Bayern eek past Frankfurt to reach the Pokal Final
The first half can be summed up by those two words: “Missed Opportunities”. Bayern started off by playing a beautifully connected and attacking match against the Frankfurt team. However, they only managed to capitalize on one of their 3 “big chances” in the first half.
Lewandowski somehow whiffed at a ball set up on a platter for him by Thomas Muller with a wide open tap in from 2 feet. Later Kingsley Coman mishit a fantastic cross from Alphonso Davies on the back post again from feet away and a wide open goal.
While these things sometimes happen, it was these misses that really put the pressure on the Bavarian side in the second half and gave Eintracht the belief they needed to make a game out it.
As well as the first half went for the Munich side, the second half was nearly as bad. The 61st minute substitutions of Thiago and Lucas Hernandez for Kingsley Coman and Ivan Perisic did not go smoothly.
8 minutes after, Danny de Costa scored the equalizer after consistent pressure from Frankfurt. For the next 5 minutes the game was fairly back and forth before Robert Lewandowski put Bayern back on top for good.
However, the Munich side never looked comfortable following the 61st minutes substitution. By taking out the only two natural wingers in the side, it forced 3-4 players into positions that may not be their best spots based on current form. Muller had to move to the wing. Goretzka moved to the 10. Davies moved up to the wing. And Lucas played at left back. While all 4 of them are capable of playing these positions, they are not the preferred positions for any of them currently.
Goretzka has been fantastic next to Kimmich as the second 6. Muller has been amazing this season playing behind Lewandowski. Davies is the revelation of the season at left back. Lucas is still recovering from his injuries a bit, but most of his time since his return has been spent in central defense.
The lack of playing time and comfortableness with the positions became obvious nearly immediately. Muller and Davies didn’t seem to know where they should be. Lucas looked a little lost on the goal by da Costa. Goretzka never really looked like he was playing in an attacking roll.
While it may have been necessary to get the Kimmich, Thiago, Goretzka midfield some time prior to Saturday’s match up with Gladbach, the timing was questionable. It looked especially awkward coupling the two moves where you have Davies move forward for the first time in nearly a year and put Lucas at left back for the first time in months.
Despite all of the issues in the second half. The players found a way to win. This is as important and maybe more so than demolishing teams. You’re not always going to play well. The shots don’t always go in. You’re not always going to get the calls. Sometimes your opponent is going to stomp on your head.
But these tight ugly games are what separate champions from the rest. You have to be able to win ugly and that’s what Bayern did today. Despite an impressive first half performance where they should have had at least 2 or 3 goals, they instead went in 1-0. This galvanized a tough Frankfurt team who really tested the Bayern players both physically and mentally. However, in the end the Reds came out on top.
While no one should be happy with the performance, the result is ultimately what matters and reaching the DFB Pokal final yet again is a huge achievement. Hansi, and the entire team, will I’m sure have learned from the experience and work on the areas that need addressing.