The draw at HSV taught us a few lessons: Antoily Tymoshchuk was largely (if not, completely) ineffectual as a wing back. I think Jupp Heynckes considered that a lesson learned after 61 minutes when the Ukrainian was subbed for David Alaba.
What we've all been trying not to believe this season is the cold fact that Philipp Lahm is fallible. He was drawn off Sala, who he was supposed to be marking, leaving the Italian wide open to score his first Bundesliga goal. I'm wondering if his captaining of both Bayern and the Nationalelf is a bit too much. He already looks tired and we just came off winter break.
The Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger pairing at DM doesn't work. Our regular 4-2-3-1 formation ends up looking much more like a 4-1-4-1, with Kroos slotted in further up-field behind the attacking midfielders, leaving Schweini to be the sole boss in front of the back line. And while everyone thinks he's the s**t (myself definitely included), it's a little too much to ask.
Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber keep their rightful places as central defenders. This is the correct partnership, and what Heynckes should have been using all along. While I don't dislike Daniel van Buyten, Boateng's athleticism much more than makes up for whatever advantage DvB adds on set pieces. (I mean, really! We have offensive weapons for weeks!) And coupled with Badstuber's passing and positional instinct, this pair is a force to be reckoned with.
Against a well-positioned Hamburg defense, and a goal-keeper, in Drobny, who had the match of his life, Arjen Robben still managed to get his shots in, even with no help from Tymo. Lest us forget, on the other side of the pitch, Ribery was guilty of over-dribbling. A lot.
Four days later, FCB faces VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Pokal quarter-final; naturally disappointed with the draw against Hamburg, but optimistic that things are falling in to place, despite losing the position at the top of the Bundesliga table. And, falling in to place is exactly what happened.
With Rafinha back on the wing, the Bayern defense looked as it should have been all along. I can only hope that Jupp is done fiddling with the back four. Only Cacau could muster up enough... errr... mustard to give Neuer his lone save on the day.
David Alaba has rather quietly been putting together a nifty season. Coming in for the lamentably injured Bastian after only 17 minutes, he handled his DM duties admirably. In fact, he's done well in every situation that Jupp has placed him in this year's campaigns.
Thomas Mueller's hand in both goals is no surprise to me, although I wish he would've scored himself. He is as good on the wing (perhaps better, even) as he is in the 10 slot. But, with Kroos much better lining up behind Gomez, Thomas won't be in the playmaker's spot very often.
Arjen Robben can put away his bitchface, as Holger does it better anyway. The Dutch international will not be relegated to the bench for the forseeable future. Given that he and Rafinha get a few quality matches in together, and get in sync, he will be starting. Just maybe not tomorrow.
So, a comfortable win against a hard-nosed VfB puts us in to the Pokal semi-finals. A draw against 'Gladbach, Dortmund or Gruether Fuerth lurks on Sunday. And we've got a shot at making up some points this weekend, as Leverkusen travels to BvB. (A draw isn't too much to ask, is it?) Also, Schalke 04 travels to 'Gladbach, while we face lowly Kasierslautern at home. I can't see us not kicking some serious Roten Teufel butt on Saturday, as they have only scored 15 goals in 20 Bundesliga matches. A comprehensive win at the Allianz would be a huge step in the right direction.
Auf gehts, Bayern!
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