Initial reactions and observations:
- Eintracht Frankfurt looked very dangerous in the opening minutes of the match, but Jerome Boateng and especially Niklas Süle thwarted their best efforts to run behind Bayern’s defense.
- Bayern’s offense showed incredible teamwork today. Three goals, three assists. (Well, Müller’s was about as intentional as Rafinha’s goal!) The chemistry between Lewandowski, Müller, and Ribery was outstanding.
- How about King Franck! While Kingsley Coman regains his form, Ribery seems to have tapped his personal fountain of youth yet again. He may not have pace, but he is a clever devil. His drive and fast passing made the difference today.
- Welcome back Javi! Javi put in a solid performance today and even contributed some offensive flashes of his own. It’s a shame his effort wasn’t rewarded with a goal.
- This Bayern team looks solid, and the game today was the perfect way to cap off a Hinrunde on the rebound. Now to recover, get healthy, and prepare for the push in the Rückrunde.
Full time! Bayern win decisively and maintain a gap of just six points behind Borussia Dortmund as they head into the winter break.
90’ — Here come the subs: Kingsley Coman, Meritan Shabani, and Sandro Wagner relieve Ribery, Müller, and Lewandowski to close out the game.
89’ — GOAL BAYERN! Wait, what!? RAFINHA!!! What a crazy goal. Thomas Müller decides to get around Ndicka by playing Rafinha inside. Rafinha lobs the ball wayyyy up for Lewandowski, but it falls perfectly into the far corner of the net out of Trapp’s reach. What a golazo!
Rafinha TOTALLY meant to do this. pic.twitter.com/Tgt7wMlopz— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 22, 2018
85’ — Thomas Müller exchanges words with Ndicka in exasperation. Unusual to see him running so hot. Both of them come away without cards, though.
82’ — Rafinha goes down. It isn’t clear what happened.
On replay, Rafinha can be seen slipping on the pitch, possibly straining his groin.
79’ — GOAL BAYERN! Franck Ribery strikes twice! After Thaigo keeps possession in the midfield with incredible poise, he passes forward to Kimmich, who sends the ball on to Ribery. Ribery drives in and makes a quick one-two with Kimmich. Kimmich sends it right back to his feet wiht a deft touch of his own, and Ribery scores. He doesn’t strike the ball totally cleanly, but it’s enough to send it off the post and into the net.
76’ — Alaba receives a yellow card. Eintracht use the confusion to launch an attack. Haller connects with a cross but heads the ball up into the air. Niklas Süle made just enough contact to throw him off.
74’ — Alaba outmaneuvers Da Costa with some fine footwork. Da Costa goes crashing out of bounds and remains down for a moment before play resumes.
71’ — De Guzman makes a nice pass to Jovic on the left of Bayern’s penalty area, but the most he can do with it is fire it into the side netting.
70’ — Fernandes makes way for Nikolai Müller.
69’ — Ribery passes to Thiago inside the box. Thiago attempts to cross inside to Lewandowski, but the ball flies off of the defender’s arm. There is nothing he could have done differently, though, so the referee ignores the appeals for a handball.
66’ — Eintracht is beginning to get too physical for comfort. De Guzman receives a yellow card for a foul on Kimmich.
64’ — Ribery goes down in a challenge between Haller and Fernandes. Haller seems to have stepped on his foot. Frankfurt play the ball out of bounds and Ribery briefly receives treatment before carrying on.
62’ — Alaba on the break delivers a cross to Müller, but it takes a bounce halfway there and Müller cannot kick it cleanly.
60’ — Free kick for Eintracht outside the box. Müller clears it, conceding a corner. The kick comes right to Da Costa, but his body position is wrong and he can’t do anything with the ball. Neuer comes up cleanly with the it.
58’ — Near miss for Eintracht as a cross by Willems flies just over the head of Jovic in front of Bayern’s goal.
