Is it possible that for once in this turbulent, distressing season I am happy?! Say it ain't so!
You may think it a bit worrisome that our future coach, Jupp Heynckes, lost to Bayern Munich 5-1 on Sunday, but I don't really see a cause for concern here. Leverkusen have been crumbling at Munich since 1989. It's almost a time-honoured tradition.
What I saw in that match was a relief from the overbearing-ness that was Louis van Gaal. And one where players were inserted due to their strengths, not some misguided evaluation of talent they don't possess.
Jonker's 4-1-2-3 formation worked. And how! This is the first time in a while that I can remember Bayern giving up a lion's share of possession (39 to 61), but that 39 percent of the time we had the ball we made it work. 5 shots on goal, 5 goals scored. OK, one own goal by Rolfes... but I'll take it.
And just a little side note for those of you who may not know: an English / American hat trick is different than what the Germans consider one. In Germany, a hat-trick is three consecutive goals, by one player, in one half, with no one else scoring, from either team, in between. So, good on ya, Mario! A proper German hat-trick.
Schweinsteiger shook off a sore ankle, playing solo in deep-midfield and still managed two assists. Ribery also shook off injury and scored the fifth and final goal of the day. Flashes of the old Daniel van Buyten were seen, the big Belgian threatening in set-pieces. But my man-of-the-match would go to Thomas Muller. While he didn't score, he provided two assists and made himself a menace for 90 minutes. Flashes of his World Cup brilliance were evident and he's sure to be included in Heynckes' starting XI next season, as he is versatile.
And speaking of Jupp's starting XI, we're now almost positive that (can I get girly here and say "oooooooh!") Manuel Neuer will be between the sticks for Bayern next season. Just today he has stated he will not re-sign with Schalke, and has heard nothing of interest from Manchester United. Yay! I know some people might be upset about it now, but he's... freakin' amazing! You'll be thanking your lucky four stars on next season's beautiful home kit...
As for the rest of the signing rumours, between Coentrao and Van der Wiel, I'm beginning to think the Dutch international looks more likely than the Portuguese one. Firstly, he's a bit cheaper. Secondly, he has the Robben seal-of-approval. Thirdly, it leaves some pretty awesome pairings up the flanks: Van der Wiel to Robben (already paired up on the national team) and Lahm to Ribery.
And by the way, Arjen Robben's not going anywhere if we can manage to stay in the top three. Which we will.
Howedes is an interesting case, as I find it hard to believe that Schalke will not only have to let Neuer go, but also their most talented defender? To the most-hated club in the land? That being said, he'd make a great addition to die Roten and I hope to hell we get him.
All things being said: the win, the keeper, the new kit... It's a fine week to be a fan of Bayern Munich. Let's make it a fine month, shall we?
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