Created on 03-02-2015 at 21:50 PM
Resolute Bayern produced a highly creditable response to last Friday’s first Bundesliga defeat of the season at Wolfsburg with a morale-boosting home draw against Champions League hopefuls Schalke on Tuesday, a very good result for the Reds in the light of Jerome Boateng’s dismissal just 17 minutes into the contest.
The full house at the Allianz Arena, numbering 75,000 for the first time since FCB’s successful application for a capacity increase, saw the home team start brightly but lose Boateng for a foul as last man on Sidney Sam, although Manuel Neuer led the fightback by saving the ensuing penalty from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Pep Guardiola’s men comfortably contained Roberto di Matteo’s team through to the break, and the champions took a deserved 67th-minute lead when Arjen Robben headed home a Xabi Alonso corner. Benedikt Höwedes equalised five minutes later with a carbon copy goal at the other end as the match ultimately ended in a stalemate.
With Wolfsburg held to a draw in Frankfurt, the result in Munich takes FCB up to 46 points from 19 fixtures, still eight clear of the second-placed Wolves. The Reds are back in action on Saturday afternoon away to struggling southern rivals Stuttgart.
Starts for Benatia, Weiser and Götze
Guardiola made three changes to the team beaten 4-1 at Wolfsburg last Friday, with Dante, Sebastian Rode and Robert Lewandowski dropping to the bench in favour of Mehdi Benatia, Mitchell Weiser and Mario Götze. Franck Ribery and Rafinha were still absent injured form the matchday squad, with
The home team started with ex-Royal Blue Neuer in goal, Weiser, Benatia, Jerome Boateng and Juan Bernat in defence, Xabi Alonso and Bastian Schweinsteiger in central midfield, Robben and David Alaba out wide, and Thomas Müller tucked in behind Götze up front.
Jerome’s red card, Manuel’s save
After referee Bastian Dankert whistled play underway on a bone-chilling evening in the Bavarian capital, the league leaders began with intent and made early chances for Schweinsteiger and Götze, the latter also combining well with Müller in a promising opening spell. S04 prodigy Max Meyer tested Neuer for the first time after ten minutes but the momentum was undoubtedly with the home team and Schweinsteiger came close from a free-kick.
Jerome Boateng’s rash challenge on Sam and the inevitable red card naturally changed the balance of the match, although Neuer’s save from Choupo-Moting’s poorly-struck spot-kick at least limited the damage. With more than three-quarters of the game still to play Guardiola felt obliged to shore up his defence and sent on Dante for Götze on 27 minutes, after which the sides cancelled each other out through to the break, Kevin-Prince Boateng firing straight at Neuer and Robben curling a right-foot shot a yard wide of Schalke keeper Fabian Giefer’s far post.
Teams swap goals
Giefer failed to reappear after half-time due to an injury, handing a top flight debut to 19-year-old reserve keeper Timon Wellenreuther, and there was a second change for FCB after 55 minutes when Lewandowski took over from Müller. Wellenreuther punched away Robben’s thumping drive but there was precious little goalmouth action for a long period as Schalke resolutely stuck to their original counter-attacking plan.
Controversy reared its head in the 65th minute when Lewandowski forced the ball over the line only for the officials to rule the ball had already gone out for a corner. But Robben ensured the world was put to rights when he twisted in the air and directed an excellent header past Wellenreuther from Alonso’s precise delivery.
The home team’s lead lasted only five minutes before Höwedes levelled with an unstoppable header from Sam’s inswinging corner. Robben was flagged offside as he ran onto Alonso’s chipped pass, Bernat had a dig from a tight angle, and Lewandowski got through a huge amount of work but it was to no avail as the sides settled for a point apiece.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley