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Instant Analysis: Bayern Munich vs. FC Nürnberg

Die Roten won all three points to keep their league lead at 13 points, but it was far from a comfortable affair.

Lennart Preiss

Hosted by der Club, Bayern Munich were looking to earn 3 points to keep their Bundesliga lead at 13 points and extend their unbeaten run to 49 games. However, the start of this match was an extremely terse affair, and Nürnberg outshot die Roten for the first 15 minutes as their high press gave Bayern Munich a huge fit. It wasn't until after a steady string of end to end counterattacks from both sides ended by Mario Mandzukic heading home his 12th goal of the season in the 18', that the visitors began to look comfortable.

A 49' goal from Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm, his first in the Bundesliga since 2010, put the visitors farther ahead, and it was smooth sailing from there until Tobias Welz blew the full time whistle.

Some thoughts from today's match:

  • It was a very aggressive first half from der Club, as they really took the game to Bayern Munich with an aggressive high press that forced the midfield into numerous turnovers. Hiroshi Kiyotake had several excellent chances that flashed just over or off the crossbar in the opening minutes. Manuel Neuer was forced into making several excellent saves, and it was in many ways the busiest ~20 minutes of his season.
  • Bayern Munich started in their traditional 4-1-4-1 but were completely lopsided until close to the 25-30' mark when they transitioned into a 4-2-3-1 with a Lahm/Thiago double pivot. It was enough to start slowing down the Nürnberg attacks and counters, but it didn't completely stop them.
  • Arjen Robben really does not belong on the left side for Bayern Munich. Cutting off his best move really hampers the Dutch international which was only worsened by the lack of support caused by the Nürnberg high press. He was much more active and more involved in the game when Guardiola switched him to the right flank in the second half.
  • The two early injury substitutions for Nürnberg really hampered them. With no subs available later in the match they were forced to almost completely abandon their high press (forced to settle for just some normal pressing) in the second half, and by the end of the game, it was evident their entire squad was exhausted. They barely posed a threat by the end of the game.
  • That exhaustion allowed Guardiola to sub in Javi Martinez and shift both Lahm and Thiago forward into a more effective version of Bayern Munich's normal 4-1-4-1. While they didn't ultimately score, they did well to start pinning Nürnberg into their own half and earning sustained possession.

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