57’ — Another chance for Bayern as Thiago launches an attack in tackling Willems. The referee whistles to play on.
55’ — Javi Martinez shows some hustle in the midfield and makes an improbable run. Lewandowki duly delivers a cross to him, but he cannot head it cleanly.
52’ — Now Ribery storms ahead into the box. He passes out wide to Lewandowski, but Lewy bungles the first touch and cannot shoot.
51’ — Eintracht makes another push but Willems blasts it over the goal.
50’ — Eintracht try to create a chance on the right flank. Da Costa eventually takes a shot, but Neuer leaps out and catches it.
Kickoff of the second half! And we’re back.
Halftime! Bayern lead the hosts 0:1! The margin could be bigger, but Kevin Trapp pulled out a wonder save to deny Javi while Thomas Muller hit the crossbar. Here are some quick observations at half time:
- Franck Ribery is playing like his 32 year old self. It’s far from his prime, but it’s far from the washed up 34 year old we’ve gotten used to seeing this year.
- Niklas Sule has been a rock so far, let’s hope this doesn’t jinx him. He and Rafinha have been given problems by Haller’s pace, but it hasn’t yet resulted in a goal.
- Considering Bayern’s injury crisis, this is a very controlled performance from the Bavarians. The team looked very solid and well-drilled in the first half.
- Frankfurt could still threaten on counters. So far, Sule and Boateng have been able to snuff them out without incident, but as long as the Eagles keep pressing, midfield turnovers are inevitable. How they deal with these will determine the result for Bayern.
45+1 — Alaba makes a cross inside across the goal to Lewandowski, but he cannot get around the defense and the ball rolls harmlessly out of bounds.
44’ — What a chance! A desperate bicycle clearance by Falette falls to Thiago’s feet. Thiago passes to Lewandowski outside on the right flank. Lewy delivers a nice cross to Müller who heads the ball hard right off the crossbar!
43’ — De Guzman replaces Gacinovic.
41’ — Mijat Gacinovic seems to have pulled a hamstring. He pulls up after making a sprint and lays down. His teammates immediately signal for a substitution.
40’ — Phew: Ribery is back on the pitch and looks as spry as ever, making a run up the left and passing to Thiago. The Spaniard cannot connect cleanly and his weak shot is saved by Trapp.
37’ — Fernandes receives a yellow card for an unnecessary foul on Ribery. Ribery remains on the ground and is now being treated on the sidelines. Kovac has instructed Sandro Wagner to warm up.
36’ — GOAL BAYERN! Frank Ribery scores 1-0! Müller out wide on the right passes laterally to Robert Lewandowski just inside the penalty area. Lewandowski beats Falette and passes to his left to Ribery as he storms into the box ahead of Salcedo. Ribery taps the ball in!
34’ — Niko Kovac slips on the sidelines as he tries to collect a ball near his feet for a Bayern throw-in. It’s that kind of day.
29’ — Kimmich finds Martinez again on a corner kick, but Javi heads it over the goal.
28’ — Kimmich is fouled by Fernandes outside Eintracht’s box onthe right. He delivers a good free kick to Javi Martinez. It bounces out of bounds off of Da Costa.
25’ — Now Bayern counter: Ribery drives up the right flank and crosses inside. But Eintracht’s Gacinovic manages to intercept the ball with a timely slide and redirect it just outside the near post.
24’ — Willems attempts to find Jovic up front. The ball takes a deflection out, giving Eintracht a corner, resulting in an easy save for Neuer on a long-range shot by Gacinovic.
22’ — Lewandowski goes down after Carlos Salcedo kicks his foot. Free kick Bayern.
18’ — Bayern is seeing more of the ball now, although Eintracht remains dangerous. A promising pass from Da Costa to Haller is called offside.
13’ — WHAT A SAVE! Kimmich delivers a perfect corner to Javi Martinez, but Trapp makes a spectacular double-save stopping Javi and then a follow-up header by Müller off the rebound.
