By Peter Herrnreiter
The eleventh round of the 2010-11 Bundesliga campaign is well underway and with it, Bayern Munich’s new role as of Jekyll and Hyde would also seemingly continue through the weekend. With their best ever Champions League starting record of four wins and no losses, the Bavarians seem almost unbeatable, however their domestic record, which has them now in an unfamiliar 9th place, showcases their lack of composure and the strains of a shortened bench.
Louis Van Gaal’s men traveled to seller dwellers Borussia Monchengladbach, who have only managed to pick up six points through the first ten rounds. The match, which 30 years prior would have been a matchup of two of Europe’s finest clubs, now embarrassingly falls short of the once high mark set by their predecessors.
The home side was surprisingly able to gap a very early lead in the 5th minute of play through a Patrick Hermann strike that seemed to catch Bayern keeper Hans-Joerg Butt off his line. Though the tide of the match quickly turned in the opposition’s favor, as Bayern were given three amazing chances to capitalize o the home side’s mistakes, however they were only able to hit two of them, for a 2-1 lead into the break.
The duo who helped power Bayern past Cluj midweek teamed up once more for two well constructed goals by Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, with the former using his height to head in a Toni Kroos cross and the latter back-healing a Danijel Pranjic feed past ‘Gladbach keeper Christofer Heimeroth. The second half could have ended 3-1 to the visitors however, as Turkish international Hamit Altintop was fouled in the area, but Schweinsteiger’s sport kick clanged off the upright. Other chances by the Schweinsteiger and Kroos went begging as the Bavarian’s rued their perfect opportunity to end the match early.
Said manager van Gaal, “We’ve thrown it away today. We could have been three, four or five-one up at half-time.”
The second half would find a resurgent BMG, as the home side was able to grab the lead once more through Marco Reus and substitute Igor de Camargo. Thankfully however for the Reds, Philipp Lahm, who signed a new contract extension with the club during the week, leveled in the 84th via an Anatoliy Tymoshchuk pass, which was only his fourth league goal for Bayern and his sixth of his career.
‘Gladbach manager Michael Frontzeck noted after the match that, “We’ve rarely been played off the park the way we were in the first half. We were lucky to make it to half-time only 2-1 down. Bayern were outstanding. We upped our game after half-time and led 3-2, but Bayern have the quality to come back and equalize. We showed great resolve to fight back and make it 3-2 after half-time, so all credit to my team.”
Bayern will now have to wait until next Sunday to fight for three points against fellow Bavarian side 1. FC Nürnberg. ‘Gladbach however will face FC Köln on Saturday, who also find themselves sitting in the drop zone, with just eight points on 11 matches.