In what was a tense affair, Bayern Munich walked away from the Commerzbank Arena today with all three points on the back of a stunning 13' volley from Mario Mandzukic and some, at times great, and at other times nerve wracking defending.
The beginning of the match started as an end to end affair with both teams winning corners within the first four minutes and putting the goalkeepers under immediate pressure to perform. However, after the initial flurry of excitement, Bayern settled into the match and saw its possession and attack oriented system begin to dominate the match as they took the game to Frankfurt. A 9' cross from David Alaba saw Toni Kroos slam a header that rattled off the right crossbar before ultimately spilling out to be collected by Frankfurt. However, their efforts paid dividends when in the 13', the cutting in Phillip Lahm dished it out wide right to Thomas Muller whose cross found Mario Mandzukic in the center of the box, where the Croatian side volleyed the ball home to put Bayern Munich up 1-0. In the 32', a slippery Franck Ribery beat his man on the left and was fouled on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick from Toni Kroos found Dante in the center of the box whose left footed shot was, unfortunately, directly at Kevin Trapp.
In the 41st minute, Bayern conceded a corner to Eintracht Frankfurt who put the ball past the far post where Johannes Flum headed the ball back across goal towards Alex Meier who put the ball home for Frankfurt. Fortunately, it was both ruled a handball and offside on Meier, to the relief of Munich fans everywhere.
The first half was dominated by Bayern Munich as their press constantly won back the ball from what was a sloppy Eintracht Frankfurt side. By the time the halftime whistle sounded, Bayern had outshot die Adler 10 to 4.
The second half saw die Adler makes a series of defensive adjustments that stifled the Bayern Munich attack but not their possession. The 66' sub of Thiago for Shaqiri saw no realignment as the team pushed forward in attack. As the half progressed, Bayern made no changes to its defensive alignment, and as the game wore down and the centerbacks tired, Eintracht Frankfurt pushed more and more men into attack, and became more dangerous. The foolish 55' yellow card for Dante probably didn't help. As the game wound towards stoppage time, the Bayern defense imploded as a Frankfurt counterattack saw Srjdan Lakic down near the penality box and a momentarily crazy Manuel Neuer rushed out to meet him beyond the penalty box despite the presence of Dante. A collision at the conflux of the three and the ball saw it squirt out and only the long range and very extreme angle of Lakic shot allowed the defense to recover in time to block the shot on the way to goal. Two minutes later in stoppage time, Alex Meier got free between the two centerbacks and only a clumsy knee shot on goal stopped Frankfurt from equalizing. A foolish foul in the third minute of stoppage time saw Frankfurt with a very dangerous free kick at the top of the box, which was blocked wide for a corner that never came as referee Peter Gagelmann blew the full time whistle.
Bayern Munich survived the away trip to Frankfurt and looked much more impressive on the day in both attack and defense than they did in MatchDay 1. They shored up some of their previously noted weak points in defense, by reducing the space between lines and by reforming their banks with width. However, there is still quite a bit of work to do, as this team still looks very vulnerable on the counter and looks defensively weak late in matches. The growth from last week was welcome, and the fact they get to carry all three points home with them is the best news of today's match.