If the World Cup has got you slumped on your rear, never fear, the FC Bayern Frauen have brought back the holiday cheer! Bayern Munich cruised their way to a 3-1 victory over FC Barcelona on Wednesday in the UEFA Women’s Champions League in a statement win for head coach Alexander Straus.
DAZN streamed the match on YouTube and you can catch the full replay here if you like. For the bite-size clips, here’s the rundown:
Energy is everything
A game can often be defined in the opening minutes — whether or not there’s a goal. In this case, Bayern’s opening salvo came with two goals inside ten minutes and ferocity and intensity in every duel and defensive action. Klara Bühl has found her shooting boots again, and Lina Magull’s cool finish on a Carolin Simon cutback was clinical football at its best. Barça did what it could to settle things down and pass the ball, but they were cut open time and time again on the counter. It’s a small wonder Bayern did not manage to score a third goal in the first half.
Clicking in attack and defense
There was a beautiful synchronicity to Bayern’s team effort. The players did not by any means spend the entire game in Barcelona’s half, but when they seized the initiative they put the Barcelona defense under serious pressure, finding free players down the wings and creating dangerous chances from wide positions. And though it took some time, Lea Schüller’s emphatic third goal was a timely reprisal of Bayern’s first-half ascendancy.
When Barça fought back, the Bayern Mädels showed themselves to be superbly drilled in defense. In the first leg, the Bayern Frauen had held on as long as they could before succumbing to a heavy defeat. This time, however, with the early goals as a tailwind, that never happened. Last-ditch tackles in the box, superb interventions from keeper Mala Grohs... Bayern play on the front foot against most of the Bundesliga, but today they morphed into a lethal counter-attacking team.
Barça ended this game with 67% possession and 620 passes to Bayern’s 319. But it was the Spanish side that looked far more formless and disjointed.
Something to build on
The pressure now is on VfL Wolfsburg. There’s still no loss in sight for Wolfsburg in the Frauen-Bundesliga, but staying undefeated won’t be an easy task. Today was Bayern’s second commanding win in a row against quality opposition. To put Barça to the sword—in front of a record 24,000-strong home crowd—showed that last week’s demolition of Hoffenheim was no fluke.
Now Bayern have two more Champions League games before year’s end and a date with Leverkusen this weekend ahead of them: three games to finish the year strong and to enter the new year flying high.
Straus has come under criticism at times this season, but you get the sense now that everything is coming together for him now. It couldn’t come at a better time.