Bayern and Arminia Bielefeld play out a 3-3 thriller in Bundesliga: Match Report

Bayern Munich 3-3 Arminia Bielefeld
Bundesliga Matchday 21

World Champions Bayern Munich came away with a point in what was a beast of a game at the Allianz Arena on a snowy Monday night in Munich.

A tie that was meant to be a procession had everything, including a halt to clear snow.

Bayern went two-nil behind through goals by Arminia’s Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper. They pulled one back through Lewandowski then went 3-1 down through substitute Christian Gebauer.

Corentin Tolisso pulled one back and Alphonso Davies eventually equalised for Bayern with ten minutes of the match to go.

Arminia almost won in Munich for the first time since 1979 whilst Bayern almost lost to a promoted side for only the second time in 46 games.

The draw sees Bayern go five points clear at the top of Bundesliga. Arminia Bielefeld remain in 16th and the relegation play-off spot.

First half: Bayern go 2-0 down as snow makes the game almost unplayable

Sextuple winners are how Bayern are proudly describing themselves with their social media channels decorated in trophy emojis after the Reds won a sixth title of the season at the Club World Championships in Qatar.

Bayern were in the desert state for a week lapping up some Middle Eastern sun before coming back to a snowy Munich for their match-up against Arminia Bielefeld in the league.

It shouldn’t have been too difficult a task for all conquering Bayern. Arminia are in a relegation battle and haven’t won in Munich in over 40 years.

However there were a lot of things that made this game interesting – Bayern’s re-jigged line-up with Alaba playing centre-mid, Muller missing because of a failed covid test, former Stoke City player Choupo-Moting getting a rare start, three academy players on the bench, and the weather – the game was halted after ten minutes so snow could be cleared off all the pitchlines.

You’d still think Bayern would sweep aside a team that has less goals than Lewandowski alone, however Arminia took a surprise lead just before the pitchlines were cleared, Michel Vlap scoring from close range.

Manual Neuer recently got his 200th cleansheet for Bayern and is four away from the club record held by Oliver Kahn. He should easily beat it this season and will go a long way past it, specially with Bayern’s acquisition of Dayot Upamecano.

Would Upamecano have been more alert than the dozy Niklas Sule for Klos’ opening goal? Someone has to make it clear to the German defender he’s potentially playing for his future at the club.

In these conditions a one goal lead was massive, two goals? Insurmountable. And it’s what Arminia got when Amos Pieper got between Sule and Alaba to nod in a corner with under ten to play in the half.

It was the most simple of goals and, as said above, Sule should be concerned. Pieper didn’t even have to touch anyone to get space in the six yard area of Bayern’s box at a corner.

Referee Florian Badstubner again halted the game so the lines could be cleared. It was almost farcical watching the best team in the world play on sludge, with the ball barely rolling and players sliding at every step.

This was a game which required a tactic known very well to Scottish football – the ‘hoof ba’. But how much practice Flick puts into punting the ball forty yards up the park and everyone jumping under it like a rugby lineout is questionable.

Bayern’s best chances were carved open when the ball was launched – a cross to Corentin Tolisso, in for the rested Joshua Kimmich, midway through the half that was smothered by Arminia keeper Stefan Ortega, then a cross-field ball to Choupo-Moting which got past Ortega but stopped stuck in the snow before it reached the goal line.

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Second half: Bayern go 3-1 down then draw level

At the commencement of the second half the snow was gone and the match could return to normal.

You worried for Arminia as Bayern raced out the blocks and both hit the post and reduced the deficit to one within four minutes of the re-start.

The goal came from Lewandowski, a sublime chest control, swivel and shot that should have set the path for the way the game was meant to go, but Arminia weren’t going to play ball – in the metaphorical sense.

Within a minute of Lewandowski scoring, Arminia went up the park and scored themselves, substitute Christian Gebauer tapping in Andreas Voglsammer’s cross.

It was Voglsammer’s first start of the season in a campaign curtailed by injury, however the burly German looked fully fit in the build-up, played on by Davies and beating Bouna Sarr in a footrace to get in a cross.

A game that before kick-off looked like a mere note taking exercise was turning into a classic.

Bayern responded with a simple cross-header link up between Sane and Tolisso, then the World Champions were denied what looked like a pen after Davies went down in the box surrounded by Arminia players.

The lively Voglsammer completely duped substitute Joshua Kimmich on the byline to give himself the freedom of Munich to cross, then moments later Coman had a powerful shot punched away by Ortega.

Arminia coach Uwe Neuhaus rang the changes. Venezuelan forward Sergio Cordova came on for Vlap and was released one-on-one at the angle against Neuer but completely fluffed his cameo, missing the ball entirely when he looked to be trying to lift it over the Bayern keeper.

Bayern eventually equalised through a thumping Davies finish. The Canadian put all of Bayern’s frustrations into Sane’s cross, which somehow evaded everyone and came to the teenager at the back post.

Lewan then missed the opportunity to put Bayern ahead for the first time in the night on 73’. His header into an empty net from six yards with Ortega on the ground was easier to score than miss.

Hanis looked bleary eyed on the touchline. Having just returned from abroad the Bayern boss looked like he needed to get away again. He must have been feeling sick as he waited for VAR to see if Cordova’s strike to put Arminia 4-3 up was to be ruled out for an offside in the build-up. Harshly it was, although Sule looked to be playing Klos level.

Bayern Munich, 4-2-3-1: Neuer (GK) (C) – Davies, Hernandez, Sule, Sarr (->58′) – Alaba, Tolisso – Coman, Sane, Choupo-Moting – Lewandowski
Subs:  Hoffman (GK), Pavard, Kimmich (->58′), Roca, Dantas, Musiala, Sieb, Zaiser

Arminia Bielefeld, 4-5-1: Ortega Moreno (GK) – Pieper, Nilsson, Barrett, Bruner – Doan (->41′), Vlap (->62′), Prietl, Kunze, Voglsammer (->62′) – Klos (C) (->89′)
Subs: Linner (GK), van der Hoorn (->89′), Gebauer (->41′), Okugawa, de Medina, Cordova (->62′), Seufert (->62′), Hartel, Schipplock

Goals: Vlap 9′, Pieper 37′, Lewandowski 49′, Gebauer 50′, Tolisso 57′, Davies 70′

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