March 23, 2017

Bayern Munch go top of the Bundesliga — for a day

FFSV Mainz 05 faced Bayern Munich at the Opel Arena on Friday evening. Both teams were in somewhat bad form going into the match. Although the hosts were likely content with their mid-table position in the league standings, after the exertions of Europa League play, Bayern on the other hand, had a unique opportunity to take back the Bundesliga’s top spot from leaders Leipzig.

The Bavarians accomplished just that with a 3-1 win that was rarely in doubt with one of their best performances of the season so far.  Carlo Ancelotti’s Bavarians, however, could only claim first place for a day as RB Leipzig downed Schalke on Saturday to push aside

But it was the 05ers who struck first from a counter-attack, beautifully finished off by Jhon Cordoba in the fourth minute. Only four minutes later, however Robert Lewandowski equalized by finishing off a Bavarian counter-attack.

Arjen Robben, who had set up the Polish international, scored himself with a header from close range in the 21st minute. Lewandowski then scored his team’s third in second half added time, with a perfectly executed direct free kick.

Augenblick: Toward the end of the game, Mainz looked likely to equalize to 2-2. That made the 3-1 insurance goal all the more important. Not only that, but the goal was also by far the best of the four in the match. (It is the last scene in the video, one minute into it.)

 

Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski deserves the honor, due to his two goals. For the first time this season, Bayern Munich played in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which suits their players better than any other tactical setup. Lewandowski was one of the main beneficiaries of the change.

Key Stats: The statistics that usually stand out at Bayern Munich games did the same in this case. According to the website of the sports magazine “Kicker”, the team had 72% possession and an 87% pass completion rate.

But the formation change made the intangibles better, the things that cannot be put into statistics, like the style of play, or the players’ confidence.

Talking Points: For Mainz, this result only consolidates their mid-table status. While they are clearly too good to go down, they may not be good enough to repeat their success from last season and qualify for Europe.

From Bayern’s point of view, one can only hope that they keep playing in the 4-2-3-1 formation, that has often served them well in previous seasons.

FSV Mainz
Lössl – Balogun, Bell, Hack (Öztunali 62)  – Donati, Frei (Latza 72), Ramalho (De Blasis 81), Malli, Brosinski – Cordoba, Onisiwo
Subs Huth – Bungert, Bussmann, Seydel
FC Bayern
Neuer – Kimmich (Vidal 77), Martínez, Hummels, Alaba – Lahm, Thiago – Robben, Müller (Sanches 87), Ribéry (Costa 66) – Lewandowski
Subs
Ulreich – Bernat, Rafinha, Boateng, Vidal
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Denis Knezovic is a blogger, published author and lifelong Bundesliga fan. He covers the Beautiful Game on his blog at www.denissoccerblog.com . His passion is for Bayern Munich, since he lived in Bavaria for eight years. He is, however, able to write on a multitude of soccer-related topics from around the world.

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