FC Schalke 04 defended and pressed valiantly in a highly contested match against Bayern, but the table toppers earned the three points with a 2:1 win, thanks to their class.
The first major talking point of the matchup between Bayern Munich and Schalke was the absence of Bayern’s treble winning manager Jupp Heynckes. It was reported bay Bayern that Jupp Heynckes had the flu and was bed ridden due to its severity. This meant Peter Hermann was given the coaching job for the night. Big shoes to fill.
Bayern’s quality shines through
Bayern had a relatively shaky start which was induced by great pressing from Schalke. The home side showed that it only requires one moment for the lethal attack to spring into life. Robert Lewandowski tapped the ball in after Thomas Müller was given time and space to release a shot from range that was initially saved. This is what quality does for teams. The ground work set up by Schalke was phenomenal, but the tiny moment that they made a mistake was punished. Those moments mattered even though Bayern weren’t up to par.
Schalke’s pressing caused serious problems for Bayern when in possession. FCB loss the ball consistently in midfield, which either allowed Schalke to have a direct run at the defense or led to fouls in dangerous areas.
However, Schalke held a very high line. Bayern used that to counter against inconsistent defending. Thomas Müller’s goal came from one of the counterattacks, as a good pass from Arjen Robben played him in on goal. What looked like miscued cross from Thomas Müller found the back of the net. Schalke continued with their methods and placed severe pressure on Bayern. Their pressing may have exposed weaknesses that other teams could exploit.
The future Bayern player played well in the midfield. He won most of his battles. He almost scored a terrific goal in the first half, chopping Jérôme Boateng to create the space he needed to release a shot that went wide of the goal.
Leon Goretzka also played a part in Schalke’s only goal of the night, trying an acrobatic finish from a Breel Embolo cross. The ball deflected slightly to land perfectly at Franco Di Santo’s feet. He calmy put it in the back of the net.
Bayern Munich restored their 18-point lead a top of the Bundesliga. With this run of form, we may see the earliest win in league history, a record previously set by Pep Guardiola back in 2013-2014.