In a preview of their DFB-Pokal matchup, Hamburger SV held off Bayern Munich to receive a scoreless draw in Imtech Arena on Saturday.
Bayern battered Hamburg with 15 shots, but could not force the ball into the back of the net. The Hamburg defense stood tall, coming up with seven blocked shots in the match. Jaroslav Drobný pushed away four shots and his punches rescued the Rothosen on several occasions.
Hamburg snatched their first point from Bayern since February 4, 2012. It is the second time this season the Rekordmeister have dropped points on the road this season, as well as the third time they have been held scoreless in the Bundesliga in six moths after going nearly two years without being held off the scoresheet.
The result came as a huge accomplishment for Josef Zinnbauer, who took over for the sacked Mirko Slomka just three days prior. The former reserve manager came with a conservative game plan, creating a fortified barrier that Bayern continued to bounce off of. His forwards swarmed Bayern on a high press, winning the ball in very dangerous positions for the Bayern defense.
Zinnbauer's tactics seemed to catch Bayern by surprise, die Roten unable to get a rhythm going until a quarter of an hour into the match. The first shot did not come until the 16th minute, and Bayern mustered only three shots in the first half.
With the match at midweek, Pep Guardiola elected to leave Xabi Alonso, Mario Götze, and Robert Lewandowski on the bench. All three came off the bench as Bayern tried to chase the game in the second half. The Rekordmeister held three quarters of the possession with David Alaba and Philipp Lahm playing in midfield, but the ball control did not affect the game in the way Guardiola probably wanted.
Spaces began to open up in the second half, Thomas Müller able to fire away some shots to give Drobný some work. Every time Bayern advanced forward with menace, though, Hamburg retreated in their own half to hold the palace gates. Even throwing the kitchen sink at Hamburg was not enough for Bayern to find a breakthrough.
Bayern remain tied with Hoffenheim and Paderborn with eight points in the Bundesliga, which could be good for third place depending on Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen's Match Day 4 results. Bayern face Paderborn on Tuesday, giving Guardiola little time to find a way to rekindle a stagnant attack.
Hamburger SV (0-0) Bayern Munich
Cards: Tolgay Arslan, HSV (45'), Nicolai Müller, HSV (59'), Valon Behrami, HSV (82'), Manuel Neuer, FCB (90+4')
Hamburg XI (4-2-3-1): Drobný – Diekmeier, Djourou, Westermann, Ostrzolek – Arslan (Jiráček 67'), Behrami – Müller (Steinmann 87'), Holtby, Stieber – Lasogga (Green 76')
Bayern XI (4-2-3-1): Neuer – Rafinha (Götze 61'), Boateng, Dante, Bernat – Højbjerg (Alonso 53'), Lahm – Müller, Shaqiri (Lewandowski 66'), Alaba – Pizarro
- One cannot fault Guardiola for using the personnel that he did with the Champions League match at midweek. That said, the strategy of fielding a B+ squad gets a C+ grade. Shaqiri did not replicate the playmaker Götze had been in the last few matches, and Højbjerg could not provide the deep distribution Alonso has upon his arrival from Real Madrid. Guardiola brought both Shaqiri and Højbjerg off, which begs the question if the Spanish gaffer is handling their developments in the correct way.
- The cohesion between Alaba and Bernat was fascinating to watch. Rather than behaving as cubicle-separated employees, they operated as office-sharing coworkers. Their production worked in harmony, so well that Nicolai Müller had to migrate to the left to find space. It is a marriage that will not last too long, for Guardiola will eventually have to find a spot for Franck Ribéry upon his return to fitness.
- Even at 35-years-young, Claudio Pizarro has one of the highest work rates on the team. He maneuvered through the tight Hamburg defense the best he could, but the service to him was either lacking or snuffed out. He made the right runs when he needed to, and left Müller to tire-out the defense. He is more than just a reliever for Lewandowski, but a change-of-pace attacker that could come off the bench in crucial moments.
- Arjen Robben was due to make his second Bundesliga start of the season, but was a late scratch from the Starting XI after an unsuccessful warmup. The club website has revealed that he had muscular problems in his left thigh, and Müller was the one who replaced him on the team sheet. His midweek availability is still unknown, but given Bayern's performance on Saturday, his return is becoming more and more necessary.