FC Bayern's already slim title hopes were crushed today, as the club slumped to a 0-0 draw against a defensive-minded Mainz side. After first-placed Borussia Dortmund won earlier in the day, FC Bayern already knew they were probably playing for pride. And with Ribery, Philipp Lahm, and Mario Gomez starting on the bench, and Mainz happy to lay back with 8 guys in the defensive area, this one fell into a boring pattern pretty quickly.
If there were any interesting subplots going into the match, they were Bastian Schweinsteiger wearing the captain's arm-band and David Alaba playing in a more forward role (after establishing himself as a very effective LB over the previous 2 months). But there wasn't much else to give excitement in the early going, as Bayern controlled a majority of the possession but couldn't create consistent pressure on the Mainz back-line.
I guess, given the situation, Mainz can be forgiven for playing for a draw, but it's still annoying to watch a team sit back in a defensive zone like that. Tymo came the closest in the first half when he knocked one off the woodwork, and Robben had a few threatening dribbling moves. But this was (to be honest) kind of a boring match for most of the day.
For whatever reason, Ribery and Gomez came on in the second half. I'd have been happy to let them rest, but maybe a few minutes of work will help them with the timing for Tuesday. Maybe I should be angry after a draw, but really this game was almost inconsequential. The 1. Bundi title was pretty much decided when the match started, and I'm sick of watching Bayern trying to watch all-defensive teams. I'm ready for a match between two great teams who are both trying to score. If we don't get that on Tuesday, THEN I'll be disappointed.
Some take-away thoughts:
- I thought Bastian looked OK. His touch betrayed him only once or twice, but he looked pretty authoritative in the middle of the field and was able to play the full 90.
- Not even sure why Gomez was brought on, but he almost won the game for us in the closing minutes (and maybe should have). Still would have liked to see him get a full day's rest, though.
- Not sure if everyone has heard, but all Italian matches for the rest of the weekend have been suspended. Livorno's Piermario Morosini collapsed on the field and died before he could make it to the hospital. Our thoughts are with the player's family and teammates.
Back with more tonight or tomorrow. We got a match coming up that will make us forget about this past week - for better or for worse.
* * * *
UPDATE - no goal videos, due to no goals, so maybe we can all enjoy some footage of Gerd Muller (building off of our conversation from earlier this week). There's a long intro that's NOT Gerd Muller (just music and highlights from a bunch of players), and then an interview. Some decent video footage starts at about 5:54:
Several commenters on the YouTube version say something to the effect of "he was a great scorer, doesn't get the credit he deserves."