Süle strike seals the points: three takeaways from FC Bayern v Werder Bremen
Niklas Süle’s strike took a very helpful deflection, but it was the least Bayern deserved against a well-drilled opponent. The Bavarians are now four points clear at the top, and all the pressure is on Borussia Dortmund.
Two weeks ago against Dortmund, Bayern had 22 shots on goal. They scored five. Today, Niko Kovač’s side racked up a staggering 28 shots, with the winner coming courtesy of a slightly fortunate deflection. Against Dortmund, they had 59 percent of the possession. Today, they upped this to a dominant 69 percent.
The moral of the story? Do not believe the numbers, for they sometimes are not what they seem.
Bayern were always in complete control, but Florian Kohfeldt’s side were disciplined and well-drilled. This was clearly not the same Werder Bremen that had conceded 36 goals in their previous seven league visits to the Allianz Arena. In fact, this was a team that had not failed to score in any of their previous 29 Bundesliga matches. A genuine potential banana skin, one that was carefully negotiated.
In the words of Paul McCartney and Wings, “with a little luck, we can clear it up”. So it proved today for Die Roten. Earlier in the season, the story might have ended a little differently.
The visitors never really threatened the Bayern goal, but the home side were unable to turn their possession and opportunities into something more tangible. Bremen keeper Jiří Pavlenka was in excellent form between the sticks, and was like a rock in a raging red firestorm. When the Czech international pulled off a stunning reflex save to deny Serge Gnabry after 26 minutes, one always felt that it would need something else to push this one over the line.
In the end, everything fell into place. Bremen were all but killed off when centre-back Miloš Veljković was dismissed for a second bookable offence – a flailing elbow that caught Niklas Süle – and it was the big man who allowed the home crowd to relax a little. His effort from the edge of the box took a fortunate deflection off the sliding Davy Klaassen, leaving Pavlenka completely helpless.
It was far from pretty, but we will happily take it.
Bayern may have notched up two tough wins against Bremen in the Bundesliga, but northerners will be itching to have another go in Wednesday’s DFB-Pokal semi-final. Kohfeldt’s master plan may not have quite come off, but the green-whites will be in front of their home crowd for the next chapter in this long-running rivalry.
Bayern will be without the injured Manuel Neuer and Mats Hummels, while today’s hero Süle will be watching from the stands after his quarter-final red card against 1. FC Heidenheim. With the Bavarians having to rejig their back line, we are sure to see a little more from Max Kruse and co., who were more than a little quiet today.
As far as the Bundesliga is concerned, Bayern are now four points clear at the top. The pressure is all on chasers Dortmund, who make what could be a very awkward trip to Freiburg on Sunday evening. As we know all too well, nothing can be taken for granted against the Black Forest outfit.