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The Bayern Munich 12th man: the ball boys!

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We’ve got world class ball boys at the Allianz Arena and they’ve been playing their part in recent weeks.

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Bayern Munich's German forward Franck Evina (C) plays the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, southern Germany on April 28, 2018.
Bayern Munich's Franck Evina in action against Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, April 28, 2018.
(Photo credit: GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Of all of the world class talent in the Bayern Munich squad, there’s been another subtle difference maker, particularly at the Allianz Arena; the ball boys! We can all recall Bayern’s 2-0 loss to Hoffenheim back on Match Day 2 of the season, when Hoffenheim scored their first goal by taking a quick throw-in while there was still another ball on the other half of the pitch after Mats Hummels had cleared it. There was plenty of controversy over the goal, but it ultimately stood and contributed to one of Bayern’s worst performances of the season.

Bayern now benefiting from sharp, alert ball boys

In recent weeks, Bayern have fortunately found themselves on the beneficiary end of acute awareness from their ball boys at the Allianz Arena. Though Bayern did lose 2-1 to Real Madrid in leg 1 of the Champions League semifinals, the build-up to the goal scored by Joshua Kimmich all started with one of the ball boys quickly giving a ball to Sven Ulreich to take a quick goal kick. Three passes later, Kimmich was sprinting down the right channel with the ball at his feet before slotting it past Keylor Navas, as Marcelo was caught way out of position after making one of his runs forward to join in on Madrid’s attack.

Watch the replay of the goal [very] carefully; Ulreich takes a the goal kick quickly and if you look closely, you can see the ball boy sprinting down the touchline to go and collect the other ball that was right on the sideline:

More recently, during Bayern’s 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, there was some intervention from a ball boy when things were still level at 0-0. Around the 28-minute mark, Frankfurt’s Branimir Hrgota wanted to take a quick thrown-in after Ulreich had come well off of his line to make a clearance, but the ball boy refused to give him a ball quickly, knowing that Ulreich was in a desperate sprint back towards his goal. Hrgota, along with the traveling Frankfurt supporters inside the Allianz Arena, were not impressed by the cheeky tactic, but it potentially saved Bayern from going 1-0 down and things could’ve been far different had that been the case.

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Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Sven Ulreich (L) plays the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, southern Germany on April 28, 2018.
Sven Ulreich in flight against Eintracht Frankfurt, April 28, 2018.
Photo by Günter Schiffmann/AFP/Getty Images
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Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Sven Ulreich plays the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, southern Germany on April 28, 2018.
Ulreich clears the ball vs Eintracht Frankfurt, April 28, 2018.
Photo by Günter Schiffmann/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s too bad we cant take our ball boys with us to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium for Leg 2 against Real Madrid; otherwise we’d be the odds on favorites to overturn the 2-1 deficit!