Created on 27-08-2013 at 13:08 PM
Bayern dropped points for the first time this season on Tuesday night as a team showing seven changes bossed SC Freiburg for long periods and took a first-half lead, but failed to stretch their advantage and conceded a late equaliser. By way of consolation, the point sends the champions to the top of the league, and FCB’s exceptional run continued too, as they are now undefeated in 29 league fixtures, have not lost any of their last 20 matches away from home, and have scored in 41 games in a row.
The 24,000 capacity crowd at Mage-Solar-Stadion saw Pep Guardiola’s unfamiliar line-up gradually seize the initiative against the tactically disciplined home team and take a 33rd-minute lead through Xherdan Shaqiri. The Reds were always in the driving seat after that, but Munich were careless with a string of clear-cut chances in the second half and were punished four minutes from the end by SCF substitute Nicolas Höfler.
The result takes Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga standings on 10 points from four matches, a point clear of Dortmund, Leverkusen and Mainz but having played one game more than their rivals. The treble winners now turn their focus to Prague on Friday, where a trophy is at stake in the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea.
Seven changes for FCB
Following the 2-0 victory over Nürnberg at the weekend and with an eye on Friday’s prestige clash, boss Guardiola made seven changes to his team, with Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Mandzukic starting on the bench, and Thiago out of contention in any case with injury.
The rotation meant FCB began with Manuel Neuer in goal, marshalling a back four of Rafinha, Daniel van Buyten, Dante and Diego Contento. Captain for the day Bastian Schweinsteiger took the holding role, with Shaqiri and Thomas Müller on the wings, Toni Kroos and Mario Götze in attacking midfield, and Claudio Pizarro making his first appearance of term up front.
Home coach Christian Streich is currently remodelling his team, after the minnows became victims of their own remarkable success in 2012/13, winning many friends but losing a host of their best players over the summer. SCF picked up their first point of the campaign away to Hoffenheim last Saturday and started the midweek encounter in 14th spot.
Shaq breaks deadlock
Once experienced referee Florian Meyer whistled the match underway on a drizzly evening in the Breisgau region, the visitors used the opening exchanges to bed in the new formation, before both keepers were called into action around the quarter-hour: Neuer beat out Oliver Sorg’s goalbound shot, and SCF’s Oliver Baumann saved equally well from Kroos and Shaqiri.
Müller and Pizarro were starting to prove a handful, the Peru man setting up the Germany striker on 19 minutes only for Mr Meyer to blow for a foul, but the breakthrough came with 33 minutes on the clock, Müller scampering clear of three defenders down the right and picking out Shaqiri at the far post, where the Swiss starlet smacked home a half-volley off the inside of the upright.
Munich were content to keep the lid firmly on through to the break, Götze’s occasional darts and Müller’s eager presence ensuring the pressure never dropped entirely, and Sorg’s shot into the side-netting on the stroke of half-time was Freiburg’s only real chance before the interval.
The visitors kept up their iron grip on the game after the restart, Müller and Shaqiri both testing Baumann early on and the keeper standing up very well when the Swiss international blasted in another effort, although a curling Charles-Elie Laprevotte shot grazed Neuer’s left-hand post after a rare SCF counter-attack on the hour.
Lahm replaced Götze and took up station in midfield, with Kroos seizing on a loose ball but finding the crowd, before a touch of carelessness set in after 75 minutes when Kroos, Pizarro and Müller all hesitated an instant with only Baumann to beat, allowing the keeper to block. SCF sub Sebastian Kerk directed a header straight at Neuer, before Schweinsteiger hobbled off 12 minutes from time after turning an ankle and was replaced by Ribery.
The Frenchman loosed off a shot, but Munich’s wastefulness was punished with four minutes left when Höfler turned a Sebastian Freis cross over the line from close range. Mandzukic replaced Pizarro and FCB laid siege to the home goal, but Dante fired over the bar and time ran out before the Reds could find a winner.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley