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Bastian to Sebastian: A breakdown of Bayern Munich's fantastic second goal against CSKA Moscow

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Bayern Munich's second goal was equal parts opportune timing, the strategic use of zone overloads, and Arjen Robben.

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In  the 83rd minute of Bayern Munich's win over CSKA Moscow, the game was a close affair. While Bayern Munich held the advantage in every capacity, Moscow had threatened on more then one occassion. It was the kind of lead and game where the inevitability of a late equalizer looms over you like a cloud. It was at that time that Sebastian Rode gave Bayern Munich fan the breathing room they needed.


Following a short corner from Bayern Munich, the CSKA Moscow defense in a state of disarray. With 4 Bayern Munich targets in the box, the defense is already outmanned as Bayern Munich threatens to attack again. While the defense steps up to reset, Arjen Robben is pressured to ensure Bayern Munich reset possession. However, as it's Arjen Robben, he deftly works his way out of pressure. Now with free space and an unmarked Sebastian Rode in an overlapped positoin, he's able to push the ball into space for Bayern Munich to immediatley attacked the outmanned Moscow defense. With seemingly limitless time, Sebastian Rode picks out a long cross to the far side of goal and an unmarked Jerome Boateng.


With the rapid onset of the Bayern Munich, the Moscow centerback are far out of position as Bayern Munich attacks the near post with Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski. Recognizing the danger the Moscow centerbacks begin moving to cover the two Bayern Munich attackers as well addressing the cross.

Continuting his run following the pass to Rode, Arjen Robben crosses the entire box to combine with Jerome Boateng. After combining, Robben makes a byline run looking for the quick combination. This pulls the Moscow fullback inside allowing massive space on the back side of Boateng. As Robben makes his move, the secondary run from Bastian Schweinsteiger around Boateng is the move that completely unlocks the Moscow defense.


With the fullback out of position, this gives Schweinsteiger a large amount of room to work with on the left. With Moscow centerbacks playing single cover, the potential overlap around the fullback draws the Moscow centerbacks away from the center of the box to defend. Now with their primary defenders out of position or tracking the near post run of Lewandowski, Moscow completely abandons the far post. With the room afforded to Schweinstegier by the run from Arjen Robben, he has the time to hit a cross to the head of the onrushing Sebastian Rode. Sebastian Rode obliging buries it in the back of the net to make it 2-0 to Bayern Munich.

While much has been made lately of Bayern Munich's ineffectiveness from set pieces, this sequence shows the advantage of using the corner as a strategic weapon, using free bodies to overload the Moscow penalty box. The breathing room goal from Bayern Munich was equal parts pouncing at the opportune time as well as a strategic decision - and Arjen Robben being a hurricane.