Frankfurt - The record titleholders wrapped up their 23rd German Championship and 22nd Bundesliga title in record time, but it was far from straight-forward as FC Bayern Munich were forced to work hard for their narrow 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Eagles' resiliency was to be admired, but in the end Bastian Schweinsteiger's sublime finish in the second half proved to be the winner as Bayern maintained their 20-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with just 18 points left to play for.
With Mario Gomez, who had previously scored in his last six starts in all competitions, brought into the first XI, Bayern dominated the opening exchanges as they quickly settled into their rhythm. The hosts meanwhile, without captain Pirmin Schwegler and top scorer Alexander Meier, were content handing the record titleholders control of the contest, but almost lived to regret their decision when Xherdan Shaqiri rattled the post with fierce drive from the edge of the area.
A rare sight of goal for Eintracht saw Karim Matmour squander their first real chance in the game, but it came as no surprise that the hosts’ primary focus was on keeping Bayern at arm’s length. Frankfurt were doubling up well in the wide areas and though the Bavarians' fluid movement was still causing them problems, Frankfurt's disciplined defending proved a regular source of frustration for the visitors.
Schweinsteiger rights a wrong
However, their hard work was almost undone when Marco Russ’ clumsy challenge felled Thomas Müller in the area, yet David Alaba could only hit the post from the spot, his first-ever penalty miss in the Bundesliga. Arjen Robben’s wayward volley came no closer to opening the scoring and, while Bayern were creating all the pressure, they had little to show for their efforts as the sides went in deadlocked after a hard-fought first half.
Frankfurt’s impressive pressing continued to limit Bayern's time and space on the ball in the final third. Yet a team boasting such quality are always capable of producing something out of nothing, which is exactly what they did seven minutes after the restart. Robben fed Philipp Lahm on the overlap and his low drilled cross allowed Schweinsteiger to produce a sensational back heeled finish, which beat Nikolov all ends up at his near post.
Tense final ten
Having fallen behind, the Eagles began asserting themselves on the encounter, but lacked a cutting edge in attack, with Bayern comfortably repelling even their most threatening advances. Frankfurt weren’t without their chances though, as Sebastian Rode’s curled effort flew wide of the target, while Takashi Inui forced Manuel Neuer to get down well at his near post.
Die Münchner had dropped deeper in attempt to open up more space on the counter, but their approach started backfiring as Frankfurt turned up the heat in the final ten minutes. Neuer produced a superb reflex save to deny second-half substitute Srjdan Lakic from six yards, before Inui’s well struck volley rustled the side-netting. Yet Bayern held on to become the first Bundesliga side to win eleven consecutive matches in one season, wrapping up the 2012/13 title race in record time.
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