It wasn't perfect, by any means, as there were serious lapses in defensive concentration, but... Sheesh! It's hard to find fault with a team that has put up an astonishing 20 goals in three matches. (And I thought, after two matches, that 14 shots of Jaegermeister was a lot! This team will be the death of me if this form continues.) Arjen Robben has called this "the week of his life". Philipp Lahm has stated that this team is "capable of taking apart any side". (Caution, Herr Lahm. We haven't won anything yet.) While Jupp Heynckes says we are playing "perfect football". And all of the sudden, the world of die Roten has gotten over their collective annual freak-out. Crisis? What crisis?!
Now on to the second bogey. 'Gladbach. This season is the first and only time the Foals have beaten us twice; an 0-1 season-opener at the AA, and then again 3-1 to open the second half at Borussia Park. Can they do it a third time? Max Eberl, sporting director of BMG, says, "We are going to try and make the impossible possible. To beat Bayern three times in a season is, statistically speaking, not possible. But we will give it a go anyway." All of his "possible impossibles" are backed up by cold, hard fact. Never, in the history of the Bundesliga, has a team beat Bayern three times in a season.
So, hey! We've got that going for us.
We've also got a starting XI that has been playing remarkably well together. I'll forgive David Alaba his couple of slip-ups against Berlin, if he promises to tighten up his defensive game for this match, for his link-ups with Ribery on the flank have made him look as though he's been playing that position all season. We are, of course, still missing Daniel van Buyten and (possibly, jailbird) Breno. And we are all saddened that Bastian is still sidelined with that niggling ankle, but hopefully returning on the weekend against Hannover.
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba - Gustavo, Kroos - Robben, Mueller, Ribery - Gomez.
Lucien Favre's men are a brutal counter-attacking team, waiting patiently to pounce on any mistake. (Hear that, Alaba?) But, we already know that, don't we? Patrick Herrmann, recovering from a broken collarbone, is likely to return and start with main attacking threats Marcos Reus (Boooooo!) and Mike Hanke. Igor de Camaro, who scored the late winner against Leverkusen over the weekend AND the late winner against us on Matchday 1, is likely to come off the bench as a power sub.
'Gladbach: Ter Stegen -Jantschke, Dante, Brouwers, Daems - Herrmann, Neustadter, Nordtveit, Arango - Reus, Hanke.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We only sing when we're winning. Or, win when we're singing. Same difference. When the boys in red are on the pitch smiling, all is well in the world. We definitely won't be crushing Borussia Moenchengladbach like we did Hoffenheim. Basel. Berlin. Although, that would be something, eh? But, if we can manage an early goal - indeed, that's the whole key to our success - and open BMG up a bit, we'll be on our way to the final in Berlin on May 12th.
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