Wins against Olympique de Marseille in Champions League action last Wednesday and the 184th Bavarian Derby over Nuernberg on Saturday are showing a different side of Bayern Munich. While the wholesale slaughter of Hertha BSC, FC Basel and Hoffenheim were oh-so-fun to witness, the last few matches- unnerving at times- are proving a will and determination to win. Even when things aren't going our way.
Spanish referee Carlos Carballo essentially ruined what could have been a tough, physical match in the Stade Velodrome. Missed calls, seven yellow cards (five for Bayern and two for Marseille) and many inappropriate whistles blown turned the first quarter-final tie in to a bit of a circus. It was very frustrating to watch as both teams descended and devolved in to diving to pick up free kicks.
Only once this season have Munich failed to win after scoring first - a 1-1 draw with Napoli in the group stage - but they have been traditionally better when scoring early; forcing the opposition to create space. Indeed, Bayern was lucky to pick up the opening strike a minute from the half as third-string OM keeper Elinton Andrade couldn't contain Mario Gomez' low shot. However, the second goal for die Roten was classic Arjen Robben-style: A little give-and-go with Thomas Mueller and a well-placed volley across Andrade.
And while the Frenchies got a... erm... "sorely-needed" rest over the weekend, Bayern Muenchen were back in action in the Bavarian Derby at Nuernberg. And again our backs were up against a wall as referee Felix Zwayer disallowed a Mario Gomez strike midway through the second half. And also again, we were saved by the scintillating Dutchman as he scored the lone goal after keeper Schaefer had blocked Franck Ribery's shot.
With Dortmund being held to a 4-4 draw on Friday against Stuttgart, the narrow win over our fellow Bavarians puts Munich three points behind BVB with six Bundesliga matches left, including a championship-deciding, mouth-watering match between the two squads on April 11th. However glittery that game may be, it may be remembered that the derby was the decisive one.
But now we turn our attention again to Champions League, and a match made nervy by the amount of yellow cards handed out in the first tie. And lest we forget that Marseille came back to beat Dortmund 3-2 in the group stages to go through. Jupp Heynckes' men will need all their concentration and focus to win without unnecessary yellows, as four key players are on two: Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller, Luiz Gustavo and Jerome Boateng.
If les Phoceens open up against us in Munich, this could very well be a butt-whipping akin to our stellar three-match run with the +19 goal differential. But, even if it's close, this team has finally figured out they have the heart and the character to go through. Besides, who doesn't want to see a Bayern Munich - Real Madrid semi-final?
Auf gehts, Bayern!
You can (and should) follow Susie on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/fussballsusie