With no more interest in the cup competitions and the Bundesliga title already sewn up, FC Bayern took on relegation-threatened SC Freiburg in their penultimate game of the season. Despite the bright start and the lion’s share of possession Pep Guardiola’s side were handed a stinging blow right at the death, with their desperate opponents grabbing a last-minute winner through former FC Bayern striker Nils Petersen.
With the season more or less over for his side Pep Guardiola rested Thiago, Thomas Müller and skipper Philipp Lahm from the eleven that had lined up against Barcelona in midweek, with Sebastian Rode, Mario Götze and Mitchell Weiser returning.
There would be some criticism of Bayern’s line-up afterwards, but on paper even this starting eleven should have been enough to deal with an opponent that had not beaten the Bavarians in nineteen years. In the end though, it all came down to desperation, desire and the simple will to win. While the Bayern players must have been thinking of the summer break, the team from the Black Forest were prepared to risk everything in their struggle for top flight survival.
Irrespective of the situation, Bayern started the game positively and immediately took command, bossing the possession from the kick-off. Götze had an early sighter, and Medhi Benatia looked to have given the lead early on only to be penalised for a push as he headed the ball smartly into the back of the net. As they continued to press the men from Munich didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal however, and some nifty footwork from Weiser down the right allowed the youngster to send in a crisp cross for skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger to slot home past ‘keeper Roman Bürki after thirteen minutes.
Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his opening goal at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. After thirteen minutes, everything was going to plan
Bayern were now in command and should arguably have had a penalty when the sprightly Weiser appeared to have been brought down, but for those watching it seemed like a matter of when rather than if Bayern would score their second.
It was something of a shock, then, when Freiburg grabbed an equaliser in the thirty-third minute. Completely against the run of play and Bayern’s domination of the ball, Schweinsteiger was caught cold by Admir Mehmedi. Lining up a shot from just outside the box, the Swiss striker made no mistake in capitalising on the Bayern skipper’s error, lashing the ball past Neuer to fire up the capacity crowd at the compact Schwarzwald-Stadion.
With the Breisgau-Brasilianer desperate to claw themselves out of the drop zone, spaces started to open up in the second half. After Xabi Alonso had lofted a free-kick into the crowd, Bürki was forced into a brilliant save as he kept out a Götze header with an outstretched right leg.
Bayern should have put the game out of sight by now, but at the other end there was a moment of controversy when Mehmedi looked to have had his shirt tugged by Rafinha as he made his way into the Bayern penalty area. There was a clear case for a penalty and a possible red card, but referee Tobias Welz waved play on.
As he looked to up the ante Guardiola brought on Müller for Alonso, and as Bayern looked to restore their lead Schweinsteiger was close to what would have been one of the goals of the season as his wickedly looping and dipping free-kick pinged off the crossbar with Bürki completely beaten. The introduction of Thiago and Lahm saw things speed up again, and the talented young Spaniard almost found the back of the net with an audacious volley that was just as brilliantly parried by the Freiburg ‘keeper.
Despite their constant knocking at the door Die Roten were unable to make any of their chances count, and it was left to one-time bench-warmer Petersen to deliver the telling blow at the other end. Karim Guédé accelerated down the right as Freiburg showed the champions how to execute the perfect counter-attack, and the Slovak international’s defence-splitting pass was perfectly timed for second-half sub Petersen to finish with ease.
When the final whistle blew Bayern had lost their third Bundesliga match in a row – their worst sequence since 1998. With the Bavarians faltering yet again it proved to be an ecstatic moment for Christian Streich’s side, and nobody could deny them their moment of glory as they hauled themselves out of the bottom three.
Bayern’s final game of the season will be at the Allianz Arena against FSV Mainz 05, and with the Meisterschale being presented they will be looking to close things off on a high in front of their home crowd.
Man of the Match
Not long ago Mitchell Weiser looked to have been heading out of the Säbenerstraße, but the ongoing injury problems have given him the opportunity to make the starting lineup and get some decent pitch time. The youngster set up the opening goal with a lovely piece of skill, and always looked dangerous going forward. He has certainly made a case to secure a new contract in Munich.
Bundesliga Week 33
Schwarzwald-Stadion, Freiburg, 16.05.2015
SC Freiburg 2:1 (1:1) FC Bayern
Schweinsteiger 13. / Mehmedi 33., Petersen 89.
Freiburg: Bürki – Mujdza (c) (85. Philipp 85), Krmaš, Mitrović, Günter – Höfler, Darida – Schmid, Klaus (74. Frantz) – Guédé, Mehmedi (86. Petersen)
FC Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Boateng, Benatia, Bernat – Alonso (64. Müller) – Rode (72. Lahm), Schweinsteiger (c) (72. Thiago) – Weiser, Götze – Lewandowski
Yellow Cards: Guédé / –