Though two days late, I’d like to make note of Bayern’s last match against Hannover 96. Despite some reports citing that Bayern would return to the Heynckes 4-2-3-1 formation, the newly converted squad, led by Guardiola, maintained a 4-1-4-1. The strategy proved successful; the Munich group controlled the tempo of the match by winning possession by a 2:1 margin. They outshot Hannover 8-2 in attempts on target and finally broke through the Hannover defense in the 51st minute on a beautiful play orchestrated by Arjen Robben. Robben sent a low pass through the keeper’s box to Toni Kroos, who then laid it up perfectly for Mario Mandzukic to find the back of the net in the first score of the night. Thirteen minutes later, Franck Ribery added another and sealed Hannover’s fate. One of my favorite tidbits of the match was discovering the nickname for two of Bayern’s best midfielders: “the Robbery pair”, referring of course to Dutchman midfielder Robben and Frenchman Franck Ribery.
Tomorrow, the team faces CSKA Moscow in their first go at defending their Champions League title. CSKA, a formerly the official club of the Red Army, will by no means fall back easily. As Scott Schroder of Bavarian Football Works put it, “for a period of time, the club was known as the Experimental & Demonstrational Playground of Military Education Association, which sounds like the worst summer camp ever.” An important note prior to the match is that Bastian Schweinsteiger will likely be available for the match, likely allowing Toni Kroos to return to his position at CAM. Let’s hope Der FCB stays true to its game plan and picks apart the Russian defense en route to more Champions League success. Mia San Mia Bayern Munich!