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Bayern Munich-Freiburg – SCF undone by man marking, a stunning strike and wanting some points

October 30, 2010
After an uncharacteristically lacklustre start, it could’ve been said that – after just a third of the season gone – an upward spiral had finally been reached when Bayern scraped past Werder Bremen in the second round of the DFB Pokal, 2-1. But even so, three wins in four games from all competitions without both Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben had to be added on, and the next challenge would be a home game against seventh placed SC Freiburg.

Before this game, Freiburg sat happily in seventh place, three places above Die Roten, and Pappis Cissé – the man who has only ever performed Ligue 2 – was sitting atop the Leading Scorers chart with 8 goals from all of Freiberg’s 9 games. However, a win away against the German giants would surely be out of reach.

First Half

First Half Formations

First Half Formations

The first 20 minutes of the match were typical of a confident minnow verses a technically superior team; Bayern’s rigid 4-2-3-1 was finding feet well, but – due to excellent pressing – they found themselves passing back and forth, not anywhere near to goal. Schuster was pushed back at the back of the midfield in a 4-1-4-1 cum 4-1-3-1-1 meaning Kroos, if he were to find any space, would have to come almost as far back as Schweinsteiger.

Schuster would split the two bands of the midfield well throughout the first forty-five minutes – Kroos found the ball facing goal just once in the first half, putting through Gomez to pull just wide – so the majority of any movement in Freiburg’s third came down the wing. However, this was somewhat counterproductive as Nicu had very little intention of getting forward, meaning all attack from the centre and left had been blocked off. Movement down the right was slow, Lahm wasn’t making the overlapping runs he would with Robben, and Altintop was sucked too far onto the touchline. Any first half goal would either be from a mistake in the Bayern defence allowing Freiburg to break through, or a set play.

The latter was exactly the case. To the end of the half, Pranjic was catching onto the space between Schuster and Putsila, on 40 minutes, he ran through to collect a ball and saw his 25 yard shot deflected just over. The liveliest player of the match would then take the resulting corner. The big Argentine, Demichelis was allowed a free header on his return to domestic football. Makiadi was the guilty party, but that’s too easy, we should blame the system; it was man marking’s fault.

Second Half

Louis van Gaal made one change over half time, and it was much more attacking that it first looked. Altintop went off for van Buyten, pushing Kroos out to the wing and Tymoshchuk up to central midfield. Now, rather than two set bands, Bayern had three box-to-box midfielders, leaving Schuster with no man to mark. And, after conceding late on in the first half, Freiburg had a game to chase.

Second Half Formation

Second Half Formations

Robin Dutt shifted to a 4-4-2 diamond cum 4-3-1-2 with the defensive Nicu coming off for Reisinger. Just prior to this, though, came disaster; yet again, an in-swinging Pranjic corner found, you’ve guessed it, an unmarked Gomez. The big German – who has gone through a sort of renaissance in the last few weeks – picked his aim and easily doubled Bayern’s lead. Was this another case against man marking?

Nevertheless, a few minutes after this, Dutt’s substitution would prove to be crucial; a quick move forward saw Putsila running onto the ball just outside the penalty box. The young Belarusian chipped the ball to Reisinger who superbly headed the ball the ball into Butt’s goal.

2-1, and Freiburg had hope. This made the whole game open. Bayern, for the first time in the match, looked like European Cup runners-up; Mueller’s clever off-the-ball movement saw Bastians drawn into suicidal positions. Chances for himself, Tymoshchuk, Lahm and Gomez all came about from the poor positioning of the left back. With his second chance, it was Tymoshchuk who found the net; Bayern broke away down the left, and unsurprisingly, it was Pranjic who found Tymoshchuk on the right. The Ukrainian smashed the ball into the side of the net putting the game beyond doubt.

Unlike the first 20 minutes, Freiburg were giving Bayern too much space, often finding themselves outnumbered at the back. A move on 80 minutes saw Schweinsteiger shift the ball over to Kroos on the left. Super Toni showed last year at Leverkusen why he’s considered one of the world’s brightest talents, and he confirmed that when he somehow found Baumann’s top corner from 30 yards.

Braafheid may well take over from van Bronckhorst for the Netherlands, but the left back’s short substitution will be rememberd for all the wrong reasons. Lahm allowed Bastians to collect the ball on the edge of the box and put in a low cross just out of Butt’s reach, only for Braafheid to put the ball into his own net.


Freiburg’s first half was very promising, Abdessadki, Makiadi and Cissé’s closing down put Bayern’s back line under an uncomfortable amount of pressure, and if it weren’t for terrible marking from corners, the score would’ve been more favourable towards the away side. After conceding, Freiburg were always chasing, they weren’t able to play their game – or rather, stop Bayern from playing theirs.

After going missing for a whole half, Kroos was given a new lease of life when he moved out to the wing; he had no marker, he was allowed to drift in and down the wing, and he had space to smash 30 yard shots in. Pranjic was by far the best player of the match because he was able to exploit the space left by the man marking midfielders; he might not have got in many crosses, but was always lively – three assists show this. Mueller, like Kroos, had a torrid first half; he was never going to get the ball into a dangerous position, but moving to the right meant he could make the off-the-ball runs he can do better than anyone else.

On another day, this game could’ve been 1-0, maybe even 0-0, but the six goals all came about for a reason. 4-2 may be a little unfair on Freiburg, but over the 90 minutes, a Bayern win was certainly the most likely result.

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