3 Things We Noticed: FC Bayern – SC Freiburg 4-1 (1-0)
There are different ways of looking at Bayern’s season. On the one hand are the big disappointments in the cup competitions, nationally and internationally, on the other hand, the fifth league title in a row. But even leaving titles aside, the team showed quite a range of performances, resulting in lots of criticism and a fair share of discontent.
Against Freiburg, the new and old German champion pulled out all the stops once more – not something that was to be expected, in a game that didn’t matter much for them. Freiburg, however, needed 3 points to reach a Europa League spot.
However, Bayern countered their guests’ high pressing with all their playing strength. Alonso was consistently well-positioned and distributed the balls vertically. Alaba’s and later Kimmich’s strength in passing helped the team as well. Vidal, whose season has seen some ups and downs, played just as well as Thomas Müller, who showed that he will play an important role in the future.
Most impressive of all, once again, was Arjen Robben. The Dutchman showed that he can still decide games, on his own if necessary. He went ahead, created plenty of chances (3 shots on goal, 2 assists) and had an incredible 13 finishes himself. His goal was the finishing touch on a performance that underlined his importance for the club beyond this season.
The entire team was determined, structured, and focused in their passing. There were some inconsistencies against Freiburg, however, and these will have to be worked on.
In the end, it was a good performance, creating a worthy sending-off for Lahm, Alonso, and Starke, and providing a worthy framework for the historical fifth trophy. Lewandowski missing out on the “Golden Cannon” for best scorer is only a small blemish on an overall good game and season.
Saying goodbye is never easy. It’s particularly hard when we have to say it to two players that have been so important both to FC Bayern, and to football in general. We’ve said everything there is to say in our farewell texts for Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm, but all those words still aren’t enough to express how important they’ve been, not just in Europe, but worldwide.
For one, the Spanish gentleman. A maestro on the field who was able to read the action like only very few others. When this player who had already won everything came to Bayern in 2014, many fans couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream come true, that this club was able to sign one of the best players on the planet.
Admittedly, Alonso was slightly past his prime, but nonetheless still a world-class player. He filled a gap in the record champion’s midfield that had been torn open by an aging Schweinsteiger and an often injured Martínez. Without Xabi Alonso, the team would have lacked someone to steer, conduct, and read the game, and not forget about tackles in between.
His diagonal passes will be missed – like the one that initiated the first goal against Freiburg. In the upcoming season, the squad likely won’t have another player like him. Bayern will have to redefine themselves, refocus build-up play, and create dominance on the field in another way. Lahm ending his career doesn’t help with this, either.
Over the last couple of years, his diagonal play and his constant movement to the inside ensured that Bayern had more control in their ball circulation. Besides, it will be interesting to see how Arjen Robben will fare in the new season.
There’s no doubt that he has the quality to continue playing at the highest level, but he profited enormously from his captain making runs behind his back without getting a ball in the end – not complaining, not shaking his head, knowing what it was good for.
Both players left the big stage against Freiburg and can now look forward to their second careers. We wish them good luck for their next endeavors, good health, and that we will see them again soon. Servus, Philipp. Adiós, Xabi. Goodbye also to Holger Badstuber, Tom Starke, and Hermann Gerland – the latter two at least will stay with the club in different functions. All the best to all of them.
The last game against Freiburg didn’t make a difference for Bayern’s position in the table. Yet it had been becoming more and more obvious that something was ending – a golden generation, represented by its last beams of light only.
Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Ribéry, and Robben are the faces of this successful time, the most successful period since the 70s. Two of them have gone, the other two are slowly fading. One more, one less.
With that, Bayern is facing the most fascinating years in a long, long time. After the European treble of 1974-76, there was a break in success, just like after the Champions League triumph in 2001. The task for the seasons ahead, therefore, is to now follow up on this glorious cycle of trophies with another one that can keep the same high standard. This will be a challenge the club needs to face from summer onwards.
The fans should use the break to realise how unique and wonderful all of this has been. Who knows when the next Bayern team will be able to line up this many historical seasons in a row.
This text is the end of the fifth season of FC Bayern that Miasanrot has been accompanying in its entirety. Over the years, the blog has grown, much has become more professional, many things were tested, new faces joined the team.
Some of you have always been there, and many new readers have joined. We want to end this historic, five-in-a-row season, by thanking you. For your interest, your discussions, your criticism, and for always going on this journey alongside us.
Over the next couple of days, you’ll have a chance to give us direct feedback via a survey. We hope many of you will take the chance, and look forward to many more unforgettable moments with FC Bayern and you.