On paper, today’s game between 1st place Bayern Munich and 17th place Eintracht Frankfurt looked like a certain Bayern win. Despite the three points being claimed by the home side, just one moment of magic separated the two sides at opposite ends of the table with the game ending 1-0 after a far from thrilling contest. The reverse fixture earlier in the season marked the first game in which Bayern dropped points, as the game closed at 0-0 in Frankfurt.
Changes for both
Pep Guardiola’s men looked to continue their run of two consecutive wins, to finish their season on a high as the Bavarians look set to claim their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title with six games remaining.
Guardiola made five changes to the team that won in Koln last time out in the Bundesliga; Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Mario Götze, Thomas Müller and Javi Martinez came in for Douglas Costa, Rafinha, Sebastian Rode, Joshua Kimmich and Kinglsey Coman who was missing due to a muscular injury after International duty.
Frankfurt, who looked to build upon their 1-0 at home to Hannover 96, made three changes from that match winning squad with Marco Russ, Bastian Oczipka and Stefan Reinartz making way for David Abraham, Marco Hasebe and Marc Stendera. Niko Kovac’s team were well aware of the pressures going into the game at the Allianz as they sit 2 places behind safety on goal difference.
The game started slowly for both sides as a continuation of free kicks and corners prevented a fluency of play to break out. The first real chance of the game fell to Mario Götze, as he was unable to convert his shot from close range after a corner from Muller proved difficult to deal with.
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski was next to test the Frankfurt goal, as his header was hit just wide of Lukas Hradecky’s post.
The Polish marksman was gifted another chance shortly after, as the ball was knocked down invitingly into his path in which he wildly struck the ball over the bar, quite unlike him when taking into consideration his recent form.
Moment of magic
The only goal of the game came on the 20 minute mark and was what can only be described as a one in a million strike for Franck Ribery. After Götze’s strike was stopped awkwardly by Hradecky, ricocheting off of the keeper into the air in which it was plucked from the sky by Ribery who acrobatically volleyed the ball beyond the Frankfurt striker with an overhead kick, firing into the net behind him. The Frenchman rolling back the years with the sensational strike to put Bayern in the lead, weeks before he celebrates his 9 year anniversary with the German club.
The game was run by Bayern from start to finish, the Bavarians claiming 70% possession and 21 shots on goal in comparison to Frankfurt’s four. Despite the game being dominated by the home team, neither team registered a clear-cut chance on goal, which in some way explains the brilliance of Ribery’s goal in itself.
The dullness of the second half was made greyer for Frankfurt, as Szabolcs Huszti was forced to be replaced early into the second half due to an injury. The clock fizzed away as the 90th minute came, the final chance of the game falling to Thomas Muller, whose shot was eventually saved Hradecky who had a solid game on an individual level.
The final whistle was blown as the game ended 1-0 in Munich, Ribery’s excellence earning three points for Bayern as they begin to pull away from second placed Borussia Dortmund towards the final straight of the season.
Next up for Bayern in matchday 29 of the Bundesliga is a trip to Stuttgart, as they come close to retaining the title. As for Frankfurt, it looks like an uphill battle for the team in 17th as they fight for survival, they welcome 16th place Hoffenheim to the Commerzbank-Arena in a battle for vital points at the bottom in the closing stages of the season.