Munich set the tempo
Although the hosts seemed the stronger side on paper – Munich heavily injury hit – it was the away side to carved out the first golden opportunity of the game, less than five minutes in. Vivianne Miedema’s nippy low cross had Lisa Weiß off of her line quickly as the keeper attempted to grab the errant ball with Nicole Rolser arriving into the box, a combination of keeper and defence keeping the Bavarians out.
As the hosts began to settle they saw more of the ball, opening up half-chances, Charline Hartmann doing her best to occupy the centre-backs and do her best to work the Reds. Having laboured all the way through their last match against Turbine Potsdam, Munich looked a different team and moved the ball around well, refusing to give the hosts an inch in either half of the pitch.
Although struggling for real penetration, one shirt always out-numbered by at least three red, Essen saw their best chance at the mid-way point of the half, as Hartmann, Sara Doorsoun and Kozue Ando managed to nip the ball through, Doorsoun’s shot straight at Tinja-Riikka Korpela. Irini Ioannidou’s effort from outside the box a minute later also straight at Bayern’s first choice keeper, Essen lacking a clinical finish.
Rolser takes the initiative
Calm and composed across the pitch it wasn’t long before Munich found their opening, with red shirts advancing and those in white unable to snuff out the attack, Miedema poked the ball through for Rolser. The diminutive attacker slipped beyond the high defence and this time beat Weiß to the punch, sending the ball beyond the advanced keeper, no one back for the hosts to stop the ball from floating into the open net.
The game began to break apart, Munich with the better penetration but the ball mostly confined to midfield, Hartmann further cut off from her teammates with those in red willing to swarm the home backline. Sloppy and niggly fouls began to emerge as the game drew closer to half-time, the settled first twenty minutes replaced with a scrap to the break.
The second-half followed – or struggled to flow – in the same vein as the first, Munich the team with the better chances, getting more change out of the defence and earning a handful of corners on the bounce.
The biggest problem for Essen in the first-half had been how stranded Hartmann was in attack but the hosts began to get numbers up to support the lone attacker, their increased presence forcing Korpela and her defence to work. Suddenly the pendulum had swung and it was Essen who had the half-chances falling their way, Doorsoun, Hartmann and Linda Dallmann opening up chances but unable to capitalise. The Munich defence stood tall but for the first time in the match – after the hour mark – their clean-sheet looked in danger.
But as is often the case Essen were punished for not capitalising when they had the ball, Rolser’s second of the game hugely preventable. With the ball punted forward Weiß once again skipped off of her line to claim, with two on two in the box Ina Lehmann attempted to nod clear as Weiß looked to tip the ball off of her head. The ball dropping kindly for an industrious Rolser, her touch enough to take it clear of both her mark and the keeper, a groaner for the fans. The game beginning to get all too scrappy once again.
Scrapping to the end
It was still Die Rotten who threatened into the last ten minutes, Weiß’ goal under heavy threat at set pieces, the home defence still having issues with clearing their lines. Katharina Baunach’s first touch an assured header that crept over the bar, Essen doing precious little to hold onto a respectable [losing] scoreline. The substitute’s jinking run five minutes from time had the hosts in a knot, her shot a little scuffed and Weiß, already committed, was able to grab the ball on the way through.
A sloppy foul on the edge of the area gave Munich one last crack at goal, Baunach – a real bright spark since coming on – tasked with taking the set piece, just to the right of centre, 20 yards out. Her direct free inch-perfect as it evaded the wall, curling around arcing against the inside of the bar, taking a ping off of the woodwork to crash down inside the line behind the helpless keeper. One of the rare moments of quality in the match.
The late introduction of Nicole Anyomi finally gave the hosts more of an edge but it was already late in the day for Essen who’d never found their groove in the game, a spark of life in the second-half snuffed out by Bayern’s second. Thomas Wörle undoubtedly happy with how his team responded to their loss against Potsdam and rare win for the Bavarians that involved more than one goal for them; a flourish before the break.