Leader Kimmich and FCB ensure shot at history in Der Klassiker
In every football match, there are little moments that explain why the scoreboard shows the result it does. It doesn't always have to be a shot on goal or a brilliant dribble. In the 29th minute of the game in Bielefeld, Joshua Kimmich took a ball in the face. He was knocked down, but not knocked out. After two seconds, our number six was already on his feet, rubbed his face and hair once and kept running - towards the Bielefeld penalty area, of course.
FC Bayern were leading 1-0 at this point, although, as Julian Nagelsmann said after the game, "it should have been 4-0 after 15 minutes ."
The entire range of passes
According to the coach, the FCB's match plan was to "get behind the back four by playing it out wide". That worked well. It worked so well because Kimmich not only fought, barked orders and ran more than all the other players (12km), but he also showed his entire range of passing skills: long-range passes from his own half, smart lobs just outside the penalty area or elegant chipped through balls. The recipients were mostly two important Bayern players. Alphonso Davies, who in the 12th minute sent the ball in so sharply from the left that Bielefeld could do nothing but turn the ball into their own goal. And Serge Gnabry, who hammered home a Kimmich chip in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time.
Disappointment channelled into energy
When Kimmich came in for his interview after the convincing win and another of his Bundesliga performances - he now has seven assists in the second half of the season, something only RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku has - he hardly talked about the game that had just happened. "Honestly," he began, "I still have Tuesday in the back of my mind." It was "disappointing and difficult to deal with, to give away a chance like that." But you can't stay down after a knockdown. Kimmich said: "We want to win every game." He didn't allow himself or his fans a smile in the process.
There is currently a lot of talk in European football about fans turning an away game into a home game. The Reds managed to do just that, turning the Bielefeld Alm into Bavarian territory. The Bayern fans' chants echoed through the stadium, especially in a furious opening quarter. "Deutscher Meister, wird nur der FCB" (Only FCB will be German champions). Already on Tuesday, the team and the Südkurve had applauded each other gratefully and respectfully after the game against Villarreal, because everyone had given everything, because we can only continue together.
In the second half, FC Bayern slowed down a bit and controlled the game, but Jamal Musiala proved just how hungry the team is when he came on as a substitute in the 61st minute and made it look as if he was introduced to turn defeat into victory. He first took the ball down on the halfway line in the 85th minute, switched the play and sprinted after it. A few seconds later, he slotted the ball home to make it 3-0.
With the win in Bielefeld, FC Bayern now have the opportunity to win the title as early as next Saturday. "To clinch the Bundesliga at home against Dortmund would be something very special," Kimmich said. Nagelsmann called the title decider in Der Klassiker "a good coincidence that doesn't happen often." 75,000 spectators will be at the Allianz Arena - in the hope, in the belief, that at the end of the match they will not applaud each other because they have done everything, but cheer because they have made history together.
Reaction from both camps after the Bielefeld game here: