In front of a packed Allianz Arena FC Bayern easily saw off 1. FSV Mainz 05 to bring yet another Championship-winning season to a close. It had been a tough and at times painful couple of months for Die Roten, but everybody was determined to end things on a high with the presentation of the Meisterschale and the obligatory Bierdusche.
Having made my way to Munich from London the morning before I was all set for my first Meisterfeier, and the atmosphere at the ground was positively electric. The anthems blared out from the PA system, with stadium announcer Stephan Lehmann in excellent voice. It was gearing up to be something special.
A pre-match show and the appearance of a number of much-loved former players kicked off the pre-match proceedings, and it was also a poignant moment for old hand Bastian Schweinsteiger who was making his five-hundredth appearance in a FC Bayern Trikot. There has been much gossip about Schweinsteiger leaving Bayern for the English Premier League, but the warm applause that rung around the entire ground told him that he is, and will always be, our Fussballgott.
Coach Pep Guardiola made just three changes to the team that had suffered the last-gasp 2-1 defeat in Freiburg the previous week, with Danté returning in place of Medhi Benatia at centre-back and the experienced midfield pairing of skipper Philipp Lahm and crowd favourite Thomas Müller coming in for Sebastian Rode and Mitchell Weiser.
Right from the kickoff the men in red streamed forward as the crowd roared them on. Mainz ‘keeper Loris Karius easily collected an early Lahm effort and Schweinsteiger almost put Müller through, and as the game passed the twentieth minute a sense of anticipation had started to build in the crowd. Right on cue Mainz defender Nico Bungert handled in the box, giving referee Torsten Kinhöfer no choice but to point at the penalty spot.
One might have expected the reliable Müller to step up and take the kick, but Robert Lewandowski – still in with an outside shot at claiming the top goalscorer award – made no mistake from the twelve yards. It was the Polish striker’s seventeenth goal of the season, taking him level with Arjen Robben as Bayern’s top scorer and within two of league leader Alexander Meier of Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Man in the mask, Robert Lewandowski, opens Bayern’s account from the penalty spot after twenty-five minutes
Bayern continued to create the better chances before the break, but Mainz were also able to create a couple of opportunities, the best coming when Yunus Malli sent a header just wide of the far post.
The second half saw the home side continue to seek out a second, and it only took three minutes before they effectively sealed the match. Finding space in the box after collecting a lay-off from Lewandowski, Schweinsteiger capped off his five-hundredth appearance with a well struck curling shot. With ‘keeper Carius helpless, the ball flew into the net to double the Bavarians’ advantage.
Bastian Schweinsteiger marks his 500th appearance with FC Bayern’s second goal three minutes into the second half
Mainz continued to play their part and Austrian international Julian Baumgartlinger should have done better with just Manuel Neuer to beat, and at the other end substitute Claudio Pizarro was foiled by Karius when he looked certain to score. In what was almost certainly his last match for Bayern the veteran Peruvian went close again, but it was not to be.
Skipper Philipp Lahm holds the Meisterschale aloft
The final whistle allowed the post-match party to begin, and after the presentation of the trophy the team were finally able to let their hair down as they made their way around the pitch with the large glasses of chilled Paulaner Weissbier before cheerleader Thomas Müller took the megaphone to lead the Südkurve in another rousing rendition of Humba Tätärä.
David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng corner Pep Guardiola, who is unable to avoid being drenched in Paulaner
In looking back at the season one will obviously pick out the DFB-Pokal semi-final defeat against Borussia Dortmund and the champions’ league semi-final against Barcelona, but the final celebration at the Allianz was the perfect opportunity to end things on a positive note and celebrate Die Roten’s twenty-fifth German league title – achieved with four weeks to spare and a ten-point advantage over second-placed VfL Wolfsburg.
With no major international tournament in the summer the FC Bayern players can now take a long and deserved summer break, and will be looking to increase their trophy count next year. Until then… Servus!
Bundesliga Week 24
Allianz Arena, Mainz, 23.05.2015
FC Bayern 2:0 (1:0) 1. FSV Mainz 05
Lewandowski pen 25., Schweinsteiger 48. / –
FC Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Juan Bernat – Xabi Alonso (54. Rode) – Lahm (c), Schweinsteiger – Müller (46. Weiser), Lewandowski (73. Pizarro), Götze
Mainz: Karius – Bell, Bungert, Noveski (c), Bengtsson – Geis (83. Moritz), Baumgartlinger – Brosinski (52. Okazaki), Malli (71. Nedelev), Jairo – de Blasis
Yellow Cards: – / –