Bayern Blow by Hoffenheim
Allianz Arena, Munich, March 10 – One has to feel bad for TSG Hoffenheim 1899 coming in and playing a team in the state that FC Bayern München is currently in – talented, under performing, under pressure, and desperate.
A team like Hoffenheim can only hope that a team like Bayern won’t take out their frustrations on them.
Well, it happened.
Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick, Arjen Robben added two more goals, including converting a penalty, and Bayern crushed Hoffenheim 7-1 in front of an elated sold out arena.
The win not only brings the Bavarians closer to Borussia Dortmund who drew at FC Augsburg, but gives them hope, if they play like this the rest of the season, they can get back on track and win some titles this season.
“We played a great game today and the goals were picture perfect,” stated head coach Jupp Heynckes. “We played ourselves into a frenzy. The team were not only focused on this match, they covered the pitch, fought for every ball and also played some great football. The team is hungry. It was a lot of fun.”
Robben could not agree more. “It was a lot of fun today. That’s how it should always be and we have to continue that. We should not play any different than we played today.”
It’s been a rough stretch for the German record champs. Over the past month, they have played lackluster, winning only three of the first seven games of the second half in the Bundesliga season. In the meantime, they lost their grip on the top spot, before the matches on Saturday they were sitting seven points behind Borussia Dortmund.
From kickoff, Bayern were going to run. And Hoffenheim was going to let them.
An errant pass seconds in was intercepted by Franck Ribéry who drove towards the goal and created the first chance, but was knocked away for a corner. Ribéry once again had a chance but could not convert. The pressure continued, Thomas Müller’s cross to charging Ribéry and Robben was deflected by goalkeeper Tom Starke and found the foot of Gomez who finished. 1-0 after 5 minutes.
Bayern did not let up and it forced the Hoffenheim defense to make some mistakes. Phliipp Lahm worked his way forward on the right side, tried to get it back to Gomez. His attempt was deflected but once again the ball was bouncing around in the area. It seemed a defender may have touched the ball, but Marvin Compper tripped up Lahm who was going for the loose ball, and that led to a penalty. Robben hit it left, Starke jumped to the right. 2-0 after 12 minutes.
And the hits kept coming. David Alaba, who started on the left side as Lahm moved over to the right for the flu-ridden Rafinha, jumped on an another lazy pass, off to Ribéry. The Frenchman passed it back to Toni Kroos, who took a chance from outside the area, and why not. He slipped during the kick and was deflected, but it was good enough to get by Starke for a 3-nil lead.
FCB may have thought they were playing the Swiss already as the Hoffenheim defense had nothing but holes and lanes for the wingers and strikers. Ribéry stole the ball at mid-field, started his signature fastbreak run, his pass found a streaking Robben. His Dutch colleague got by Starke and scored. This was a signature play on how the Hoffenheim played – turn the ball over, let Bayern run, and there was no one back back on D. Robben could have tapped it over to Müller who was also unmarked.
The ball kept bouncing FCB’s way. Robben and Gomez controlled the ball, and even when a defender tried to stop them, the ball found a Bayern foot. Ribéry was finally able to control it, his cross found Gomez’s head and was directed to the back of the net, and it was over after 35 minutes. 5-0 Bayern at the half.
Gomez completed his hat-trick shortly after the restart, again off his head from a corner from Robben, and then Robben started a quick counter from a failed Hoffenheim corner kick, ran up the left side, led Ribéry who got by Starke, and completed the scoring for Munich.
It was such a good day, that Bayern scored for the other team, when Luiz Gustavo misplayed a ball, allowing Ryan Babel to get by and upon catching up and trying to stop the ball, Gustavo punched the ball before Babel, but past Neuer in the 85th minute.
Despite ruining the clean sheet, Hoffenheim were not happy with the performance.
“We apologize to the fans for our play today,” said defender Compper. “But we have a game on Friday, we need to win that and then we can forget this game.”
“It was a terrible day for us from the opening second, and Bayern were in a flow,” admitted Starke. “I can’t mention anything from our performance today. We just have to look forward.”
Bayern now turns its focus on FC Basel. They lost the first match of their Champions League knockout game in Switzerland 1-0, giving pause to their confidence that they may play the final at home on May 19th.
“We are looking forward to Tuesday, if we play like we did today we can recover from the 1-0 deficit,” said Müller confidently. “It’s good when we play with passion and ball control and the attack up front, it energizes us for the rest of our matches.”
The hope is that a game like this will reenergize the team and they can return to the form they displayed in the opening part of the season.
“Our goal is to win every game the rest of the season and then we’ll see,” said Gomez. “We control our destiny in the Bundesliga.”
“We will fight for the title until the end,” promised captain Lahm.