his best performance of the entire season. If Guardiola moves him back to centerback after his showing today, then I give up. The partnership between Martinez and Schweinsteiger is one of the best in the world and it needs to stay that way.
- Dante is just not the player he was for most of last year. His form has been hit or miss since the winter pausen, and today really showed that even with Javi Martinez back in holding midfield, he made too many errors and was a huge issue for Bayern Munich. He still adds a ton of value to Bayern Munich in offense and is definitely their best option in that regard, but his defensive work this season just leaves too many questions unanswered.
- Guardiola's deployment of Philipp Lahm was inspired. By giving the littler German basically unfettered reign over the right side of the field, he trusted him to defend, distribute, and attack as the situation warranted. While that deployment would probably never have worked against a much better side then Hamburg, it was very encouraging to see Guardiola experimenting at trying to derive the most out of Philipp Lahm's comprehensive skillset rather then just plugging him as a distributor in midfield.
- Jerome Boateng got into a little tif with Kerem Demirbay after the later pushed him in the box. But he went way too far and was way too aggressive. He deserved that red card, and if the supposed five figure fine according to Rumenigge is true, it's thoroughly deserved. When Manuel Neuer looks like he's ready to beat the living hell out of you and he's on your team, you've gone way too far.