FC Bayern were held to a goalless draw by Hertha Berlin on Saturday. The visitors parked the bus throughout, the home side comfortably enjoying possession but running up vainly against the rock of Hertha's defense. The German record champions created a number of chances, but an excellent performance by visiting netminder Rune Jarstein meant the Reds were held to their first stalemate after 14 competitive victories in a row.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Rafinha, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Javi Martínez anchored a midfield featuring Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, Thiago and Franck Ribéry, with Robert Lewandowski as the sole striker.
Jupp Heynckes made five changes to the team that downed Besiktas on Tuesday. Süle and Rafinha replaced Jérome Boateng and Joshua Kimmich in defence, with Robben, Thiago and Ribéry taking over from James, Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman in midfield.
No goals before the break
The 75,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the home side go straight onto the front foot but struggle to overcome Hertha's dogged defending. Bayern had the first sniff of a chance when a perceptive Alaba cross found Lewandowski at the back stick, but Jarstein proved equal to his header. Berlin's Niklas Stark miscued a header at the other end. Jordan Torunarigha blocked a deflected Martínez effort before Ulreich saved Vladimir Darida's effort from distance.
The biggest chance came after the half-hour mark, when the champions broke clear, Robben teeing up Ribéry, but the Frenchman rifled over the bar from 12 yards. When match official Guido Winkmann blew for half-time, the Reds had seen 77 percent of the ball in 45 minutes of one-way traffic, but were still looking for a way through the Berlin wall, their play not vertical enough, their attacks proving largely uninspired.
No way past Jarstein
Proceedings were similar after the restart. A fine Alaba free-kick drew a save from Jarstein before the shot-stopper denied Lewandowski. Heynckes reacted midway through the second half, introducing Coman for Ribéry and then Wagner and Vidal for Müller and Thiago in an effort to galvanise his side. Lewandowski got hold of a Rafinha cross but failed to get behind enough power behind the ball, Jarstein diving to collect.
Bayern upped the pace in pursuit of the match-winner in the closing stages, with Lewandowski unable to connect with a Robben cross before Jarstein saved a Robben free-kick, and Winkmann blew for full-time.
The result means Bayern have 60 points from 24 matches, 20 clear of Borussia Dortmund overnight. The Reds are back in action next Sunday, when they travel to face SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Ulreich - Rafinha, Süle, Hummels, Alaba - Martínez - Robben, Müller (Wagner 71), Thiago (Vidal 75), Ribéry (Coman 68) - Lewandowski
Starke, Bernat, Rudy, Tolisso
Jarstein - Pekarik, Stark, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt - Darida, Lustenberger - Leckie, Lazaro, Kalou (Duda 80) - Selke (Esswein 71)
Kraft, Mittelstädt, Dardai, Skjelbred, Weiser
Guido Winkmann (Kerken)
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