Miasanrot Awards 2022/2023: FC Bayern – Moment of the season
27 May 2023, the clock reads twenty minutes past five. It’s the penultimate minute of the regular season. A single goal separates FC Bayern from a surprising eleventh consecutive championship.
Dayot Upamecano blocks the ball for Choupo-Moting, who plays it back to Coman, and Bayern’s best attacker of the second half of the season somehow manages to pass it on to Leroy Sané, who is racing towards the penalty area. The next second, he is alone in front of Marvin Schwäbe. The German championship is at stake. Sané shoots – but straight at Schwäbe. The Cologne goalkeeper blocks the ball wide. This must be the end. Bayern had not even created a handful of chances. Seven days earlier, when they’d gone behind against Leipzig, they’d done the same. Congratulations were in order for Dortmund.
But, wait, they are already on the attack again. Serge Gnabry is on the ball, passes it into the middle from wide. Jamal Musiala starts to turn while still receiving the ball with his left instep. He completes the turn with his second touch of the ball. Two short steps, then a precise right-footed shot into the far corner, the only uncovered spot of the goal. Boom. Ecstasy. Bayern have done it after all. Dortmund won’t score two more goals. Only Bayern will be German champions.
The whole magic of this moment only becomes clear when you look at what came before. Seven days earlier, Bayern had seemingly lost the championship. The author himself buried all prospects the day before:
It’s all over. I think Dortmund are capable of anything. They have no mentality, despite this second half of the season. I wouldn’t have put it past them to blow it against VfB Stuttgart, but Mainz 05? Their season is over. After half an hour, the score will read 3-0. I said it on Saturday, I’m saying it today and I will have to say it next Saturday: Congratulations to Dortmund.This author, just two days earlier
So thousands of Bayern fans, devoid of any enthusiasm, turned on the broadcast at 3:30 pm. In Germany, many even tuned in to Sky’s so-called “Meister-Konferenz”, this time it wasn’t “Einzelspiel München” for many.
When, after eight minutes, Kingsley Coman put Bayern in front with the first attacking action worth mentioning, some probably questioned for the first time that day whether the intended script would be followed. This writer did not think so. Rather, he was annoyed that the draw at Dortmund was cause false suspense.
When the call “goal in Dortmund” sounded after fifteen minutes, the world seemed right again for a moment. Dortmund would have confirmed their role as favourites and done the first part of their homework. But it was not the Dortmund players who were jubilant. Instead, it was Mainz who took the lead from the kind of set piece goal that you actually only concede when everything is going against you. Well, now Dortmund needed two goals. But they also had 75 minutes. The Bayern fan in me didn’t believe any of it, and lo and behold, a few moments later there was a penalty kick awarded to Dortmund. The most popular BVB player, Sébastien Haller, snatched the ball away from the forgotten Bayern triple winner Emre Can, kicked… and missed. Horrified, Dortmund fans stared at the action. In disbelief, Bayern supporters followed suit.
But things became even more incredible! The former Bayern defenders Süle and Hummels let Onisiwo slip through, and he headed in for 2-0. If the Bayern lead held now, Dortmund would need three goals!
After those nine incredible minutes, the omens were completely reversed. The German championship, no longer thought possible, had returned into Bayern’s possession.
Part of the dynamic of the afternoon was the ever-changing focus of the game. If many Bayern fans started watching the game in Cologne, they would quickly switch to Dortmund, only to return to Bayern once they were 2-0 down, because it was clear that it was now up to Bayern to go – or not go – all the way.
In the end, of course, no-one cares, especially three weeks later, but the early and late goals gloss over how terribly Bayern actually played. After Coman’s goal, Bayern simply stopped attacking. Yes, conceding no goals was the order of the day. Leroy Sané’s deservedly disallowed goal was the only scoring chance for 70 minutes, and in the end there were only four shots on target. For much of the game, Cologne had more possession. It was only when Bayern had to that they made more of an effort, and they ended up with a slight 53% advantage.
Kimmich rightly saw the game as a bit of a mirror of the season afterwards. Started well, dropped off strongly, conceded a goal that was 20 minutes in the making. However, not always in the season did they manage to come back.
But on this last matchday it was different. They still had him, the bright spot of the season. Jamal Musiala, who gave FC Bayern the moment of the season.