ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Bayern Munich
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FC Bayern Munich
Posted by Susie Schaaf on 02/20/2012

Rather unfortunately for me, I was forced to watch the replay of the Freiburg - Bayern debacle, as I couldn't find a suitable stream live for the first half of that sorry excuse for a football match. Or should I say that just the first half was certainly sorry? The second half was definitely better, but still not enough to beat Bundesliga bottom-dwellers Freiburg.

Sigh. Definitely not what anyone expected to happen, was it? And coupled with Borussia One and Borussia Two wins over their opponents on Matchday 22; Bayern Munich now sits third in the table: four points behind Dortmund and one behind Moenchengladbach.

“I’m mystified by this performance. The first half in particular has left me very pensive. It seemed as though a few of the players haven’t grasped what’s at stake. We lacked basics like aggression, attitude and work-rate." - Christian Nerlinger.

In fact, the only two players who had a good 90 minutes were Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng. This central defending pairing is a small spot of brightness in what was a mystifying Bayern performance not only for Nerlinger, but pretty much every Bayern supporter across the world.

“We invested much too little in the first half. We weren’t prepared to run hard enough, we weren’t aggressive enough, we didn’t show up in fact. We have plenty to discuss over the next few days. Today’s result is a huge setback. Before the weekend, it was in our own hands, but we’ve thrown away that position now.” - Philipp Lahm.

Oh, Captain! My Captain! Where have you gone?! Philipp is saying the right things, but where is the conviction of seasons past? Oh, that's right... He's too busy covering his ass to provide motivation for the rest of the squad. I'm going to say something unpopular here, and postulate that Bastian Schweinsteiger be given the captain's armband when he returns from injury. And no, not because he's my favorite person ever. He commands respect. He's got fire, drive and passion. And also happens to play a position on-field that is best-suited to running the team. When is the last time you saw Philipp Lahm bark at anyone?

Many people have dogged Mario Gomez' performance in this match. But, when Ivica Olic came on, he was just as ineffectual. You can lay that at the feet of Toni Kroos and David Alaba. Both had well-under-par performances: There were far too many off-target passes that left Gomez with a measly 13 touches on ball. He can't score goals if you can't get the ball to him.

And, touching lightly on Franck Ribery's shameful yellow for diving... Ugh. It's distasteful to me in the extreme. Back in my playing days (admittedly, eons ago), I was taught to play through the whistle. Weren't you? This team collective mentality of "We're Bayern Munich and should be getting all the calls" has got to stop. And the entire team is guilty of it. Enough with the throwing up of the hands. Enough with the running up to the referee and yelling. Statistically, bigger and better teams get more calls in their favor. Let the statistics work and stop being Spain. Or Italy.

Where does this all leave us for our Champions League away tie at Basel on Wednesday? “We have to get our act together as fast as possible and present a different face. We need fundamental changes very quickly indeed, or it’ll be a very disappointing season for Bayern Munich", says Nerlinger.

The key word here is "fundamental". This starts with a change in attitude. Continues with playing to your strengths. Getting the early goal. Attack. Attack. Attack. Trust in our newly solid central defense to shut things down going the other way. Play 90 minutes of football at St. Jakob's Park and everything will turn out fine. Period.

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Posted by Ted on 02/20/2012

Well stated Susie! Time for a hard kick in the behind for these guys to get it together. I have to agree with you on Lahm, he seems way too soft spoken on the pitch to be an effective captain. Wednesday should be an interesting test to see if anything has changed...While I'm on the topic, does anyone know of any good soccer bars in New York City that I can watch the game in?

Posted by Shekhar on 02/20/2012

I think Bayern will explode into life soon...
JH seemed particularly irritated this match, not his usual pensive self... i think he's going to pound some sense into the players in the coming training sessions.

He himself mentioned that he had a loud and energetic half time talk which is why the performance improved in the 2nd half...

Posted by Ruud on 02/20/2012

You spoke my mind Susie...

