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FC Bayern Overcomes Napoli and Referees, 3-2

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After one of the uglier second halves I've seen in a while, FC Bayern held on to beat Napoli, 3-2. With the win, Bayern goes to 10 points in the group, and can basically clinch the top spot with a win over Villarreal in two weeks (only a loss by major goal differential after that would hurt us). Mario Gomez stole the show in the first half, scoring an impressive hat trick to put Bayern ahead, and the officials and Napoli's acting school dominated the second half.

The biggest casualties of the match: Bastian Schweinsteiger, who broke a collar-bone in a collision while going for a header, and Holger Badstuber, who will be suspended after two yellow cards.  Basically, this match was a tale of two halves, with each one having its own feel.

FIRST HALF

FC Bayern took very little time to settle in, taking control of the game from the first minute.  Our midfield (in conjunction with Boateng, who looked sharp pressing forward from the right side) dominated the ball.  Gomez has long had a reputation as a poacher who can basically clean up the trash when fed by a good midfield, but his first goal was a true goal-scorer's goal, controlling the ball through a spin and sending in a hard, low shot from the angle.  After that, Napoli had to chase the game, and Gomez was there to capitalize almost every time they left a space at the back.

(The only exception was about 2 minutes after the first goal, when Gomez + Ribery ignored a wide-open Müller on the right flank to work a worthless one-two-knock it out of bounds play with each other.  Anyone else notice that?)

But, anyway, there's no way to criticize Mario after this match.  The second came from a nice high ball from Kroos, which Gomez met with perfect timing.  And the third was a goal from the classic Gomez playbook - cleaning up a rebound by being in the right place in the right time.

Napoli pulled one back in the last second of the half from a clean header.  And, to be fair, that was a decent goal (Neuer couldn't have done anything, just a well-placed ball).  But with a 3-1 lead going into the half, Bayern was in good shape.

SECOND HALF

I don't want to say too much here, because I'm somewhat drunk and I don't want to write something I'll regret ... but DAMN, Napoli is a freakin' crooked team.  Not only do they dive, which is unfortunately common in today's game, but they actually LOOK to dive from the moment they win the ball.  It's one thing to cut through the defense and look to score, and if you can't get a chance, then try to sell a penalty.  Napoli doesn't even begin to try to create offense.  They just pass the ball around and perform dribbling moves until a defender tries to take the ball away - then , when anyone tries a tackle or a tries to cut off a run, they immediately fall to the ground and complain the officials.

Badstuber, who had picked up a somewhat legitimate yellow in the first half, was sent off from a cheap call.  Inler pulled a complete dive to win a free kick.  It was clear that Napoli wanted to get a numerical advantage to try to get back into the game.  Despite Fenrandez's second goal, though, Bayern held on the the win (and almost notched another, when Lahm and Alaba both had shots blocked late).

Schweinsteiger's injury looked serious from the minute he went down.  I thought it might have been his shoulder blade, but apparently he fractured his collar-bone (which is usually a month off, if not two).  We have a bit of cover at the midfield spot ... it's mainly just annoying that a player who does so much, and who's so fun to watch, will be on the shelf for a while.  Anyway, I hope he takes his time and comes back when he's ready - if we get Robben in December and Bastian in January, we can still hit our peak at just the right time.

If we can manage a win vs. Villarreal next time, we're basically assured of winning the group.  Elsewhere, Real clinched their spot, Benfica blew their chance to do the same, and Inter won to take control of their group.  Can't find any video footage yet, but we'll be back tomorrow with some more analysis and hopefully some highlights.  Thanks for reading.