FC Bayern lackluster in 1-0 win
Allianz Arena, Munich - FC Bayern München needed three points to stay in contention for a Champions League spot next year. They played with tremendous effort but could not find the finishing touches. In the end, it took a lucky bounce to get the winning score.
Arjen Robben was in the right place in the 77th minute when a deflected Frank Ribéry chance went off a defender and fell to the Dutchman's feet. Robben shot it into the back of the net for the only goal of the match to defeat Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0.
"We didn't play our best match today," admitted outgoing Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. "But I am satisfied with passion and the conviction the team displayed in the second half."
In the first half, there was more to say about the Bayern fan block's protest than what was happening on the pitch. With the current situation at rival city club TSV 1860 München, rumor has it that Bayern will pony up to save the financially floundering club. For the first 8 minutes of the match, the fans sat quietly wearing anti-1860 T-shirts. After the protest, the fans were back up, yelling, cheering and holding signs explaining their true feelings.
Meanwhile, Bayern could not piece together any attack to give the league's last place team trouble.
In fact, it was the Foals who were running up the pitch and creating. Marco Reus was able to find soft spots in the middle of Munich's defense numerous times. Only Luiz Gustavo's speed was able to thwart Reus, otherwise Monchengladbach would have scored.
Bayern went off the pitch at halftime to a smattering of discontented whistles and that changed the play of the team in the second half.
Robben and Ribéry took over the action, dominating the Reds' attacks and creating chances. But the breakthrough did not come. Shots were flying over the crossbar, passes were a step to long, or behind. But 'Robbéry' were unphased and continued to fight. And it paid off.
Robben was able to run into the heart of the defense, and even though his pass was behind Ribéry, the Frenchman was able to gather it, and decided to shoot it. But it wasn't clean, deflecting off the defender's back leg, past another defender, and Robben was waiting unmarked in the middle of the area. He gathered it, and there was no way Borussia keeper Logan Bailly could stop it.
"It was a hard-fought win as we didn't play well," said Robben. "At the end the three points were important. (Coming in), we wanted to win the final seven matches of the season - today was the first one."
And it was an important win. Coupled with the Hannover loss at Dortmund, Bayern moves into third on the Bundesliga table, the qualification spot for the 2011-12 UEFA tournament.
FCB remain seven points behind Bayern Leverkusen for the automatic spot into Champions League. Leverkusen also escaped with a late winner in Kaiserslautern Saturday afternoon. Munich and Leverkusen will face off in two weeks at the Allianz Arena, a match already anticipated not only for the Champions League implications. The new Bayern coach, Jupp Heynckes, is currently at Leverkusen. The situation will obviously be awkward.
Before that, it's Bavarian Derby time next Saturday as Munich travel north to take on 'Der Club,' 1.FC Nuremberg. Kickoff at 15:30.