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Déjà-vu as defensive Köln hold out again

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Déjà-vu as defensive Köln hold out again

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:15 pm

As Franck Ribéry stepped up to blast a stoppage-time free-kick at Faryd Mondragon's goal, Thomas Müller's poacher's nose drew him towards the Köln keeper. Müller guessed correctly: the ball spooned up off the shot-stopper, the FCB forward applied a head, and the crowd prepared to celebrate. But the cries of joy died in thousands of throats, as the ball landed harmlessly in Mondragon's arms. Müller clutched his head, and a groan of dismay filled the Allianz Arena. A few moments later, the referee blew up, and Bayern had drawn 0-0 with Köln.

"The way I took it, there was almost no chance of it going in," Müller fumed afterwards, "later, I realised I'd have had time to control it on my chest and then shoot. I made the wrong decision." Almost exactly a year ago, the same fate befell Ivica Olic, who also missed a huge stoppage-time chance in a goalless draw with Köln. "The games I've played at home to Köln were pretty much identical," mused Müller - and he was not the only person with a sense of déjà-vu on Saturday.

Like last season, Bayern dominated Saturday's encounter with 69 percent of the possession, and wins by 20-8 on shots, 23-6 on crosses, and 11-1 on corners. But just like last season, it finished goalless. And just like last season, the double winners have a mere five points from their first four Bundesliga fixtures. "It's not an optimal start," acknowledged Holger Badstuber, "we should have been starting much better than this."

Below-par strike rate

However, despite the much-reported World Cup-affected pre-season, FCB are playing good football. "There's not been a game so far where we've actually been poor," stated Müller. The problem is goalscoring, as Munich have now failed to score for three league games in a row. "We've scored two in four matches. That's not enough by our standards," declared Christian Nerlinger.

"My team did everything they could to get into dangerous positions in the box," said Louis van Gaal, "but that on its own won't do. We have to score." The visitors adopted an exclusively defensive approach with two rows of five men strung across their own box at times, but the Bayern camp was not using that as an excuse. "We should have the class to find a way through," said Badstuber.

A matter of time

"It's entirely up to us," offered Jörg Butt, who made excellent saves from Miso Brecko (77) and Sebastian Freis (83) as the visitors sensed an unlikely victory in the closing stages. "Each one of us has to be looking at himself and asking what he can do better. We have to be going for the decisive goal with everything we've got." Nerlinger agreed: "Sometimes you just have to batter away at a defensive team. We'll often meet totally defensive teams this season, so there's nothing for it but to score."

However, the director of sport remains confident. "We'll find a solution to the problem," he said, a view echoed by the entire FCB camp. "We have to stay on our chosen course. I'm sure the goals will come again soon. It's just a matter of time," said Van Gaal. "One positive is that we're at least creating plenty of chances," observed Badstuber.

Hoffenheim and Mainz up next

"I'm convinced we won't go four games without scoring," said Butt, although the keeper also issued a warning: "We need to turn it around very soon. We're never given time, and we shouldn't be awarding ourselves time." The champions are already seven points off top spot - and this week brings crunch meetings with second-placed Hoffenheim on Tuesday, and leaders Mainz on Saturday. "We need three points from both games," stated Butt.
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