By Peter Herrnreiter
The tension is mounting in the Bavaria capital today as the current Bundesliga double winners and Champions League runners-up continue on their skid of poor form that has them placed at 8th position domestically. A 3-2 loss at the hands of AS Roma, while disappointing, is being further amplified by a string of incidents of infighting at the club.
At the end of last season, Bayern’s new Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal was praised for his tactical genius and stern leadership as he guided FCB to a near treble winning season. Though, with Bayern’s lack of form in Germany and of cohesion with its players, added pressure has been placed upon the Dutchman’s shoulders.
“It’s very difficult to have a conversation with Louis Van Gaal. He can’t accept it when someone has a different opinion to him. However, you can’t run a club all by yourself these days,” noted Bayern president Uli Hoeness earlier this month to Sky90.
Since the public row between the two men, both sides have agreed to put the tensions aside for the betterment of the club, however it was Bayern’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that helped to diffuse any anxiety via the media after Wednesday’s match, saying, “A defeat is never a good thing, there is nothing positive there but Bayern can live with this loss. I think it would be good for everyone to treat this defeat softly as we have already advanced as group leaders after five games.”
The match itself however started on a very positive note for the visitors as they looked to add an exclamation mark to their surprisingly strong Champions League run, given their internal issues that is. Bayern took the lead through Mario Gomez on 33 minutes via a cheeky pass via Frank Ribéry, who is seeing his first continental action since being sent off against Lyon last year. The Germans quickly doubled their lead six minutes later as Gomez hit his second after a Thomas Mueller through ball found the German international.
Van Gaal seemed to field what might be seen as a reserve side, as backup keeper Thomas Kraft was called upon in the stay of number one Hans-Joreg Butt. The 22 year old did very well to keep the Romans at bay after a number of excellent chances from Marco Borriello, Jérémy Ménez and John Arne Riise.
Kraft however was soon beaten four minutes into the second half as Ménez found Borriello to cut the visitors lead in half. Kraft though seemed unfazed as he was able to string together two world class saves which kept the scoreline tight, stopping both Fábio Simplício Marco Brighi in quick succession.
Nine minutes from time, the comeback was closer to complete as Danielle De Rossi was picked out though a quick pass from the left flank. The win was complete just three minutes later as fan favorite Francesco Totti hit a low shot to the left corner from the penalty spot to seal all three points.
Despite the loss, Bayern will advance as group E winners and will face FC Basel in Munich on the 8th of December. Roma, who must rely on Bayern to beat their Swiss counterparts if they are to advance, will travel to Romania to face CFR Cluj.