FC Bayern München have become extremely predictable this season, and matchday 31 was no different as they broke yet another Bundesliga record. A first-half goal from Xherdan Shaqiri separated the two teams in a fairly one sided, but uneventful game. With this win, Bayern have taken their total points tally to 84, overhauling Dortmund's previous record of 82 from last season.
If Bayern deployed their A-team in the first leg against Barcelona, then the team that featured against Freiburg must be content with being reduced to B-team status. There were ten (10!) changes from the side that gave the Spanish giants a memorable thumping on Tuesday. Only Jerome Boateng remained, but there was still plenty of quality on the pitch with the likes of Shaqiri, Pizarro and Mandzukic replacing Robben, Müller and Co.
Perfect conditions welcomed both teams in the Allianz Arena, as Bayern assumed control in the first half without looking as clinical as in recent weeks. Typically, they bossed the possession and camped around Freiburg's area, but weren't able to create any notable chances early on. Freiburg, who have been impressive this season and currently sit in 5th place, started to venture forward themselves as the hosts allowed them a few shots from distance after 30 minutes.
However, a couple minutes later the inevitable happened, as Bayern took the lead. Xherdan Shaqiri's free kick from the right-hand side was always going to leave Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann guessing until the last second, with plenty of players on hand to give the ball a decisive deflection. In the end, the goal was given to the Swiss international, despite Emre Can possibly having had the slightest of touches. The Bundesliga champions thus took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break after a fairly uneventful first half.
The second half showed plenty of parallels to the first 45 minutes. Freiburg sat deep, waiting for an opportunity to counter attack and Bayern prowled around the visitor's penalty area, looking for the final pass. One got the sense that Freiburg were happy with a 1-0 defeat, rather than suffering a defeat in the same category as Barca, Hannover, Wolfsburg or Nürnberg did in Bayern's last four encounters.
The intensity on the pitch immediately increased when Franck Ribéry and Mario Gomez were brought on after 73 minutes. The Frenchmen set up Contento on the left-hand side who delivered an inch perfect cross for Gomez, but the German international headed wide and thus failed to score from his first touch.
With 15 minutes left to play, Freiburg finally opened up a bit, allowing Bayern several, quality chances. Gomez squandered Bayern's best opportunities in the closing stages of the match however.
In a game that mostly lacked excitement, there was a highly welcomed moment of drama in injury time as a female streaker managed to outpace the chasing pack of security personnel, before she was brought down. The fans absolutely loved it!
In the end, Bayern were happy to secure a narrow win with minimal effort invested as well as having rested most of their key players for the return leg against Barcelona next Wednesday. Oh, and they also set up a new points record for the Bundesliga. Not bad for a day's work.
FC Bayern München: Starke - Rafinha, van Buyten, Boateng, Contento - Tymoshchuk (84' Martinez), Luiz Gustavo - Can (73' Ribéry), Pizarro, Shaqiri - Mandzukic (73' Gomez)
SC Freiburg: Baumann - Mujdza, Höhn, Diagne, Sorg - Flum (64' Santini), Ginter - Makiadi, Caligiuri, Schmid - Kruse
Goals: 1-0 Shaqiri (35')
Referee: Christian Dingert