Created on 23-03-2015 at 10:55 AM
Ice cube would be an understatement: Robert Lewandowski held something more like a mini iceberg to his forehead as he left the Allianz Arena on Sunday evening, nursing a painful bruise collected in an aerial duel. The sight of the Bayern striker treating a bad headache was unwittingly symbolic of the club’s evening, as the FCB stars repeatedly hammered away at the Borussia Mönchengladbach defence only to be repelled. But despite a 2-0 defeat, the pain suffered by the Reds was by no means as bad as it could have been.
“There’s nothing dramatic happened,” summarised captain Philipp Lahm, although he was dismayed at FCB’s failure to grasp a “huge opportunity to wrap it up. If we’d won today, we’d be 13 points clear with eight games to play, and I think that would have been that.” In the event, Wolfsburg cut Bayern’s lead in the standings by just a single point after the champions’ chief pursuers drew 1-1 at Mainz. “Nothing’s really happened in terms of points,” agreed Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “we’re still in pretty good shape with a ten-point lead.”
By contrast, an injury sustained by Arjen Robben was a much greater cause for concern. “It’s at least as bad as the defeat,” said Rummenigge, on hearing the Dutchman will be sidelined for several weeks with a torn stomach muscle. After hobbling off after 24 minutes of Sunday’s clash, Robben was sorely missed against Borussia’s compact defence, a problem compounded by Franck Ribéry’s absence with an ankle injury.
Chairman: An unpleasant evening
“It was tough without Franck and Arjen,” confirmed Pep Guardiola. Lahm agreed: “Against defensive opponents the players for the one-on-one situations are even more important.” At the end of the day, Bayern dominated the play with a 16-4 win in the shot count, 21 crosses to Gladbach’s three and 68 percent of the possession. However, the Reds could not force the ball past visiting keeper Yann Sommer. “We tried everything but failed to prise open their defence,” Guardiola said.
“We lacked penetration up front and we made a string of errors at the back which led to the goals. Gladbach were ruthless,” summarised Holger Badstuber. Raffael mercilessly put away rare counter-attacking chances on 30 and 77 minutes, and it was somehow fitting that a Manuel Neuer mistake was a big factor in the first. “The problem was that I wanted to catch the ball and not parry it in front of me,” the world’s best keeper ruefully explained.
“It wasn’t a pleasant evening for us,” said Rummenigge after Bayern’s first home reverse of term, “we didn’t play well and deserved to lose. Gladbach were simply better than us today.” Naturally, the coaching staff will use the international break to analyse what went wrong before the trips to Dortmund and Leverkusen in two weeks’ time. “Obviously we’ll have to do better than we did today,” stated Rummenigge, “this evening wasn’t what we aim for at Bayern Munich.”