Bayern Munich struggling in 10th travelled to the Imtech Arena to take on 5th place Hamburg. Louis van Gaal unable to pick Robben, van Bommel, Klose or Ribery stuck to his 4-2-3-1 formation, Ukrainian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk continued in the centre of defence alongside Holger Badstuber. Danijel Pranjić at left back, Ottl and Altintop in midfield gave the team a patched up look.

Armin Veh playing 4-4-2 with Trochowski in the hole behind the front pairing of Guerrero and van Nistlerooy, the manager was also boosted by the inclusion of Mladen Petric on the bench back from injury the home fans would have been confident in taking on the Munich giants.

After a very sluggish start to the game from both sides Hamburg began to put their foot on the ball. Bayern’s tactic was to play a high defensive line trying to squeeze the game and restrict the time Hamburg’s players had on the ball.

It worked well and they continually won the ball back with ease, the problem being there was no quality to any of Bayern’s passes so the ball was given away far too often and Hamburg continued to heap on the pressure.

Without the ball Bayern’s defence sat very narrow, Lahm and Pranjić tucking inside to protect the makeshift central partnership, Collin Benjamin and Marcell Jansen used this to their advantage, constantly finding plenty of space to get forward they both saw lots of the ball early on.

The first chance of the game inevitibley came from a Bayern defensive area, Tymoschuk got himself in a muddle and was caught underneath a cross, Lahm couldn’t react, the ball fell to Paolo Guerrero and luckily for the Ukrainian his shot fizzed wide of the post.

Seeing this close call seemed to wake up Bayern’s midfield and for the first time they got on the front foot and a few minutes of pressure followed, Thomas Müller going close with a powerful shot, deflected over the bar but no corner was given.

Hamburg then gave themselves a little break from pressuring the ball high up the pitch allowing Bayern more time on the ball, Schweinsteiger and Kroos trying to pull the strings, Pranjić and Lahm finding some space to advance up the pitch, unfortunately Schweinsteiger was receiving the ball far too deep in the midfield to cause any damage in Hamburg’s defence, Armin Veh’s men looked very comfortable.

Mario Gómez cast a lonely shadow upfront lacking any support or service it was a frustrating night for last weeks hat-trick hero, without the ball everyone but Gómez worked to bet behind the ball, once in possession the midfield couldn’t close the gap from the striker and most moves petered out.

Bayern’s best chance of the first half came from a fast break after a tidy move Toni Kroos really should have put Hamit Altintop in on goal, the man with the best cheekbones in football was furious with the young German when the shot sailed over the bar.

Very few clear cut chances in the first half, Bayern’s tactics limited Hamburg’s space Piotr Trochowski touches could have been counted on one hand, the most excitement was when Franck Rost had to come off after a Schweinsteiger challenge, Czech Jaroslav Drobny took his place in net just before the Half Time whistle.

Louis van Gaal must have had a stern word for his team at the interval as they came out in the Second Half was a full tank of gas, closing the ball down all over the pitch and not giving Hamburg any space at all, however it is not good enough to only limit your opponents you need to show some attacking ambition.

Glimpses of Thomas Müller’s talents and the driving runs of Schweinsteiger at times breathed life into the Bayern attack but it was ineffective as a Wayne Rooney apology and Hamburg had enough to resist the attacks.

Substitutions were made and Armin Veh choose to freshen up the front line, Mladen Petric and Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Guerrero and van Nistlerooy, it made an instant impact, the more mobile Moting was able to close down the Bayern defence faster, his runs made space for Jonathan Pitroipa to ghost through the centre of Bayern’s defence.

The movement of Petric, Moting and Pitroipa upset a tired fragile Bayern defence and with Trochowski becoming more influential the smart money would have been on a Hamburg goal. Schweinsteiger tried another of his trademark runs but lost the ball cheaply, Petric had dropped into that space, with time and space on the ball he released Pitroipa with a perfectly weighted pass, clear through on goal the Burkina Faso midfielder’s shot beat Butt but couldn’t beat the post, wheeling away to celebrate Pitroipa could only watch his shot crash off the woodwork.

In the end both teams struggled to create many chances, Bayern fans may have questioned why van Gaal didn’t try something else, the like for like change Gómez for Olic didn’t add anything to the game, bringing Olic on for Kroos for the last 15 minutes could have helped Bayern’s cause, van Gaal’s hands were pretty much tied by the lack of options available to him.

Armin Veh will see this as two points dropped, his team played well in patches, with the amount of possession Hamburg had they should have created many more chances, and that’s what will worry Veh the most.

 FINAL SCORE: Hamburg 0 Bayern Munich 0

Hamburg v Bayern Munich – Tactical Extra

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