Posted by Gabe on 02/20/2012

Perfect summation. Schweini should have been given the C for the DFB after Ballack, and for FCB after van Bommel. I highly doubt it's an unpopular view we share.
Nonetheless I see a nice bounce-back dominat CL match on wednesday...1/4 finals surely. As for the league...ugh. BVB just never seem to drop points. They are a joy to watch, but they're not my team!

Posted by shashakahn on 02/21/2012

Nice work Susie..

Wonder what happen to Bayern. We went into the winter break as the form team in Germany & a possible challenger to Madrid & Barca. Now Bayern are just...dismal?

Seems to me like the lack drive & spark. Pity we didn't get Shaqiri for this season. His tenacity & creativity could have sparked something.

& Lahm is still a decent captain. Might not be the typical "screaming at players" sort of captain but we can't forget how he tried to inspire club & country in the past.

Posted by Susie on 02/21/2012


Try Nevada Smiths. 11th and 3rd. They get a lot of Bayern fans for CL matches.


I sincerely hope so! The time for being tacit has passed.

Posted by BrklynBayern on 02/21/2012

Schweini has always been the on field leader. Lahm is fine at what he does. How about calling out Ribery or Robben for not being leaders on the pitch? They have more international experience than anybody else beside Lahm. But, they both seem to be more interested in competing with each other in Schweini's absence than working together. Or, diving... Anyway, Basel is going to be a tough nut to crack. But, this is why everyone wants to get payed the big bucks at Bayern. Now freakin earn your money. Both Robben and Gomez are negotiating contracts for over 40 mil. Time to put up or shut up!
Ted- Nevada Smiths is OK when there aren't any english teams playing at the same time. There will be some Bayern fans there. I'll be at my local with a handful of Bayern fans and a projection screen tv in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at a place called the Boulevard Tavern. If you can find it you'll be welcome, Meeker Ave. under the BQE.

Posted by Stevavo on 02/22/2012

I totally agree, I have been saying this for a while Lahm is not a good captain and I dont buy this whole lead by example rubbish, Bayern has been defined by powerful personalities: Beckenbauer, Mathaus, Effenberg, Kahn, MvB... Lahm does not fit in that bracket and a team like Bayern needs a strong leader to kick their behinds when the players are not performing. Schweini atleast as that passion and potential. At the moment Bayern is a team of lazy individuals without passion and spirit that has defined teams past and Im tired of watching lackluster performances every week. Also Heynches favoritism of certain players is really irritating me,for example, Muller has been poor all season yet he always starts? Alaba at DM? thats also a mystery to me, he gets totally dominated even against a team like Freiburg.

Posted by latibaba on 02/22/2012


Whether we like it or not,there is nothing wrong with the players but something seriuos is wrong with the team.
In as much as i believe in leadership by responsibilty,i will urge JH to rise up to the challenge and bring the best out of this team.

As for lahm,his captainship as little to do with the team flunctuating performance.he must not be a bully to be a good captain.We all know that FORM temporary while CLASS is permanent.
Bayern initial problem was poor defence but now the virus has relocated to the midfield which both management and coach should look for a lasting solution.
the effect sweini absent has not hidden itself from the initial injury in last year,that should have prompted the mgt during the last transfer.but if they believe we can do with what we have then let JH rise up to the challenge.
Lastly i will like to suggest that these guys need inspirational talk to raise thier morale.
i have never seen Bayern in such 1st half display against Friburg.

Posted by Kenny H on 02/22/2012

Bayern were outworked by Freiburg over 90 minutes.
Probably FCB came into the Drei Amt Stadion(the original name of Freiburg's ground) expecting their hosts to simply roll over and play like the side they are.
Please do not place blame on Schweini's injury.
Sometimes things don't go right, sometimes the ball doesn't roll nicely for a team.
But, there is more parity in the BLiga than ever before that I can recall. Bayern's lads must roll up their sleeves and earn 3 pts. each week.
PS - Basel wait in the wings, and it won't be easy.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/22/2012

I'm done with Bayern. I'm done. They play like crap each game, and they're a waste of my time at the moment. Tell me when the offense can finish and when Rafinha doesn't miss a guy like Stocker out wide. Oh ya, and bring in someone like Ottmar Hitzfeld and we will do better, trust me.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/22/2012

Don't blame it on Schweinsteiger.

