Bayern open up 20-point gap

Fortuna were far more than their sickly-coloured kit implied. Photo: Jonathan HardingBasler, Matthaeus, Nerlinger, Rizzitelli and Zickler. Those were the names on the scoresheet the last time these two sides met in Munich back in the April of 1997 and, despite the spirited chants of the away fans, a similar score was expected this time around.

After last weeks sluggish performance again Hoffenheim, the Heynckes selection merry go round continued. Manuel Neuer returned in goal, Daniel van Buyten was partnered in defence with Jerome Boateng while Toni Kroos, Mario Mandzukic and Luiz Gustavo all started.

It's less the expectation of winning that troubles Bayern and more the desired beauty that is supposed to accompany each victory. Ten minutes without scoring wasn't that much of an issue but conceding shortly afterwards was. Good work from Robbie Kruse in the middle of the park led to a crossing opportunity for Johannes van den Bergh. The left back's delivery was perfect for Andreas Lambertz who headed down at the back post for Mathis Bolly to side foot calmly past Manuel Neuer from close range, sending the unfamiliar sound of raucous away fans bouncing around the Allianz Arena in the process.

Conceding is not a regular occurrence for Bayern and as for going behind, that has happened competitively since mid December 2012 when they drew 1-1 with Borussia Moenchengladbach. The home side uncharacteristically misplaced passes, overhit crosses and looked bereft of ideas. The Croatian striker did well to meet a cross shortly before the half-hour mark but Fabian Giefer made a fantastic save with his feet before Thomas Mueller slammed the seemingly easy rebound over the bar. Kroos then fired wide after being found in the box.

Dark clouds formed around the Allianz Arena as the prospect of going into the break 1-0 down loomed. No one was considering anything worse of course, this is Bayern after all, but when Mandzukic missed from three yards out, I started to wonder. Lahm drifted a cross from the right-hand side but Daniel van Buyten's glancing header went agonisingly wide. Giefer then saved well again before Schweinsteiger had the ball in the goal only for it to correctly be ruled out for offside.

Surely Fortuna couldn't hold out for another hour? No, they couldn't and when Thomas Mueller drilled across goal into the far corner to finally beat Giefer and level up the scores, it almost seemed a shame that the half-time whistle had to follow.

When both teams did come back out for the second half, a second-half assault from the home side was expected. Mandzukic's looped a header just over before narrowly missing a cross as Bayern pressed for the lead. Mueller leapt well but glanced his effort just wide, to his visible frustration.

Frustration was becoming the watchword of the game for Bayern as shots flashed wide, Ribery appealed for penalties and as much as the threat remained, Fortuna still looked capable of posing a few questions on the break.

With twenty minutes left before the result became a collector's item, Lahm's half volley into the ground forced yet another save from Giefer before the collector's item threatened to into a moment of history. Andreas Lambertz took advantage of one of Fortuna's breakaways and slotted past Neuer as if he wasn't even there to stun the home crowd once again. Two goals conceded and behind once again. Unthinkable. Ribery thought so too and three minutes later he amended the scoreline after nipping in front of substitute Claudio Pizarro before blasting the ball into the top-right corner.

With ten minutes left, that long-awaited siege finally arrived. First, Gomez hit the bar with his header. Then Ribery tired his luck but Giefer shut the door once more. With four minutes of the ninety left, Jerome Boateng turned into the hero, powering Lahm's cross past Giefer to seal the win.

This was exactly the type of performance Bayern needed, especially ahead of their second-leg Champions League encounter against Arsenal on Wednesday. For Fortuna, "it was disappointing [they] couldn't hold out in the end," something their star striker Robbie Kruse confirmed. He did add though, "they could have had ten goals. Fabian made some unbelievable saves. They deserved it in the end." For all of the questions that Fortuna posed, Bayern answered them and proved, arguably more than in any other game this season, that this is a championship-winning side full of character.

FC Bayern München: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, van Buyten, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo - Müller (72' Pizarro), Kroos (68' Shaqiri), Ribery - Mandzukic (61' Gomez)

Fortuna Düsseldorf: Giefer - Balogun, Latka, Malezas, van den Bergh - Lambertz (75' Schahin), Bodzek, Tesche, Bellinghausen - Bolly (63' Fink) - Kruse

Goals: 0-1 Bolly (16'), 1-1 Mueller (45'), 1-2 Lambertz (71'), 2-2 Ribery (74'), 3-2 Boateng (86')

Attendance: 71,000
Referee: Tobias Stieler


German Engineering Jobs
Write a comment ...
Post comment
Cancel