Initial reactions and observations
- A chance to draw even with the league leader is not to be missed, and Kovac fielded the strongest lineup he could. They delivered.
- Bayern ended the game with about 63% possession, but while the result was still in doubt, it was a much more open, balanced game. Bayern let Gladbach have the ball and come at them when it was convenient.
- Fast breaks and counters are a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Bayern was ruthless today. Had Yann Sommer not put in an outstanding performance before his defenders utterly collapsed around him, Bayern would have crushed Gladbach in the first half alone.
- Bayern’s defense was pretty solid. Gladbach scored on a break when Thorgan Hazard beat Süle to assist Stindl, but otherwise Bayern swarmed Gladbach’s attackers and forced them into bad shooting positions.
- The league is wide open now! Scoring 5 goals even closed the gap to Dortmund on goal difference. Game on!
90+2’ — GOAL for Bayern! Robert Lewandowki equals Claudio Pizarro’s record for the most goals scored by non-German player. He sends Sommer the wrong way and shoots the ball into the net.
90+1’ — Penalty! Hazard challenges Kimmich inside the box too eagerly. Kimmich goes down as Hazard has his arms around him. The referee calls for a penalty.
89’ — First shot for Jeong! Lewandowski finds him out right. Jeong attempts a Robbena: cuts inside onto his left foot and shoots. But Sommer is too good a keeper to let him get away with it.
88’ — Gladbach are still trying, especially Hazard, who finds himself confronted by Jeong.
86’ — Substitution for Bayern: congratulations on your Bundesliga debut, Woo-yeong Jeong! He comes on for Müller.
84’ — Hazard looks as if he’s about to make a run up the left flank, but Javi Martinez corrals him inside and then dispossesses him when he tries to dribble around him. Fantastic defending.
82’ — Substitution for Bayern: Alphonso Davies is on for Gnabry.
81’ — It looks like Alphonso Davies will be the next player to come on!
80’ — Substitution for Bayern: Renato Sanches relieves James Rodriguez for the last ten minutes.
76’ — Substitution for Gladbach: Fabian Johnson replaces Lang.
75’ — GOAL for Bayern! What a mess! Bayern catch Gladbach unprepared yet again. Kimmich finds Lewandowski with a perfect cross, but Lewandowski’s header flies straight into Sommer’s chest. Lewy can’t come up with the rebound cleanly, but neither can Sommer. Elvedi tries to poke it out of Lewandowski’s reach, but Serge Gnabry is now on hand. He hammers it into the net. 4:1!
Gnabry makes it 4-1!!!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 2, 2019
He scores his 6th goal of the season and the goals keep coming for Bayern pic.twitter.com/6uvxOafx73
73’ — How did they not score? Gnabry leaps on a sloppy pass and the attack is on! He finds James in the middle, who passes the ball onward to Müller out right. Müller sends it in for Lewandowski, who turns to shoot — and is blocked! Zakaria makes a last-ditch slide to save a goal.
72’ — Substitution for Gladbach: Hofmann makes way Raffael, who makes his comeback after a broken collarbone in December.
70’ — Yellow card for Kramer: Kramer hits Kimmich’s foot on a late tackle and duly goes into the book.
68’ — Another close call for Bayern: Gladbach attack on the counter. Zakaria has space on the right flank and shoots — just wide of the far post.
65’ — Substitution for Gladbach: Zakaria replaces Neuhaus in the midfield.
63’ — Hazard blows past Boateng, who clearly does not want a second yellow card. His cross is heavy, though, and Süle intervenes to clear the ball away before Gladbach can capitalize on the chance.
61’ — Wow, Thiago! Thiago shows up on the right flank out of nowhere and dispossess Gladbach, then eludes two defenders and manages to pass to Lewandowski on the penalty spot. Lewy shifts the ball to his left foot, but Ginter blocks his shot.
59’ — Gladbach enjoy a long possession, circulating the ball deep in Bayern’s half. But Bayern’s defense stands firm and drives them back.
56’ — Yellow card for Thiago: Thiago sees his 4th yellow card this season for a late tacke from behind.
53’ — Bayern responds with an attack of their own. Gnabry makes an outstanding run deep into Gladbach’s box before passing back to James in the middle. James attempts a chip shot, but Sommer catches it.
52’ — Yikes: Wendt clearly had Neuer beat, firing the ball over the wall, but it drifts just wide of the top left corner.
51’ — Yellow card for Boateng. That’s pretty debatable. The ball catches Boateng on the arm as he’s spinning away from it with his arms close to his body. The ref calls it a deliberate handball and cards him. Gladbach get a free kick just outside the box.
47’ — GOAL for Bayern! But wait, there’s more! Gladbach lose the ball yet again, and Thiago delivers a nice, short forward pass to Lewandowski. The Pole deftly brings the ball down, sets his feet, and shoots. Yann Sommer has no chance of stopping this one.
What. A. Finish.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 2, 2019
How about that first touch by Lewandowski pic.twitter.com/JgpLK7KYhh
46’ — That didn’t take long! Elvedi gives the ball away to Lewandowski. He fines James open out right, but James shoots wide.
kickoff of the second half! — We’re back! Gladbach start in possession this time. No substitutions at the half.
- Gladbach seemed totally unprepared for Bayern’s pace and aggressiveness. They can thank their lucky stars — and especially Yann Sommer — that the game was not put out of reach within the first half hour.
