When I last wrote, I was concerned about not being able to watch the Bayern - Bremen match because I was going to be in mid-flight. Luckily, Virgin America allows internet access. However, I still needed a nap, for I had to hit the ground running when I arrived in Los Angeles. My plan was to sleep during the first half, wake up at the break, and tune in for the second. As plans usually do, mine went awry. I didn’t wake up until the 65th minute, which meant I had to scramble to sign up for internet access, find the match on one of my favorite, ahem, “legal” websites and wait for the stream.
As luck would have it, it all came together just in time for me to see Arjen Robben score the game winner. And even more fortuitous was getting to watch Louis van Gaal fall-down-and-go-boom! mid-celebration. But, perhaps the best part, for me, was the piercing yelp I let out when Arjen scored, causing a slight heart attack for my seat-mate. Needless to say, she didn’t speak to me for the remainder of the flight!
Even though Mainz had gotten the best of us earlier this season, I never doubted that Bayern would come away with 3 points this time around. Nor, apparently, did Mainz coach, Thomas Tuchel. In the week leading up to the match, he was quoted as saying Mainz will win if they play “5-5-2” and “park a bus in front of our goal”.
The shots came fast and furious for Bayern in the first half--- 21 of them, to be precise. I had slight misgivings at 45 minutes when the score was still 0-0. Watching Mario Gomez miss a couple of sitters and the penalty-shot maestro, Hans Jorg-Butt, uncharacteristically not deliver had me thinking about the shaky beginning of die Roten’s season, when we clearly dominated our opponents but just could not net.
The 15 shots in the second half produced 3 goals by Daniel van Buyten, Mario Gomez (finally!) and a direct-kick stunner by Arjen Robben that had Louis van Gaal’s hands up in a defensive gesture, trying to protect himself from another celebratory pulled hamstring.
The most striking part of the match to me was watching Phillip Lahm and Arjen Robben completely terrorize and dissect the right side of the pitch. Arjen took on two, sometimes three, Mainz defenders and still delivered passes expertly. And, when Arjen was busy pulling men in to double coverage, Phillip was there to run up the line and superbly cross in to the box.
Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when Franck Ribery is back at 100 percent?
Word is, around the Bundesliga, that Bayern will not lose again this season. This would make the championship Leverkusen’s to forfeit. Pencil in the weekend of April 9th, folks... It’s gonna get interesting!
Next up, Edison’s loan, Ruud chose Hamburg?, and more…