Despite a brief scare in the beginning of the second half, Bayern Munich secured a 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena, restoring their 4-point lead over Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table ahead of der Klassiker. Goals from Leon Goretzka, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, Alphonso Davies, and an own goal from Martin Hinteregger were enough to ensure that Hinteregger’s early second-half brace was nothing more than a momentary lapse in concentration at the back for Bayern en route to the 5-2 win.
While it was still far from Bayern’s strongest performance of the season, there were certainly improvements made from their first match of the Bundesliga restart against Union Berlin, especially considering the changes Hansi Flick made to the starting lineup. Kingsley Coman and Ivan Perisic started in place of both Thiago Alcantara (who had an adductor issues) and Serge Gnabry, and were both subbed off midway through the second half.
Speaking after the match (FCBayern.com), Flick highlighted the performances of both David Alaba and Thomas Muller, but felt his side mentally switched off after scoring their third goal right at the beginning of the second half. He said,
I’m very pleased with the first half, we were dominant. The way David Alaba plays at center-back, how he keeps our defense intact: it’s just top-notch. And we must mention Thomas Müller, who used the space very intelligently and was involved in a number of goals.
Everything went according to plan in the first half. We scored the third straight after half-time. Maybe we put the game behind us mentally, we lacked focus then. We didn’t perform so well when not in possession. Frankfurt are very strong at set pieces. We knew that. It didn’t go so well. We’ll have a look and learn from it.
We hope Tuesday’s match will be attractive. Nothing will be decided after that, no matter what the result. The league is very balanced, especially at the top, with attractive football.
Muller capped off yet another strong performance with a goal and an assist. He also started the play that led to Lewandowski’s goal with a clever lofted touch to Coman, who played in the cross that the Polish ace met with a diving header. Müller’s assist to Goretzka for Bayern’s opening goal was his league-best 17th of the season.
Aside from the two goals that Bayern cheaply conceded, Muller was pleased with the way the group worked as a whole and battled through their “doggedness” in the early stages of the second half:
It was an absolutely crucial Bundesliga match for us. We wanted to follow suit after Dortmund’s victory. Hats off to the team, we displayed a certain doggedness. We must push to our limits. We did that quite well. The two goals we conceded don’t look so good of course, but taken altogether our performance was pretty good. Against Dortmund we’ll show we can play with an extreme amount of passion, even without spectators. It’s a crucial week for us. We’ve set out to achieve three victories. We’re marching on. Dortmund are marching on. We have reason to look forward to Tuesday. We want the title in Munich, where it belongs.
Served on a silver platter from Muller:
Bayern doing what Bayern does. Thomas Muller's league-best 17th assist sets up a fine finish from Leon Goretzka— FanSided Soccer (@FanSidedSoccer) May 23, 2020
Goretzka’s performance against Frankfurt was much improved from the one he put forth in Berlin, and his finely taken goal in the first half gave him every bit of confidence for the remainder of proceedings. He noted that the physical play from Frankfurt actually helped Bayern keep a tougher, more aggressive mentality throughout the match, which was a tactic Adi Hütter would’ve deployed to try and disrupt Bayern’s rhythm and flow.
Like Flick and Muller, Goretzka was critical of the two goals Hinteregger scored, and made a point of giving Manuel Neuer credit for making a crucial save to keep it from going 4-3 in the span of just ten minutes when he denied Mijat Gaćinović from close range:
First and foremost we’re glad we can play competitive football again. Frankfurt were physical, it was full-on. It actually helped in terms of mentality. It was surely an attractive game, for the viewers too. Thomas proved his qualities when I scored, he didn’t just blindly whip it in but found me. I scored with my shin. Of course I try to contribute my nose for goal from midfield. We must talk about the two goals conceded from set pieces. Manu made a superb save when it was 3-2. We’ll be fully focused against Dortmund. We’re keen as anything on these matches.