- Bayern’s attacking has been fantastic. If not for Sommer’s heroics, Müller, Gnabry, Lewandowski all might have more goals.
- Bayern’s defense, though... hmmm... They have let through only 2 shots on target. One of them was an easy ball for Neuer. The other was the goal. What can you say? Hazard nutmegged Süle for an assist on that.
End of the first half. Gladbach play out most of the two minutes of extra time passing the ball around aimlessly between Sommer and his center-backs.
44’ — Gladbach escape another dangerous chance on yet another corner.
41’ — Plea takes a quick shot turning around in the box, but Neuer easily scoops it up.
40’ — Bayern strike back: Boateng launches another attack with a long ball. Lewandowski and Müller combine in the penalty area, but Elvedi somehow manages to put his head out in front to save what would have been a sure goal by Lewandowski.
James delivers the ensuing corner straight to Javi Martinez, but Sommer makes the save.
38’ — GOAL for Gladbach! The Foals take one back. After some fine passing on their left flank, Hazard nutmegs Süle with a brilliant short pass to Stindl. Stindl keeps his composure as Boateng closes him down and finishes brilliantly into the net.
35’ — Lewandowski goes down on the edge of the box in a soft collision with Ginter. No call.
34’ — Gladbach make some noise yet again, but Stindl fires the ball well over the net.
33’ — Sommer saves Gladbach yet again: Bayern break on the counter, and Gnabry drives inside into another one on one. Sommer comes up big yet again, punching Gnabry’s shot away from danger with a diving save.
32’ — What grit! Niklas Süle battles all the way back into the corner, and he still manages to find a teammate forward with a ground pass up the left sideline. That starts a counter-attack, as Müller brings down a stunning long ball from Martinez. Müller drives forward, but is beaten back by Wendt, winning a corner.
28’ — Some scuffling on Bayern’s right, as Kimmich takes on two Gladbach defenders and is called for fouling Wendt from the ground. Gladbach eventually launch another attack. Rafinha dashes to clean up an arching pass from the penalty circle inside, while Neuer yells at the line referee. He finally calls offside.
26’ — Müller’d, but maybe not in the best way: Boateng finds Müller onside far up the right flank with one of his patented long balls. But Müller completely flubs his first touch. Instead of sending it forward and inside to James Rodriguez, he knocks it behind him. Lewandowski fortunately is on hand, but his shot off the volley flies into the stands.
24’ — Hazard takes a long-range change well outside the box, but it takes a big deflection, allowing Neuer to collect it calmly away from goal.
22’ — Bayern make another fast break, as Müller eludes Gladbach’s defense and serves the ball on the run to Lewandowski. Lewy finds himself one on one again with Sommer, but Sommer keeps his team in it.
21’ — Gladbach find the back of the net on a corner kick, but Plea is ruled offside. He was standing about half a yard behind the last defender when Ginter headed the ball back to him.
14’ — Gladbach sniff a chance, but the shot (wide of goal anyway) is ruled offside.
11’ — GOAL for Bayern! 2:0! What a beautiful passing sequence leading up to that goal! James finds Gnabry out wide on the left. Rafinha overlaps with Gnabry providing an option to his left, but Gnabry passes inside, where Müller and Lewandowski are running toward the goal. Müller connects: Sommer blocks it, but Müller follows through on the rebound and puts it away!
10’ — What a fantastic header by Rafinha! It’s ruled out of bounds, but Raf headed a long, high pass forward right to Serge Gnabry some distance away.
9’ — Yellow card: Hofmann. The Gladbach defender fouls Kimmich just outside the box on the right flank. James takes the kick sharp and low, but it is deflected out.
8’ — Twice in about thirty seconds, Bayern find Müller on the right flank, delivering the ball into the box.
7’ — James dispossessed on the left midfield. But Gladbach completely bungle the counter, passing the ball straight to Boateng.
4’ — More pressure on Gladbach: Gnabry makes a run up the left side into the box, sends the ball in to Lewandowski, but Gladbach manage to clear it.
2’ — GOAL for Bayern! James takes the corner and like magic Javi Martinez heads it in at the near corner.
1’ — That didn’t take long at all. After eluding Gladbach’s initial press, Thomas Müller sends a perfect through-ball to Lewandowski. He tries to shoot around the keeper, but Sommer deflects it outside. Corner...
kickoff! We are underway! Bayern start in possession. Here comes the Gladbach press!
One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out! Mostly what we expected, with Thomas Muller on the wing and James Rodriguez at AM.
Welp, this game suddenly just got a lot more interesting. With Borussia Dortmund unexpectedly losing to Augsburg on Friday, Bayern Munich suddenly have the chance to go level on points with the league leaders. Unfortunately, Borussia Monchengladbach are a certified bogey team for this club, and they aren’t going to make it easy.
Compounding Niko Kovac’s problems is the current injury situation at Bayern. No less than six players are injured, most of them starters. Without David Alaba, Kovac must play Rafinha at left back, which is far from ideal. Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben, and Franck Ribery are all out with some form of injury or illness, which leaves the coach desperately short of options at winger.
Thomas Muller is the obvious candidate to fill in, but Bild speculate that South Korean youngster Wooyeong Jeong could get a chance based on how he has impressed in training. However, given that this is a game against Gladbach and top spot is on the line, that’s not very likely. Whatever Kovac decides, he needs to do better than what he did in the Hinrunde. *shudders*
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Borussia Park, Monchengladbach, Germany
Time: 6:30 pm local time, 12:30 pm EST
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