Match Day Recap: Bayern Munich 2 Stuttgart 0
It was a very workmanlike performance for Bayern Munich as they systematically dismantled Stuttgart in the South German Derby. A lot went right for us, and there were a lot of positives to take away from this match, especially the play of Mario Götze. He was relentless on the attack, and his passes were hitting the mark all game. Also, it was really nice to see him get a goal. He had a somewhat slow start to the season after his world cup heroics, but it looks like he's getting back on track.
Gianluca Gaudino continues to earn the trust of Pep by answering the call and playing some very solid minutes. He came on, unexpectedly, for Holger Badstuber (more on that later) and played with no fear. Seriously, apart from his boyish good looks, you would NEVER believe this kid was only 17. Plus, Franck Ribery not only dressed for the first time this season, but he actually played! And, not only did he play, he actually scored a goal and, goodness, what a goal it was.
However, I think my biggest positive from this match was the play of Xabi Alonso. I admit that I had my reservations when we brought him on board, particularly when I heard it was on a 2 year contract, but he has looked like he'd been playing with this current squad for years based on the chemistry I saw out there. He was setting up several give-and-go's with Götze in the first half that were very impressive, as was his work on set pieces.
Now with all the positives out of the way, I can get down to the negatives. We still seem to have an Achilles heel when it comes to defending aerial players on set pieces. Antonio Rüdiger had a golden chance off a corner early that made him look like Manute Bol among a team of pygmies. Mark my words, one of these days, that poor defense is gonna bite us right in the back side.
That, however, was not the worst thing to take away about this match. The worst was undeniably the injury to Holger Badstruber. When he first went down, I thought Pep was being cautious with subbing him off for Boy Wonder, but this morning I saw the devastating news on twitter that there is a tear in a thigh tendon, and he will be out for a long time.
Awful news for @Badstuber: Diagnosis of injury is a tendon tear in thigh with operation necessary. Set to be out for a long period again.— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 14, 2014
I can't even begin to say how sorry I feel for Holger. He has come back time and time again from injury, and he just keeps getting beat down by it. I certainly hope this is not the end for the once promising young center back, but how many more devastating injuries can he return from? One of the things I love about this club is that even if this IS the end of the road for him, the front office will take care of him because that is the Bayern way. If he can no longer play, they'll find a job for him with the club that will ensure he is taken care of as the front office has done time and time again. I know talk about this is premature as we don't know how major the surgery or the recovery time will be. Ugh, this is just so deflating. Please, get well soon Bads
Bayer Leverkusen 3-3 Werder Bremen
In what was one heck of a back and forth affair, this match saw Sebastian Prödl of Bremen play the hero with a late equalizer in the 85th minute to secure a draw. Leverkusen first went up 1-0 early from Tin Jedvaj, but Bremen tied it up right before the half on a goal from Fin Bartels in the 45th minute. Bremen then went up on Leverkusen in the 60th minute on a goal from Franco Di Santo, but Bayer answered right back in the 63rd from Hakan and again in the 73rd from Heung Min Son. All in all, a draw was appropriate here as both sides were close in possession.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 SC Freiburg
There was never any doubt about this match as Dortmund easily made mince meat of Freiburg. The big story here is the return of Shinji Kagawa who scored in the 41st minute. Dortmund outshot Freiburg 15 to 4 and completed their passes with 85% accuracy. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adrian Ramos were the other goal scorers for Dortmund, while Oliver Sorg spoiled the clean sheet with a meaningless 90th minute goal. Give credit to Jürgen Klopp, however. With the loss of Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan, Mats Hummels, and Nuri Sahin, he continues to find the "next man up".
Hoffenheim 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg
In a match that you would think VfL would win easily, give a golf clap to Hoffenheim for refusing to roll over. They played Wolfsburg very close and, when Anthony Modeste scored the go ahead goal in the 55th minute, it seemed like that was all they would need. However, Ivica Olic played the hero for VfL with an equalizer in the 89th minute to secure a draw. If they want to be considered as contenders for Champions League birth, they can't afford to drop points to a team like Hoffenheim.
Hertha BSC 1-3 Mainz 05
In what was a closer game than the score sheet would tell you, Shinji Okazaki's brace would be all Mainz needed to secure the win. Hertha outshot Mainz 17 to 7, but only 3 of those found their mark. Mainz was much more efficient with 6 of their shots being on target. An 86th minute goal from Ronny of Hertha seemed to give them life after Sami Allagui made it 2-0 in the 70th minute, but the final goal from Okazaki put an end to that.
