After clinching the title in a record-setting amount of time, Bayern Munich has slumped in league play. The finishing in the Champions League semifinal was poor as well. However, the German champions were able to score five goals in a victory over Werder Bremen and reinstate some confidence. Bayern fell behind twice, but were able to equalize and pull away. The goal scoring touch was important to see for Bayern fans, as it has not been there over the last five matches. The biggest takeaway is that coach Pep Guardiola may have figured out his best lineup and tactics ahead of the return match with Real Madrid.
Guardiola combined Bastian Schweinsteiger with Javi Martinez to create a confident midfield pivot point. Thomas Müller started and was always challenging Werder Bremen. Claudio Pizarro made his case to start in midweek by scoring twice and assisting on another goal. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both scored much needed goals. Robben scored just minutes after entering the game.
Possession has been the name of the game, but perhaps Pep has decided to use his players in a different way and told them to be decisive in attack. Although they did concede on a counter attack again, the ability to take a turnover and get it into a dangerous position was something missing in the last month. The lineup and style deployed against Werder Bremen at least gives Real Madrid something to think about before the match at Allainz.
Herta Berlin 2 – Eintracht Braunschweig 0
USMNT center back John Brooks scored the game winning goal for Hertha as they cemented Braunschweig’s place in the bottom three. Hertha had the game in their control from the start, and final stats validate that, as Braunschweig only managed one shot on target. It was Brooks’ goal in the 61st minute off a corner that would secure the victory and keep his team in the middle of the table.
Mainz 2 – Nürnberg 0
Nürnberg joins Braunschweig in being assured a finish in the bottom three. Their matching goal differentials of -28 are worst in the league, which hurts their chances even more. Despite Timmy Chandler being inserted into the lineup for the first time in over a month due to injury, Nürnberg dropped their ninth of the last 10 matches.
Mainz inched closer to a spot in the 2014-15 Europa League, although a win by Augsburg over another relegation candidate, Hamburg, kept them in contention. Shinji Okazaki became the most prolific Japanese player in a single Bundesliga season.
With two matches to play there are still a couple things to decide. The relegation playoff spot will come down to Braunschweig, Hamburg and Nürnberg. It would take a total change of fortunes for Stuttgart to slip back to 16th. There could also be a lot of shuffling in positions three through eight.