At the Allianz Arena today, FC Bayern München took home the 1-0 win over SC Freiburg in what is best described as a disjointed performance. Choosing to prioritize the upcoming clash with Barcelona over the week rather than the league we've already won (FC BAYERN DEUTSCHER MEISTER!), Heynckes sat his first choice players at both outside backs and in the entire midfield. At the outset, Jupp Heynckes lined up rookie Emre Can as the left attacking midfielder and while it was far from a disaster tactically, it was clearly not Can's strongest position and I hope that moving forward in the future Can is played back in defensive midfield where his skillset is best served. The rest of the team looked out of sync as one would expect of a second string lineup and luckily no one put in a disastrous performance, though I was not particularly impressed by the defensive midfield
The first 35 minutes of this match was a back and forth affair, with several attempts on goal from Bayern and several dangerous, albeit thwarted counterattacks from Frieburg. It took a 35 minute free kick from Xherdan Shaqiri to break the back and forth. Following a foul on Rafinha on left of the penalty area, the diminutive Swiss international stepped to the ball. The resulting free kick was basically a straight shot that any keeper would have saved if not for the presence of Emre Can as a potential target. Oliver Baumann played to punch attempted header instead and it proved his undoing as the ball sailed harmlessly past Can and Baumann's fist and into the right side netting to put the home side up 1-0.
What impressed me most about this Freiburg side was their composure on the ball, their ability to switch play from side to side, attack on the counter (maybe not the best counterattack), and their defensive organization. While sure there were flaws in their game, they played well as a team, and they are young enough that they are going to get much better in the next few years provided they can keep their core intact. With their position as Europa League contenders and potentially Champions League play in contenders, I'm optimistic they can do that for at least another year.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first half. Bayern attacks thwarted followed by Freiburg counters, which came with decreasing frequency and more impotence as the match moved on. A 58' pass to Claudio Pizarro saw the sexy Peruvian beast loose a 30-yard through ball to Mario Mandzukic who brilliantly chipped the keeper only to see his effort dink off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick. A 67' high boot challenge on Rafinha by Daniel Caliguiri as the lone card recipient in this match, seeing yellow for his troubles.
The 74' saw the introduction of Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez for Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic respectively, which saw an immediate impact on the game. Anyone who thinks that Franck Ribery isn't one of the greatest players in the world should watch the last 30 minutes of this match, and see the immediate impact he had on his introduction. With him on the pitch, through balls across the face of goal became a regular feature as Mario Gomez missed several great chances, including one within seconds of their introduction. Javi Martinez entered the game in the 84' for Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who was far from impressive in this match, in Heynckes final substitution which took them from then to end of the match when the real excitement began.
In stoppage time, a field stormer took to the pitch in jeans and bra and made it close to 100 yards before being collared and escorted out by security (which brings to mind this wonderful series on SBNation that you can spend hours laughing and getting lost in, and this particular gem of a baseball game that my father was at). Lost in that hilariousness is that with the final whistle, FC Bayern now sit on 84 points, setting a new Bundesliga record for single season points only a single season after Borussia Dortmund broke the old record. There are still 3 games left and barring further lost points, we could see Bayern end this season on 93 points (for reference, the highest ever in the EPL is 95, and the highest in La Liga is 100, both in 38 matches). Following the all important midweek clash with Barcelona, we see Borussia Dortmund on the weekend in MatchDay 32 which is all probability going to be a preview of the UEFA Champions League final. Make sure you tune in next Saturday at 12:30pm ET.