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In the third match day of Group D of the Champions League, defending champions Bayern Munich hosted the newcomers Viktoria Plzen from the Czech town Plzen, famous for its Pilsener Urquell, and currently second place in the Czech Gambrinus Liga. Bayern have won their first two games against Moscow and Man City where Plzen had to concede to both. A clear outcome predicted on paper.
Bayern Versus Plzen: Worlds Apart
10/24/2013
 

In the third match day of Group D of the Champions League, defending champions Bayern Munich hosted the newcomers Viktoria Plzen from the Czech town Plzen, famous for its Pilsener Urquell, and currently second place in the Czech Gambrinus Liga. Bayern have won their first two games against Moscow and Man City where Plzen had to concede to both. A clear outcome predicted on paper.

 

Guardiola made a few changes on Saturday's Bundesliga match against Mainz: Van Buyten and Contento started in centre back fro Dante and Boateng, who had to sit out a game due to his red card from the Man City match, Müller got a break, while Ribéry and Alaba were back in the starting lineup: Neuer – Rafinha, Van Buyten, Contento, Alaba – Lahm – Robben, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Ribéry – Mandzukic were the starters in the 4-1-4-1 formation.

 

Bayern started pressing right from the beginning and Plzen had little counter-pressuring to show for and were sitting deep inside their half, hoping for a bad day from the Munich juggernaut. Bayern were able to create a number of chances within the first ten minutes and by mere luck Plzen kept their goal clean.

 

In the 25th minute Robben was fouled inside the box and the referee pointed towards the penalty spot. Now several things came together: last weekend in the Bundesliga versus Mainz, Robben wanted to take the PK as well as Müller, but Guardiola pointed towards Müller and later said “I am the coach and decide who takes PKs” and Sammer said on Monday that Müller and Alaba are the PK takers; now Robben has scored in five consecutive Champions League games and is one away from equalizing Cristiano Ronaldo's record of six. Ribéry hence offers the ball to Robben to keep the streak going, but the Dutch striker, obviously still perturbed from the rejection on Saturday refuses to take the ball. So PK-Gate continues? As long as these little kids games just remain off the pitch and don’t spill over into the team chemistry, it’ll be fine. But this was rather odd, since Alaba, the number 2 PK taker was playing and supposedly first in line to take the PK. Very confusing.  Ribéry nonetheless converts the PK against Plzen goalkeeper Kozacik.


I am just glad the tussle for the PK didn't end up like this:


The Bayern train keeps rolling for the rest of the first half and finally in the 37th minute it was Alaba with an accurate right-footed strike form 15 yards out after a nice setup by Mandzukic. And that was the halftime result. Plzen corner kicks: 0; shots on goal: 0.

 

The second half continued in the same way as most of the first: high possession, little resistance by the over-matched Plzen squad and Bayern passing at will and creating chances. In the 61st minute Ribéry out dribbles his defender on the left edge of the box, sprints towards the goal and scoops the ball nicely over Kozacik: 3:0. Two minutes later Mario Götze comes on for Lahm and immediately with his first touch sets up Schweinsteiger close to the penalty spot, who spins in Gerd Müller style and smashes the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 4:0. It was a startling display of skill by the German international and you have to watch it in replay and slow motion to really appreciate that level of finishing as it happened so quickly.

 

Götze added his first goal on the Bayern squad in the 90th minute after Robben played a long ball from the right towards the back of the post where Götze was hanging out and with a nip and one touch had no trouble making it 5:0, the final score. Mario G., after already two and a half assists on Saturday finally recorded his first ever goal for Bayern and put up another nice second half performance.

 

All goals and highlights:

Stats:

Possession Bayern 78%; Plzen 22%

Shots on goal: Bayern 35, Plzen 1

 

This superiority apparently was the biggest discrepancy ever in recorded Champions League history. And I had even trouble crediting Plzen with that one shot. Bayern and Plzen were worlds apart tonight.

 

Touches:

Schweinsteiger 112

Kroos 94

Rafinha 80

 

Champions League Group Table D:

 

1.     Bayern 9 Points

2.     Man City 6 Points

3.     CSKA Moscow 3 Points

4.     Victoria Plzen 0 Points

 

Next matches:

Saturday Oct 26th Bundesliga versus Herta Berlin

 

Records:

Bayern have won their last eight CL matches. Barcelona holds the record with 9.

Robben’s streak of scoring in consecutive CL matches.

 

Pep Talk:

“I am satisfied with the result and the performance. We have produced strong showings in our three games so far.”

 

On PK-Gate: “I wanted Arjen Robben to take the penalty. I do not know why he did not want to take it He has a strong personality.” Arjen was probably still ticked off from last Saturday and is known for being a diva at times.  


Robben after the game said the following:

 

“I don’t want to comment on that topic anymore. It’s over. Every word would be excessive. It was a nice gesture by the team and I only need the support of my teammates.”

 

This smoldering issue might continue for the foreseeable future.

 

Sammer’s Tantrum Level:

0 – Dormant

1 – A 15-minute temper tantrum of a three-year old child – dinner without dessert.

2 – The 2010 eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Europe – led to a weeklong air traffic disruption in Europe.

3 – Toba Eruption on Sumatra 70,000 years ago – led to a “volcanic winter” and potential plant and human die-off.

 

Sammer’s commentary on PK-Gate from Monday was a bit more direct: “Müller and Alaba are our PK takers by a wide margin. We are very clear on this.” Too bad that Pep wanted Arjen to take the PK, who refused and then Ribéry took I, even though Alaba was on the pitch!

 

Any comment by Sammer means that his tantrum level needs to be upgraded: Tantrum Level 1.

 
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