12’ — Eintracht concedes a free kick from outside the box. Alaba hammers a shot right on target, but Trapp deflects it out of bounds. Corner for Bayern.
11’ — Another scary chance for Eintracht: Luka Jovic breaks away and beats Kimmich, then passes to Haller. Haller draws the defense away for Jovic who shoots just wide of the net as Neuer dives.
8’ — Niklas Süle defuses another critical situation with a timely clearance on Haller, conceding a corner.
7’ — Neuer makes a crucial save: Frankfurt launches a lightning fast attack as Kostic comes in from the left, Da Costa from the right. Jovic dummies the ball, and Gacinovic passes wide to Da Costa. Neuer blocks it with his foot.
4’ — First scare for Bayern: Thiago is dispossessed in the midfield, and Da Costa drives up the right flank, crossing inside for Jovic. Neuer dives to catch the ball.
3’ — Fairly open start for both teams. Frankfurt looking to collect long passes in Bayern’s half. Bayern is attempting to build up more conventionally with overlapping runs on the wings, so far predominantly through Alaba and Ribery on the left.
Kickoff! The ball rolls again! Bayern Munich’s defense will have to be on their toes against Eintracht’s fast forwards.
20 minutes before kickoff: Another setback! Mats Hummels pulled a muscle in warmup and will have to be replaced by Jerome Boateng.
One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out! Disaster, Javi Martinez had had to come in for Leon Goretzka who is suffering adductor problems. Kingsley Coman is on the bench, so it seems like he wasn’t fit to start. Thomas Muller will be the right winger.
It’s the last game of the year! Bayern Munich face off against Niko Kovac’s former team Eintracht Frankfurt, who have been tearing it up in the Bundesliga this season. Winning here would put the Bavarians ahead of Gladbach, pushing up to second place — but a loss would mean a nine point gap from league leaders Borussia Dortmund heading into the winter break. Can the Bavarians stop the incredible duo of Jovic and Haller?
Well, let’s recap some team news. Kingsley Coman and Jerome Boateng will thankfully be available for selection, but Serge Gnabry (hamstring), James Rodriguez (ankle), Corentin Tolisso (knee), Ajen Robben (thigh), and Renato Sanches (yellow card) will not. This leaves Kovac with very few options as to the makeup of his lineup. Expect the exact same XI that started against Leipzig in midweek, with Franck Ribery swapped in for Serge Gnabry.
Frankfurt, for their part, will do everything they can to spoil the party. The eagles have the third-best offense in the Bundesliga this season, behind only the two Borussias. Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller are on fire, having scored 21 goals between them, while Bayern’s old enemy Ante Rebic has managed 5 goals and 2 assists in the same time period. With the defensive woes experienced by the Bavarians this season, it’ll be hard to keep these three at bay. But, if the team wants to enjoy a truly merry Christmas, then a win is what’s required.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Commezbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Time: 6:30 pm local time, 12:30 pm EST
Tips for commenting:
- If you’re a new member, feel free to introduce yourself. Don’t feel pressured or anything, we’re
mostlyvery friendly. Also, we’re from all parts of the world so don’t feel shy if you’re from a country that doesn’t seem represented on the blog.
- Refresh the page regularly to keep up with the discussion. One refresh every 55-60 seconds is ideal but if that’s too much then just try for one every five minutes and after every goal.
- The goal celebrations are for everyone to participate in. Even if you’re lagging behind the others, keep replying to the most recent call of the player’s name. Even if you missed the first call, just start from the second, and so on.
- While swearing is allowed within reason, please be polite to your fellow posters and avoid gratuitous obscenities.
Check out our beginners thread if you have any more questions. That’s about it. Auf geht’s!
Looking for an unending well of Bayern Munich content? Sign up for an SBNation account and join the conversation on Bavarian Football Works. Whether it's full match coverage and analysis, breaking news or something completely different, we have it all.