It was the last game of 2015 but the game itself was largely ignored beforehand. The media was more focused on the (not anymore) unclear contract situation of Pep Guardiola. The club tried to calm the sea of speculations by extending the contracts of four players the day before the game against Hannover 96.
Many supporters welcomed these early Christmas presents. Especially since the club managed to extend the contracts of key players such as Xabi Alonso (2017), Javi Martinez (2021), Jerome Boateng (2021) and Thomas Müller (2021). Regardless of the future of Pep Guardiola, the club will be able to keep on fielding eleven players per game in the future.
3 things we noticed:
1. The club extended the contracts of today’s match winners
The day before the game, the contract renewals of four key players were celebrated. All four of them showed their class in this tough game. Boateng and Martinez demonstrated in central defense why they are constant starters. The tactics of Hannover, route one to Erdinc, who was supposed to provide layoffs, didn’t work properly. Too strong were both Bayern players in their aerial duels. Additionally they showed an absolutely sovereign and concentrated performance on the ground as well. Particularly noteworthy was Jerome Boateng’s performance. He won 100% of his duels, thus not committing a single foul this Saturday afternoon. With 12/21 long balls, Boateng opened the Rekordmeister’s game in the usual manner. His counterpart on the right central defender position, Javi Martinez, also performed extremely confidently. Four clearances and two important challenges won in the second half show that Martinez is on the right track. His performances have continuously improved during the first half of the season. Meanwhile, he also looks significantly better in shape again.
The third player that had his contract extended was subsequently the player that put Bayern on the winning road this afternoon. Thomas Müller scored his fifth of six penalties during the first half of the season. It was his 14th goal of the season, a new personal record. So far he had never scored more than 13 goals in a season, now he has already improved his own personal record by one goal after just half of the games played. Remarkably, Müller scored Bayern’s opening goal five times this season. He was the absolute key player, even if he succeeded in little else. When it matters, Müller is there.
2. The long and winding road of Holger Badstuber
Holger Badstuber is on a long road back to normal. How difficult this can be showed his red card against Piraeus a few weeks ago in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola fielded him only very cautiously, despite many other injured defensive players. On this Saturday, there were hardly any alternatives for the Spanish coach, which is why his choice fell on Holger Badstuber. Initially he was supposed to take over the left position in the back three. In this position, he had to cover a large area and clearly had problems with it in the opening minutes. A little later, Pep Guardiola adjusted a little bit and henceforth played more with a back four – with Badstuber as a left full-back. In this role, Badstuber was not fully integrated into the system. He only touched the ball 16 times in the first 30 minutes. The game was largely played without him. Significantly, the switch of Coman to the right wing and the support he received there by Rafinha generated a lot more offensive momentum.
In the second half, as Bayern played more cautiously, Badstuber was also better integrated in the game and was able to support it with his high passing accuracy. His unemotional nature and his passing accuracy of 95% calmed the Bayern game. He made two clearances and won 40% of his duels. His rarely played his dreaded long balls (2/3). In the 73rd minute the working day was over for Badstuber. It was visible once again that the last percentage points of health and especially of match routine are still missing. Over the winter break, Badstuber must continue to work on himself if he wants to play a permanent role in this team. Martinez and Boateng are currently fixed starters in central defense and there is also Benatia, who is capable of playing a very solid game, if not injured.
3. There’s no place like home
A 1:0 victory is the closest imaginable result in football. Again it was just a minimalist performance away from home. In eight away games, Bayern scored “only” 14 goals. These are just 1.75 goals per match. On the other side stands a solid defensive that conceded only five goals, ie 0.625 goals against per game. Despite this scarce difference six games were successfully played. Hoffenheim, Darmstadt, Bremen, Mainz, Schalke and Hannover were beaten. Against Frankfurt, it only amounted to a goalless draw, against Gladbach Bayern lost 1:3 in a balanced match. A look at the teams shows: Except for Schalke and Gladbach, there are still many challenges ahead of Bayern in the second half of the season. Against the four ‘followers’ in the current table, Bayern still has to play away from home. Additionally the teams currently placed 9 to 11 (solid midfield teams) will be visited by the Reds. In short, there are still plenty of heavy tasks waiting for Guardiola’s team in the second half of the season. Bayern has to improve its performances in some cases significantly, if they do not want to give away their safe lead ahead of Dortmund.
|HANNOVER 96 – FC BAYERN 0:1 (0:1)|
|Hannover 96||Zieler – Sakai, Marcelo, Schulz, Albornoz – Schmiedebach, Sané – Karaman (84. Klaus), Andreasen (69. Saint-Maximin), Prib – Erdinc (58. Benschop)|
|Subs||Tschauner – Gülselam, Felipe, Anton|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Martinez, Boateng, Badstuber (73. Kimmich) – Thiago, Alonso, Vidal (88. Rode) – Rafinha, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Ulreich – Kirchhoff|
|Goals||0:1 Müller (40./penalty)|
|Cards||– / –|
|Referee||Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)|
|Attendance||49.000 (sold out)|