Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich

The first half formations.

Bayern Munich beat Schalke 2-0 to return to the top of the Bundesliga table. Manuel Neuer, booed throughout on his return to the Veltins-Arena, kept a clean sheet for the seventh game in a row, although Bayern were lucky that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar didn’t bring his shooting boots as the Dutchman and one or two other of his colleagues had enough chances to kill Bayern off in the first half. However, those moments weren’t capitalised on, and with the hosts tiring in the second half, a Franck Ribéry-inspired Bayern eventually cruised to victory despite the absence of both Arjen Robben and Mario Gómez.

Match preview here.

Bayern bossed possession from the off, spreading it about among the fluid foremost six players, as well as the centre-backs and full-backs. The hosts were playing something of a 4-3-3, with the narrowness of the midfield designed to help keep the string-pulling likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos quiet. It was a foul-laden opening ten minutes, with Kyriakos Papadopoulos & co. hacking and hounding to stop Bayern getting more comfortable than they already were.

Although Bayern – looking to expose Schalke’s lack of midfield width through a series of long-diagonals to and attacks down the channels – were in control, they had nothing to show for it bar Gómez’s stand-in Nils Petersen going close and a couple of corners. Continue reading

Alemannia Aachen 0-0 SpVgg Greuther Fürth

The formations for the first quarter of the game, before the referee made it ten on ten.

Aachen stay in the relegation zone of the second division despite holding the league leaders to a draw in their first game under a new coach. The match was one of ten outfield players apiece for three-quarters of the 90 minutes, with both Aachen and Fürth seeing midfielders giving their marching orders for high feet. The league leaders looked the more technically accomplished and confident of the two sides throughout, but a defensively disciplined performance from Aachen – who don’t concede many goals these days – saw Fürth kept at bay, and on the balance of play, a draw was a fair result.

Match preview here.

The visitors looked settled straight away, as they knocked the ball from side to side and forwards and backwards with confidence, zip and a determination to toy with their beleaguered opponents. Out of possession, they looked the better side too, as when Aachen tried to push their guests back through a David Hohs punt, Fürth’s banks were better set to pick up the loose ball, and then hold onto it in the face of heavy pressing in their own half. The hosts did manage to create a chance in the third minute, though, after pouncing on some Fürth differing. But, the cross which followed a David Odonkor head-down-and-run dribble was cleared by the well-placed hoop-shirted centre-backs, and the subsequent corner and second ball crossed into the box saw the visitors equally intelligently positioned and unfussy when it came to clearing their lines. Continue reading