Posted by Mike on 02/22/2012

Pathetic. Ribery and Robben, you are pathetic. Your selfishness, ego, and dives only bring this team down. If Robben gets another contract, I'll be furious. Much like I am after witnessing a much better Bayern team losing to Basel. Regardless, they deserved to win this CL match, and I hope the sour taste of defeat marinates in their mouths until the second leg.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/22/2012

If only that were to happen Mike, but after the Hamburg draw, I thought they would have learned. They didn't look their best against Kaiserslauten, and they looked terrible against Freiburg.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/22/2012

We could say Bayern will learn after their poor performance week in and week out, and that next week will be better. But that's not going to happen until:

Ribery and Robben quit diving and use their talents to find other people who can score.

It's simple. Gomez is in a slump, so somebody else has got to step up and score a freaking goal.

Buy a few quality defenders and two good full backs to give Rafinha and (especially) Lahm a well-needed rest.

And I noticed in the replay of the winning goal, even though Rafinha was cought standing still, nobody except for our Kahn-like keeper stepped in to at least block off Stocker's angle. I'm talking to you, Tymoshchuk.

Posted by Mike on 02/22/2012

After dwelling on this loss and fixating most of my frustration on what was once a great duo with Robbery, I noticed something: prior to Robben joining the team from his injury and management not playing him, Bayern were unstoppable. Of course, Schweinsteiger was a major piece of this success, but upon Robben's return and Schweini's broken collar bone, FCB have dived into the depths of darkness with losses, draws, and an inability to score goals. Which brings me to my point, LET ROBBEN LEAVE!!!

And Susie, I think Lahm does need that captain's band taken away upon Schweini's return. The man just isn't a leader. He can lead by example, which is fine, but he doesn't come off as a true leader. I hope in this summer's transfer window FCB sign some quality defensive players because we lack depth in that area. It should have been done in the winter, but for some reason it wasn't. If we want to be the best in Europe, we have to get some depth all around, not just with the attack.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/23/2012

At least Robben created a few chances, where as freaking Ribery can't finish a chance from 2 freaking yards!!!! (I'm talking about the chance in the 3rd minute.) And, although I have put out a lot of sticker about our shaky defense, I do realize there really isn't a whole lot we can do at the moment, but I think we either get a Pepe-like defender or the Boateng-Badstuber thing becomes as feared as the Nesta-Thiago Silva pairing fast.

Posted by BayernMunchen01 on 02/23/2012

Susie, I just read phil's blog from The Offside, and he was spot-on. I hope you can match it, he showed a lot of drunkeness behavior, which made the blog really fascinating. Personally, you and phil have the best Bayern blogs on the planet.

Posted by Jorge on 02/23/2012

i really don't think bayern need to sign more players. i mean, with the squad and the depth that they have, they really should be beating EVERYONE they play. yes, schweinsteiger's injury hurts; yes, lahm may be lacking in the leader department; and yes ribery and robben are rather on the selfish side. but are you kidding me? with that line up they can't even score against freiburg?? that makes absolutely no sense. it's like the dallas cowboys being shut out by baylor university! what they need is for R. Lee Ermey to put on his drill instructor hat and rip into each and every one of these "stars." they need an intense, rabid, and terrifying "motivational speech" to remind them who they are and that while they're good, it didn't come naturally. it has to be worked for. it's absolutely ridiculous that with a combination of ribery, robben, kroos, mueller, gomez, olic, and whoever the hell else they can put in there, that they can't score against freiburg or basel. hell's bells!

Posted by Dan lee on 02/25/2012

I totally agree with you Jorge, main factor here is just to get to the players since quality is not an issue.
Hey guys by any chance you know a bar or place to go and watch any game here in Miami, or better where Bayern's fans go to watch games.

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