Sinsheim - From broken records to missed penalties, FC Bayern München’s thrilling 2-1 win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim had everything a football fan could ask for from a dramatic top-flight encounter.
Kevin Volland may have equalled a Bundesliga best mark by opening the scoring within nine seconds, but in the end it was the reigning champions, reduced to ten-men in the 73rd minute, whose character saw them clinch victory as another of their stars penned his name in the history books.
Mario Götze made his first start of the campaign in place of Robert Lewandowski, completing the full 90 minutes and becoming the youngest player to ever reach 100 career wins in the Bundesliga at the age of 23 years and 80 days. However, it was the man he replaced in the starting line-up who stole the headlines after scoring a last-gasp winner to ensure Bayern preserved their 100 per cent record.
The record champions have been in fine form in 2015/16, with their strikers finding the net with ease, summer signing Douglas Costa scoring and assisting whilst running opponents ragged and the whole team playing as a complete, almost impenetrable unit. Though the scoreline suggests otherwise, Bayern were dominant in what head coach Pep Guardiola described as “one of the best Bundesliga matches of the last three years”.
Costly lapses in concentration
An inquest will undoubtedly be held regarding the mistakes made by two of Bayern’s most dependable defenders. David Alaba was at fault when his errant pass allowed Volland to break the deadlock, while Jerome Boateng’s flailing arm cost the visitors a penalty and almost a share of the spoils. He is now suspended for the visit of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, a problem thrown into sharper relief by Medhi Benatia picking up a thigh injury.
“It’s ultimately a question regarding our concentration,” explained Philipp Lahm. “Conceding goals like that wouldn’t happen if we were fully focused.” That the club captain was able to share his analysis with a slight grin on his face was as a result of the concentration levels Bayern demonstrated throughout the remainder of the fixture after falling 1-0 behind in such peculiar circumstances.
Two strikers, two games, five goals
That Bayern were able to turn it all around following the catastrophic start was in no small part down to the two world-class strikers in their star-studded squad. Thomas Müller (three) and Lewandowski (two) have already combined for five goals this season, and aside from their exploits in front of goal, the hard graft of both men is always a major contributor to Bayern’s success. Against Hoffenheim, Müller rarely stopped making moves in his opponents’ final third and could have extended his lead at the top of the Bundesliga’s goalscoring chart by more than just a goal.
The same could have been said of Lewandowski, who was twice denied by Oliver Baumann before netting the winner, his 10th career goal against the Hoffenheim No1. However, with Bayern picking up six points from a possible six whilst passing up goalscoring opportunities, their form remains an ominous threat to the rest of the Bundesliga as they look to create history by clinching a fourth straight title.