It was set up to be a DFB Pokal classic. 1. FC Heidenheim, the club from a small town in Baden-Württemberg, versus Bayern Munich, the multi-million institution from the third-largest city in Germany. The game epitomized “David versus Goliath.”
No one expected what happen over the next 90 minutes. Nine goals, two penalties and a sending off in the 13th minute created a footballing drama of the highest order. This was easily one of the most entertaining DFB Pokal games in recent memory.
What can we take away from this wild match? Here are three observations from the thrilling encounter:
A game that ticked all the boxes
Last-minute drama, a sending off after a VAR replay, nine goals in 90 minutes, a hat-trick, and two penalties — one of them being a Panenka. For the neutrals, this was a game that ticked all the possible boxes.
How many sides come to Munich and score 4 goals and still walk away as the losers? Despite the disappointing result, Heidenheim should hold their heads high. For a club that was promoted to the 5th tier of German football as recently as 2004, their first-ever encounter with Bayern will most likely always be remembered as the best.
In its current form, FC Heidenheim was formed in 2007 after the football section was split from its parent association, the Heidenheimer Sportbund. That same year, the newly separated Heidenheim fired coach Dieter Märkle and appointed Franck Schmidt to replace him. Eleven years later (how often do you see a coach managing a football club for this long?), Schmidt has brought Heidenheim to the 2. Bundesliga. Today, Schmidt, who had never coached a team before Heidenheim, found himself at the Allianz Arena against one of the most successful football institutions of all time. Respekt.
The team from the town with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants was very close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets since Bayern lost to FC Magdeburg on penalties in the 2000-1 edition of the DFB Pokal.
After yet another corner-kick form Bayern, Nicklas Süle gets sent off after what was the correct decision. Heidenheim scores two before the half-time whistle. Bayern head coach Niko Kovac makes two changes which prove successful, as they Bavarians score three goals in 12 minutes. Two goals down, Heidenheim’s fighting spirit puts them back leveled. The 4-4 equalizer was striker Robert Glatzel’s third of the match, and he has the audacity to pull off a Panenka. Finally, Lewandowski put the Bayern supporters racing hearts at ease with the second penalty goal of the game.
Regardless of what side you support, I think it’s safe to say that the supporters’ heart rate is slowly starting to return to normal.
Müller – Lewandowski combination saved Bayern
What saved Bayern today was the Müller – Lewandowski combination. Kovac made the right decision in bringing on Lewandowski and Coman for Rafinha and James after the first half. With that offensive attitude, Bayern was able to score four goals in the second half with only 10 men on the pitch. Muller scored one and assisted one; Lewandowski scored the goal from Muller’s assists while providing the victory after converting a Handelfmeter.
It was reported that Lewandowski was out of the starting eleven due to sickness, but no fever could have stopped Lewandowski from becoming Bayern’s match-winner yet again.
Poor defending almost cost Bayern the game
Firstly, let’s go over the red card. Bayern fans might have first thought the red card was harsh. However, it was clear that the Robert Andrich would have been through on goal. Yes, Kimmich was relatively close to Andrich, but it was far from certain that he could have intercepted Andrich if Süle hadn’t tackled Heidenheim’s number 8.
This picture shows Andrich had a clear path to goal:
That said, I would not put the blame fully on Süle. Thiago made a nightmare pass (he had a surprisingly poor game) that made Sule react as he did. Süle simply saw the tackle as a last resort.
It was Bayern’s defense the rest of the game that was exceptionally poor. Boateng had a poor game after coming on and Heidenheim capitalized on Bayern’s inability to get back into shape after his substitution. Also, Rafinha’s defending on Heidenheim’s second goal was abysmal.
Lastly, the fact that Bayern played a man down for most of the game is no excuse for giving up a two-goal lead to Heidenheim. Hummels’s tackle that led to Heidenheim’s penalty was nothing short of amateurish. For a team that has years of experience, it is worrying how Bayern has given away so many leads under Kovac, especially at home.