Having secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions’ League with a ruthlessly efficient 2-0 win over AS Roma in midweek, FC Bayern would return to domestic action with a journey up to Frankfurt to take on mid-table Eintracht. There would be little team-tweaking from coach Pep Guardiola with Thomas Müller returning for the injured David Alaba and Danté coming in for Medhi Benatia – though in truth there would little scope for extensive changes due to the growing injury list.
In front of a packed house of just over fifty-thousand at the Commerzbank-Arena the visitors would quickly establish their authority against a Frankfurt team playing a very high defensive line, and would get their first chance less than a minute into the game. Mario Götze would weave some of his magic to release Müller, whose unselfish pass was just behind the advancing Robert Lewandowski. The game would continue in similar vein, with Guardiola’s team content to wait patiently and pick holes in the opposition defence.
Thomas Schaaf’s energetic and at times disruptive side would see things safely past the twenty minute mark, but with just over a quarter of the game gone Bayern would get the crucial breakthrough. Lewandowki would supply Franck Ribéry with a perfect return pass and the Frenchman would make his way down to the byline, sending in a low cross for the lurking Thomas Müller. Müller’e first effort would ricochet off a defender, but he would make no mistake from the rebound as he knocked the ball into the net with his right knee – a typical Müller goal.
Philipp Lahm would have the ball in the Frankfurt net just moments later to double the advantage, but Müller’s unselfish decision to pass to his captain would be ruled offside – a marginal verdict, but correct.
Bayern ‘keeper Manuel Neuer would be mildly tested by Alex Meier’s well-struck free-kick four minutes before half-time, and at the other end Lewandowski would have a opportunity to take the visitors into the break with a two-goal only to his his shot straight at ‘keeper Felix Wiedwald after an uncharacteristically poor first touch.
The second half would start as the first had ended, with Bayern continuing to dominate and the home side feeding off the rare scraps. As the clock passed the hour mark and Frankfurt still just the one goal behind they would start to look more positive, but against this ruthlessly patient Bayern side their growing sense of adventure would be severely punished. On sixty-four minutes the pitch would open up nicely for Lahm, with his intelligent chipped pass finding Müller via Ribéry. Der Raumdeuter would make no mistake, sending the ball into the right corner of the net.
Just three minutes later the final nail would be put in the Frankfurt coffin as Müller completed a superb hat-trick. Collecting a perfectly-timed pass from Götze after a quickly-taken throw-in, he would show plenty of strength to out-muscle Tim Chandler before stroking the ball home past Wiedwald.
With the points safely in the bag Guardiola would ring the changes, with Arjen Robben getting a run-out for the disappointingly off-key Lewandowski, former Eintracht man Sebastian Rode replacing skipper Lahm, and Xherdan Shaqiri replacing the impressive Ribéry. The changes ensured that Bayern would maintain the pressure on their hapless opponents, with Robben enjoying his scurrying forays down the right flank.
Shaqiri would almost immediately get his name on the scoreboard and Götze would be thwarted by Wiedwald as he tried to walk the ball into the Frankfurt net, but four minutes from time the Swiss international would score Bayern’s fourth as he turned Rode’s effort past the stricken Wiedwald. Robben would then send one of his familiar left-footed efforts narrowly wide, but when the final whistle blew Bayern had completed another well-crafted victory with a performance that belied all of the injury woes.
While the four goals would make the difference on the score sheet, perhaps the most memorable moment of the match would come in the seventy-third minute – when Manuel Neuer would continue to show why he can claim to be not only the best but the most versatile goalkeeper in the world. When having a deal with a slightly desperate back pass any other keeper would have hoofed the ball into the crowd, but not Neuer: with a deft flick with the outside of his right foot just outside his own penalty area, he would nonchalantly find a team-mate. On the touchline, Frankfurt coach Schaaf’s raised eyebrow would say it all.
With the international week to follow Bayern now have a two-week break until the visit of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to the Allianz Arena. The completion of the weekend’s fixtures would see Die Roten maintain their four-point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga table ahead of an in-form VfL Wolfsburg, with Borussia Mönchengladbach dropping off the pace with a 1-0 defeat at bottom side Borussia Dortmund. The first defeat of the season for Die Fohlen would also leave Bayern as the only unbeaten side after eleven matches played.
Bundesliga Week 11
Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, 08.11.2014
Eintracht Frankfurt 0:4 (0:1) FC Bayern
– / Müller 23., 64., 67., Shaqiri 86.
Frankfurt: Wiedwald – Chandler, Russ, Anderson, Oczipka – Hedojević, Hasebe (90. Ignjovski) – Aigner (82. Piazon), Seferović – Stendera (67. Kittel), Meier (c)
FC Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Boateng, Danté, Bernat – Alonso – Lahm (c) (71. Rode) – Götze, Ribéry (76. Shaqiri ) – Müller, Lewandowski (68. Robben)
Yellow Cards: Chandler, Aigner / Ribéry
Originally published on the website of the Red Dragons London, the United Kingdom’s premier FC Bayern München fan club
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