December 14, 2017

Late drama sees Bayern escape with three points

An action-filled match at the Rhein-Neckar Arena saw Bayern take all three points, but the 2-1 scoreline by no means tells the whole story.

A Bundesliga record quickest goal, a red card, a missed penalty and then a late winner gave Bayern the spoils in yet another fantastic advert for the Bundesliga.

Pep Guardiola made one change from the side that took Hamburg apart in the first game with Mario Götze handed a start in place of Robert Lewandowski. That move would have pleased Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann no end as the Pole has scored more goals against him than any other keeper.

Despite losing last week at Leverkusen, Markus Gisdol opted to send out exactly the same starting XI as last weekend.

Anyone settling down to watch the game a little on the late side would have been kicking themselves as Hoffenheim made a blitz start scoring after just eight seconds! Yes, you read in correctly- eight seconds. What made it all the more incredible is that it was the Bavarians who actually kicked-off.

After playing the ball backwards David Alaba played a square ball across to Jerome Boateng but it all went wrong and Kevin Volland raced onto it before slotting home. I’m going to share the blame out between both Bayern defenders- Alaba’s pass was a tad lackadaisical, but Boateng was square-footed and looked unprepared to receive the pass.

Karim Bellarabi’s lightning goal last season at Dortmund set a new record for the fastest goal-ever (9 seconds) and it was believed the record would stand for a long-time. Oh no, move over Karim, records are there to be beaten.

Bayern immediately switched to a back three pushing Philipp Lahm into midfield. The linesmen were kept busy with their offside flags going up and down more often than HSV change their trainer.

Douglas Costa, so impressive against Hamburg last week was being given as much space as he wanted wide on the right. Is Pavel Kaderabek the only person on the planet not to be caught up in the ‘Costa is the new Ribery-hype’? Despite all the space and time though, the Brazilians quality of crossing left a lot to be desired.

Oliver Baumann made a fantastic save on 33 minutes from Müller, but then handed the very same player a goal on a plate just before half-time. Costa put in his best delivery of the game, but the keeper could only spill the ball to Bayern’s danger man. Without knowing too much about it, the ball went in off his thigh. Relief for Bayern.

Götze was quiet in the first-half, but a Messi-esque run set up a great chance for Costa, whose pink boots flashed the ball horribly high and wide. Those same fluorescent pink boots flashed a highly dangerous ball across the six-yard box soon after.

Pep was clearly not happy and replaced Robben with Thiago on the hour mark. Six minutes later and it was Lahm that made way with Lewandowski coming on (oh **** you could almost hear Oliver Baumann mutter).

His understandable dread was almost fully justified with the Pole’s first touch forcing the Hoffenheim custodian into a fine save.

Excitement at one end then quickly turned into high drama at the other with a free-kick, handball, red card, penalty and penalty miss all in the space of 60 seconds. Why oh why Polanski tried to place the spot-kick is beyond me, but why a world-class defender like Jerome Boateng was jumping with his arm dangling out in front of him is also more than a bit confusing.

A mad game then went a little crazier with a flurry of yellow cards and intense goalmouth action. Lewandowski was denied by Baumann for a second time, Müller hit the post from the resulting corner before the final piece of drama put the icing on the cake.

Douglas Costa down the right (like last week) went on a blistering run (like last week) and put in a great cross to the penalty area (yes, like last week). Götze either missed it (very likely) or cleverly dummied it (unlikely, but he’ll claim he did) and guess who was on hand to stroke home a 90th minute winner past Oliver Baumann…..yes Lewandowski.

A breath-taking game, full of action, heartbreak for Hoffenheim, Bayern have now taken full points from their first two games, but this was a scare for the champions to say the least.
1-0 Volland (1) 1-1 Müller (41) 1-2 Lewandowski (90)

Hoffenheim: Baumann, Kaderabek, Schär (Ochs 91), Süle, Kim, Schwegler, Schmid (Rudy 64), Polanski, Zuber, Volland, Kuranyi (Uth 69)


Bayern: Neuer, Lahm (Lewandowski 66), Boateng, Benatia (Rafinha 35), Alaba, Xabi Alonso, Vidal, Robben (Thiago 59), Müller, Costa, Götze

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.