Paderborn 0-0 Koln
A scoreless draw for the two newly promoted clubs. Only 5 total shots on target combined in this game so there really isn't a whole LOT to talk about. Both teams should probably be happy with coming away with points if both teams want to remain in the BL.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-1 Schalke 04
In a somewhat surprising result, Gladbach ran roughshod over Schalke who looked nothing like the squad that played Bayern to a 1-1 draw on Matchday 2. Andre Hahn opened the scoring up for Gladbach with the first 2 goals in the 17' and 50'. Schalke answered right back with a goal two minutes later from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. However, Gladbach got one right back in the 56' from Max Kruse and another one in the 79' from Raffael to put the game away. Both sides completed over 80% of their passes had plenty of shots on goal (9 for Gladbach, 6 for Schalke), but this was one time where Gladbach just had that extra edge playing in front of their home crowd.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-1 Augsburg
Augsburg came away with a very important away victory in Frankfurt thanks to a 49' goal from Raul Bobadilla. Both sides played this one very close. Frankfurt had the edge in possession 59% to 41%, but Augsburg had more total shots (17 to 14) and shots on goal (7 to 5). Augsburg has got to feel pretty good about getting full points in an away match this early in the season.
Hannover 96 2-0 Hamburger SV
Hannover scored quick goals in the 13' and the 24' from Leon Andreasen and Artur Sobiech and smothered a sloppy looking Hamburger squad the rest of the match. Both sides had 11 total shots, but not a single one was on target for Hamburger. The big story in this one for Bayern was the debut of Julian Green who couldn't do much to help a hapless Hamburger attack and was subbed off at the 46'. Now, it's his first game and there is certainly time to improve, but this hasn't gotten off to the fast start that many were hoping it would.
Bayern News Roundup
Some injuries, some praise for our coach and some interesting insights into one of our favorite sons. Oh, and Toni Kroos is in the news again.
New Book About Pep to Be Released October 16th
Not a whole lot is going to surprise in this book, but that won't stop people from drawing a whole lot of erroneous conclusions from it. To sum it up, Marti Perarnau was allowed to shadow Pep for his first year of coaching at Bayern and document the highs and the lows. It should be a good read for those interested in the story behind the story. There is a pretty good snippet of the upcoming book here
Thomas Müller Breeds Horses, Warms Hearts
From the "awwwwwww" department, apparently Thomas Müller and his wife breed horses in their spare time. I could try to summarize this article, but I wouldn't be doing Raphael Honigstein justice. It's a great look into the life off the pitch for Tommy and how far he has come from his small town upbringing in Pahl. Anyway, I'll let the article do the talking. It's a great read
Rafinha, Thiago, Weiser Continue Rehab
Not a whole of groundbreaking stuff, but all three are working with Bayern's fitness specialists in Munich. It's good to see them running around and being able to do some agility drills. Maybe that Thiago injury isn't quite as bad as people thought.
Toni Kroos Exposed?
Apparently, Toni Kroos has not blown the roof off the Bernabeu like many thought he would. I know this news doesn't have anything to do with Bayern as he doesn't play here anymore, but after his comments about how Real was a "step up" over Bayern, this is an article that piques my interest.
No World Cup Hangover For Bayern Players
With the Champions League coming up, there are many suggesting that Bayern Munich will suffer a hangover of sorts from having so many of their players on the World Cup winning German team. Tommy Müller dismissed any such notion. Phillip Lahm, however, took a different approach, calling Real Madrid the favorites to win it. Now this is actually not uncommon in sports to have a player lower the expectations to motivate his own squad, and frankly, I'm not surprised at all. Both of these players comments are very indicative of their own personalities. Müller is the bold fearless one, unafraid of the challenge of winning a CL and a World Cup within the same 12 months. Lahm is the reserved, humble one who cares to defer the hype to other clubs whose fans probably care more about that kind of stuff than ours do. One thing's for sure, both are certainly ready for the group stage to start and by gum, so am I.
Beer Of The Week
With Oktoberfest right around the corner, I am going to pick a (surprise!) Oktoberfest beer for the BotW. But, of course, with every brewery known to man doing Oktoberfest beers that are pretty hard to differentiate, we are at the Meister like to pick beers that put a different spin on the classics. Well, Saranac has done so with their Dark-tober(fest) beer. It's a German style lager but has a much deeper, copper color to it due to the Munich malt that is used. It has a richer flavor to it than what you may expect from an Oktoberfest brew and is a tad more boozy at 6.0% ABV and 25 IBUs. Some people are very traditional with their views on what an Oktoberfest SHOULD be, and the classics are classics for a reason. But, I will always try to pick a beer that maybe you fine folks haven't had yet and one that goes a little bit off the wall.