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Matchday 18: Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-2 FC Bayern München: Müller's Goal and Assist Makes the Difference

The Rekordmeister stamp on to its title defense after a long layoff, widening the gap to 10 points in the league

Dennis Grombkowski

Ahhhhhh. Fußball ist zurück!

FC Bayern reopened its league title defense with a 2-0 win against Borussia Mönchengaldbach in Borussia-Park. Thomas Müller was involved in both scores, which increased 'Gladbach home goal concessions by 28.6 percent.

Rafinha feeds a ball through to Thomas Müller, who Oscar Wendt played onside. Müller crosses the ball to Mario Götze who splits Martin Stranzl and Alvaro Dominguez and shoots it to the right of Marc-André ter Stegen. A handball from Granit Xhaka caused Patrick Gagelmann to point to the spot, and Müller doubled the advantage for the Bavarians.

Here are some thoughts throughout the match, the 42 consecutive unbeaten one for the Rekordmeisters:

  • Mönchengladbach was out manned once, when Müller stayed onside and crossed the ball to Götze who finished far post with loads of space. After that, Christoph Kramer and Granit Xhaka sat deeper to assist their defense, which made service from the wider areas harder to come by. Consequently, 'Gladbach conceded the center of the park, allowing Dante and Jérôme Boateng to sit beyond the mid-line, which meant the only real chances the Fohlen created was on a rush forward.
  • Max Kruse and Raffael could not figure out a way to get into the areas they work best, which meant Mönchengladbach could not get as much of an attack forward to try to get back in the match. Kruse was able to challenge Neuer with some bursts forward, but the passing in the final third from the Fohlen was not good enough for him to do so consistently. Raffael was largely invisible, with only 44 touches throughout the match, although he was still able to link up the play well enough to create some very dangerous chances.
  • The defense sure looks different when Philipp Lahm is playing the holding midfield role than when anyone else does. He not only commanded the midfield with Toni Kroos and Thiago Alcântara, but also acted as a plug between Dante and Boatrng. Perhaps Bastian Schweinsteiger is the only other player that has the defensive intelligence and the passing ability to play that role. Thus, until number 31 comes back, Lahm will continue to play in midfield with Kroos and Thiago playing front of him more times than not.
  • The great thing about a flexible front is the amount of space it can open up for players with a strong shooting touch. With 'gladbach allowing the space, players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago took more of an initiative to have a go, even if it was 25 meters away from goal. A lot of those firecrackers required acrobatic saves from ter Stegen, who had a tremendous day between the pipes. Against a side not as solid at the back, like Hamburger SV or Manchester United, that ability could be a great asset to have.
  • Seeing Manchester United manager David Moyes in the stands was an interesting prospect, considering Dante was linked to a moved to his side earlier this week. Maybe it was not the 28-year-old that the Scottish gaffer was eying, but his presence was nonetheless curious. He may just merely be looking at one of his potential Champions League competitors, but considering the transfer window is open for seven more days, that seems less likely.

The new Mario Mandžukić saga is worth a follow, considering he was not named to the team sheet for alleged passive practicing. Add to the fact that Franz Beckenbauer does not think the forward will fit and that makes the situation even more juicy.

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