VII) Bayern München v. Kaiserslautern

After attending the 1860 München match the week prior to visiting FC Bayern, I was looking forward to seeing the Allianz Arena in full capacity, as well as watch some of the world’s best put on a show.
However there was that nagging feeling inside which told me I shouldn’t be there.
Müncheners are proud people and to treat this rivalry lightly is a big mistake.
Yet when I got onto the U-Bahn and arrived at Fröttmaning station all such feelings evaporated, as the excitement of a big crowd overtook my respect for 1860.
There were definitely more foreigners around then at the 1860 match.
Yet the wonder of seeing 69,000 people crammed into a stadium and placing eyes on such talents as Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger quickly eroded my romantic tendencies towards the blue half of München.
I immediately grabbed two Biers and found my seat, perfectly situated above the Bayern faithful and with a good view of the pitch. Bring on Kaiserslautern.

In all honesty the Bayern team didn’t leave a lasting impression.
The first half could only be described as fruitless and had it not been for a sublime piece of skill from Thomas Müller and a tidy finish from Arjen Robben, the game could possibly have had a slightly different outcome.
The first period had been played largely around Bayern’s back four, with neither Anatoliy Tymoschuk nor Holger Badstuber capable of starting attacking moves from central defence.
While all Bayern’s forward forays came through the work of Robben, who took most of the first half to get into the game.
It was surprising to see the left flank occupied by Müller largely ignored, considering he was the architect of three of their goals as it turned out.
The team’s reluctance to play the long ball to Mario Gomez was equally astounding, especially when their attempts at passing became tedious.

For most of the first half there was little goal action, Robben seeing a shot go wide when Müller was well placed for a tap-in.
While Kaiserslautern rarely looked like testing a suspect defence, apart a shot from Ilicevic which forced Kraft into a decent stop.
The first goal arrived just before the half-time whistle, as Müller broke quickly when a Kasierlautern corner had found its way to him.
A lack of support seemed to rule out any chance of a meaningful attack; however the German star unleashed an outstanding cross-field ball into Robben’s path.
The little winger then skilfully jinked past the onrushing Sippel and swept the ball into an empty net.
All class. 1-0 to Bayern and the fans could go in for their Gluwein and Bratwurst content.

The second half began with a surprising amount of seats still vacated and those who felt the need to linger around the food and drink stalls would have missed Bayern extending their lead.
This time some brilliant play from Robben down the right wing opened up the Kaiserslautern defence.
A clever ball put through Bastian Schweinsteiger who then teed up Gomez for an easy finish from four yards out.
Two goals to the good at opportune moments and it seemed unlikely there would be a comeback from Kaiserslautern.
Bayern pushed for more and Robben had a long range effort tipped round the bar, while an attempted chip from the Dutchman was easily dealt with by the Kaiserslautern keeper.
The away side did briefly threaten an upset when they grabbed a goal back in the 65th minute through Jan Moravek.
Some dodgy defending from Gustavo allowing Kirch to turn inside him, before Tymoschuk hashed his clearance from the resulting cross, paving the way for Moravek to steal in with an easy finish.
Why Gustavo had been switched to right back with the terrible Danijel Pranjic moving into midfield I’ll never know.

Kaiserslautern immediately made changes in an attempt to rob Bayern of three points with forwards Hoffer and Amri coming on for Moravek and defender Petsos.
It was nice to see a lower side attempt to upset the giants of Bayern München, but unfortunately it lead to a massacre instead of an upset.
Bayern continued to dominate possession but were still struggling to make inroads against a side that were looking to break on the counter when possible.
It was actually the substitution of Hamit Altintop for star man Robben in the 74th minute which allowed Bayern take control again.
It was Altintop’s probing run five minutes after his introduction that gifted Gomez his second real chance of the match.
After Altintop’s attempted pass was deflected into his feet the big man took a touch and easily dispatched a strong finish past Sippel to ensure the points would be staying in München.
Gomez only had to wait a further five minutes to secure his hat trick. A superb through ball from Schweinsteiger allowing him to execute a classy finish, though once again Müller would have felt aggrieved not to get on the score sheet as he was open for a tap-in.
The Golden Boot winner of the 2010 World Cup eventually got his goal, capping an impressive display.
Altintop was again the initiator, taking the ball down the left side of the penalty box before cutting inside and picking out Müller’s perfectly timed run for a tap in.
A brilliant goal which proved to be the last kick of the game as the referee decided to end Kaiserslautern’s misery.

There would be no repeat of the shock 2-0 loss Bayern suffered against Kaiserslautern at the start of the season.
The fans able to go home once again convinced they supported the best team in Germany.
However, the score line perhaps flattered Bayern, as they took advantage of some overenthusiastic optimism from the away side.
While it was a great game watch, with goals galore and some classy players on show, there was still a feeling of something missing as I made my way home.
The sight of the Allianz Arena lit up in red was a brilliant experience, but I left wishing the scenery was blue, with the 1860 crowd surrounding me and my Sechz’ger scarf wrapped round my neck.

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