Up against struggling VfL Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena, FC Bayern München were expected to pick up all three points with ease. Some people even hoped for another Lewandowski goal shower. In the end, Martin Schmidt’s Wolves showed that they had some teeth after all.
At half time, all was going to plan. A Robert Lewandowski penalty. An Arjen Robben shot helpfully deflected. Then came the second half. Uh, oh. Carletto is going to be on his way to China again after that 2:2 draw.
After the 4:0 destruction of FSV Mainz 05 and the equally painless three-goal stroll in Gelsenkirchen against Schalke 04, there was a growing feeling of confidence at the Allianz Arena. The team had started to click, and the pressure was off coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, would make their way south to the Allianz after a disastrous start to the season. It has been a torrid past year for the toothless Wolves, with former Bayern caretaker coach Andries Jonker being shown the door just four games into the Hinrunde.
Having seen his side grab a point at home to Werder Bremen, new coach Martin Schmidt was always going to have his work cut out. In the end, his hard-working team did him proud.
Two years ago…
We have all seen the videos, the tweets and memes. Two years ago to the day, Bayern fans witnessed what was arguably the most memorable feat at the Allianz Arena. With Bayern a goal down against (an arguably much better) Wolfsburg, Robert Lewandowski came off the bench to hit a spectacular five-goal salvo.
While such feats are the thing of dreams – or nightmares if you are a Wolfsburg fan – one knows that once something happens once, it can happen again.
Wolves fans are probably sick of the sight of the Polish striker, and the alarm bells must have started to chime when he calmly put Bayern into the lead from the penalty spot – but that was it for the night for Lewa. No bunch of five this time around.
The weak link
The injury to goalkeeper and one-man wall Manuel Neuer, and the news that he will be out of action until at least the year, was met with some panic in Munich. It was time, we all agreed, for reservist Sven Ulreich to step up.
After a solid show against Schalke, some of the initial fears were allayed. A clean sheet, a good job. But the reality was that apart from a couple of testing moments, die Knappen were pretty useless up front.
Cue Ulreich’s inevitable gaffe, and a weak one-handed flap at a pretty harmless looking free-kick from Maxi Arnold. Wolfsburg were back in the contest. In the end, it was just the fillip the visitors needed. Having seen this, we can be sure that PSG’s potent front line will be be taking a few more optimistic potshots in midweek.
A game of two halves
We all love a footballing cliché, and this one is everybody’s favourite. It was exactly what we saw at the Allianz tonight. Wolfsburg were good value for their point, as Bayern lost their direction in what was a sluggish second half.
At half time, Bayern were comfortable. The penalty and a deflected Arjen Robben effort was hardly show-shopping stuff, but Bayern were… Yes, well, comfortable. But then came Ulreich’s moment, and some wonderful play from Paul Verhaegh and Daniel Didavi to square things up. The first half was OK. The second was meh.
Mats Hummels would have an opportunity to snatch the three points with the last kick of the match, but there was a sense of inevitability as his header fizzed wide.
No Bayern-Dusel. Two dropped points. Time to put up the shutters as the doom mongers start to stir again.