Earlier this season, the club’s board lauded the team’s scintillating home form, labeling games at the Allianz Arena “festivals”. Every Saturday afternoon, Bayern fans would be treated to stunning displays of football. Once the fall days turned to winter nights, however, these master classes slowly faded away as Bayern entered the darkest, most uncertain point of its season. The last of these “festivals” was seen in the first half of Bayern’s game versus Napoli, when the Bavarians were leading 3-1. Perhaps it was Bastian Schweinsteiger’s painful, fateful injury that ended Bayern’s dominance and signaled a decline; perhaps other teams figured Bayern out. One thing was certain; Bayern was declining, and fast. When March rolled in, Bayern had put in solid, but unspectacular, home performances for about five months. Dull home results, coupled with countless bitter away games had fans looking back to the glorious days of the fall. Bayern fans were undoubtedly longing for a return of these “festivals”.
When Bayern played against Hoffenheim, many were expecting another drab 2-0 victory. Just like the Hoffenheim players, many fans were shell-shocked after the game; they had just witnessed another festival! A Gomez hat-trick, Robbery tearing up the flanks (figuratively, not literally, like Milan did with Arsenal), a solid defense, effective full-backs and the return of Schweinsteiger made headlines everywhere. The 7-1 score line, coupled with draws for both of the Borrusias, made it a perfect day for Bayern fans. When the nerves were at an all-time high before the Basel game, many had expected a narrow win. Again, all football fans were mind-blown that Bayern had scored seven goals again in the space of four days. The 7-0 score, coupled with Inter’s elimination by Bayern’s future opponents, Marseille, again made it a perfect day for many Bavarians. With two major festivals within the space of a week, comparisons were made with the Bayern of the fall. Here are five of the best Bavarian festivals this season.
5) Bayern Munich 5-0 Hamburg
van Buyten, Ribéry, Robben, Gomez, Olić
This was the festival that started them all. With a narrow loss to Gladbach followed by a last-gasp win over Wolfsburg, Bayern’s start to the season was a mediocre one. Before the game, there was excited confusion over the return of Daniel van Buyten to the starting line-up, despite Jerome Boateng being fit. But van Buyten repaid Heynckes’ faith in him by scoring the opening goal en route to a rout. Ribéry and Robben both scored great goals while Gomez began his return to form and Olić got injured scoring the last goal.
4) Bayern Munich 4-0 Hertha Berlin
Gomez (2), Ribéry, Schweinsteiger
This was the last game of Bayern’s two month clean sheet run. While other festivals were higher in score, this one gained a place on the list due to the fact that Bayern were 3-0 up after just 13 minutes. With Gomez scoring both from outside the box and from the spot, Boateng supplying a perfect assist for Ribéry, Schweinsteiger again scoring from outside the box, this was then considered a routine performance by the Bavarians.
3) Bayern Munich 7-1 Hoffenheim
Gomez (3), Robben (2), Ribéry; Gustavo (OG)
This game was Bayern’s first festival in almost half a year. With Gomez and Robben scoring early to secure the win, Bayern showed no mercy and could have won by more. Bayern responded to criticism and poor form with the destruction of this poor Hoffenheim side. Two of the biggest gains of this victory were the emergence of David Alaba as a suitable left-back option and the return of vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
2) Bayern Munich 7-0 SC Freiburg
Gomez (4), Ribéry (2), Petersen
This game was the first of the three games this season where Bayern scored 7. With Bayern leading 3-0 at half time, Gomez scored three in the second half to complete his super hat-trick and Petersen scored his first Bayern goal. A result that caught the eye of all of Europe, this win signified just how far Bayern had progressed under Jupp Heynckes.
1) Bayern Munich 7-0 FC Basel
Gomez (4), Robben (2), Müller
This was Bayern’s biggest Champions League knock out win ever. Robben scored early in this tie, tying the aggregate score. But Basel held on for quite some time, and still had a chance when Müller scored the second goal near half-time. Gomez put the game out of reach at the stroke of half-time with a tap-in. Gomez proceeded to score three more times in the second half as Bayern ran riot. Schweinsteiger supplied the perfect assist for Robben to make it 7-0. While this game is tied in score with the Freiburg game, the fact that this was in the Champions League clinches it 1st place.
While Bayern went on to beat Hertha Berlin 6-0 in Berlin, the match doesn’t really qualify as a festival. This is mainly down to two things: the match taking place in Berlin and only three goals from open play. This was nonetheless a huge achievement for Bayern, since it was the Rekordmeister’s first away league win since December. A win against Borussia Mönchengladbach, albeit on penalties, showed that Bayern has truly turned the corner this season. Had this been the Bayern of January or February, the team would have been frustrated and pushed everyone forward, thus losing to Borussia Mönchengladbach’s fierce counters. Bayern must not get carried away with this run of form, however, as the next few weeks will determine the fate of Bayern’s season.
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