Poor execution upfront costs Bayern 2 more points as Champions split points with Hamburg SV in the North-South duel of Bundesliga.
The last time Bayern won a match at Hamburg was back in 2006. One year later, Klose scored Bayern’s last goal in Hamburg. Their last 4 encounters were close, all of which resulting in a 1-0 victory for the home team. Hamburg were fresh from vanquishing the runaway leaders Mainz, whereas Bayern were in a 2 match winning streak.
After last week’s thumping victory over Hannover, Bayern surprisingly lost much of its steam in the midweek European fixture against Cluj. They must consider themselves lucky for earning full three points from the game which ended in 3-2 in favour of Bayern Munich. Out of the 5 goals scored, Bayern managed to score only one. The generous Cluj defenders took care of the other two.
With Klose and Van Bommel out injured and Van Buyten still not match fit, Bayern started the game with Pranjic and Tymoshchuk in their traditional heterodox positions for this season – the Croat replaced Braafheid in the left back position and Tymoshchuk was given another chance ahead of Demichellis to prove his defensive capabilities.
Bayern kept playing in their characteristic way, by keeping fair share of the possession. Altintop, Mueller and Gomez – All three of them got into good positions to help Bayern break the duck at the Imtech Arena. But catastrophic finishing, which has become the metier for Bayern this season, kept them at level with Hamburg. Soon Hamburg got into the groove of things and started hitting Bayern on the break. Ex-Bayern players Guerrero, Ze Roberto and Trochowski were determined to prove their might against their former employees.
Bayern appeared to be the better side between the two teams in the first half, creating more chances. Hamburg, on the other hand, could not create any open chances in the first half. Tymoshchuk and Badstuber showed superb anticipation in breaking numerous attacks on the break.
In the second half, both the teams played an open game at a high tempo and it soon became an end to end stuff. Hamburg were lucky that Mario Gomez decided to play as a neutral, not doing much for any of the teams during that phase. Kroos did enough to keep Gomez company in that department. The Kardiac Kids of Bundesliga were at it again when Pitroipa hit the bar from a one-on-one position towards the end of the game. Though Bayern were the better of the two sides and looked more likely to break the deadlock, their attacking woes continue to remain as a thorn in their side.
Back To Paper Tiger Mode
After scoring 5 goals in the last three games, including a hattrick in the last Bundesliga outing, Mario Gomez raised the expectations. Unfortunately for the Bayern faithful, last night, the 6 ft 2 inch fluffed each and every chance that went his way. In the first half, Muller created a chance for Gomez following a delightful one-two. But the misfiring striker blasted it wide. Things went from bad to worse in the second half when Gomez messed up an open header opportunity. Soon afterward he became a peripheral figure in the match, getting easily dispossessed. Only Van Gaal would know as to why Gomez was left to remain on the field after those shameless ball receiving techniques.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s adventure in the heart of the defense is only getting better by the game. The Ukrainian skipper did ensured that it would be better for Bayern to keep further participation of Van Buyten and Demichellis at bay. Demichellis is already out of favour with Van Gaal. Tymoshchuk was by far the best Bayern player on the pitch. His anticipation nipped several of Hamburg’s attacking moves in the bud. His sliding block inside the penalty box to deny a Van Nistelrooy shot on goal was the block of the day. Later on, when Bayern pushed for the goal, Tymoshchuk distributed the long balls with perfect execution. If only Demichellis had shown half of the technical abilities of Tymoshchuk! Even though Tymoshchuk had a great game, he is definitely not the solution for Bayern’s centre half woes. Van Gaal must find a suitable replacement for Demichellis and Van Buyten in the January transfer window.
Toni Does Not Cruise Anymore
Kroos has not been able to replicate his last season’s form thus far. He has been playing well only in patches. His ball distribution has been neat and precise as always. But his milksop shots in front of the goal were a big letdown. Kroos was presented with two chances after the break, one by Muller, the other one by Schweinsteiger. At this level, Kroos is expected to bury them home. He also needs to work on his strength. The Bayern academy product lost the battle physically on numerous occasions, giving away the ball far too easily.
Curious Case Of A Missing Left Back
Van Gaal’s reluctance to enter the transfer market for a full back has somewhat backfired. He had Contento in his disposal. Apart from Contento, he had Badstuber and youngster Alaba as two makeshift left backs and Braafheid too. After Van Gaal’s fall out with Demichellis, Badstuber started partnering Van Buyten. That left Contento to fill in the left back position.
But the Bayern youth prodigy made a couple of blunders early in the campaign and was duly axed from the squad. Unfortunately Alaba got injured at the same time. Under such a trying situation, Pranjic’s appointment as the left back did not reverberate any positive vibes. Teams have started attacking Bayern down its Achilles’ heel, the left flank and are getting positive results.
Bayern must use the January transfer market to get at least one decent left back. As for the time being it would be better for Van Gaal to move Badstuber to the left, just like the last season and bring Demichellis or Van Buyten back in the centre of the defence partnering Tymoshchuk!
After this draw, Bayern are placed at 9th place in the Bundesliga. A victory in this match was very important for Bayern to keep pace with the leaders Dortmund. With the other games yet to be played, Bayern are likely to be pushed further down the standing, challenging the patience of chairman Rummenigge.