Twitter Reacts as Rampant Bayern Munich Cruise to Victory Over Hapless Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich went four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday, as they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 at the Allianz Arena.

Of all the players to draw first blood for the hosts, it was Leon Goretzka who put Bayern ahead. A nicely worked move found the German with far too much space, and he struck his shot beautifully into the back of the net with power and precision, giving Die Roten a quickfire advantage.

Thomas Müller sooned double Die Roten’s lead, with what was a composed finish. A delightful ball in from Alphonso Davies fell right to the 30-year-old, who stayed calm in front of goal, turned and struck it into the back of the net to give the hosts a two-goal lead.

Robert Lewandowski finally got in on the action after the break, needing less than a minute of the second half to score his 41st goal of the season in all competitions. It was a simple header past Kevin Trapp for the Polish marksman, who seemed to wrap up the win for Bayern.

But just as Bayern got comfortable, Martin Hinteregger scored a goal seemingly out of nothing. It was nothing but a mere consolation for Die Adler…or so it seemed…

Hinteregger then scored his second of the evening with a nicely taken header. Could the comeback be on for the visitors?

Whatever would happen, Bayern had to wake up and pick up the pace again, and quickly.

Frankfurt’s determined comeback was brought to an abrupt and embarrassing halt, when Davies capitalised on some woeful defending to simply pass the ball past Trapp in goal. All of Frankfurt’s hard work had been undone in shocking style – 4-2 Bayern.

Bayern finally wrapped up the three points, in ironic style thanks to an own goal from Hinteregger. The Austrian got his feet mixed up, practically knocking the ball into his own net. Die Roten had finally killed off Frankfurt, securing the win and moving four points clear as the Meisterschaft race continues.

On Tuesday, Bayern make the trip to the Signal Iduna Park to face Borussia Dortmund, in another blockbuster edition of Der Klassiker. Meanwhile, Freiburg are the next challenge for Frankfurt, when they meet back at the Commerzbank-Arena.

For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!


How the Next Three Years at Bayern Could Define Manuel Neuer’s Legacy

Bayern Munich sealed a good piece of business earlier this week, extending captain Manuel Neuer’s contract until 2023. The new deal will see the German goalkeeper stretch his Bayern career to 12 years, after joining Die Roten in 2011.

Neuer has long been one of the finest goalkeepers in world football, renowned for his (at one point) unique style of play in between the sticks. The 34-year-old has won it all with Bayern and Germany, reaching the pinnacle of the game with the silverware he has won en route to the top.

Quite simply, Neuer is one of the best goalkeepers of the modern generation.

His new contract extension should come at no real surprise, given his status and record at Bayern. Neuer has played 374 times for Die Roten and won 18 trophies, an incredible haul in a period of remarkable dominance from Bayern. He revolutionised the ‘sweeper keeper’ role, taking unbelievable risks at glorious expense out of his box.

Manuel Neuer with the World Cup trophy in 2014.

Neuer was at the prime of his career during the previous decade, peaking when he helped Germany to their fourth World Cup in 2014 – their historic first as a reunified nation. Those few years before and after the World Cup victory were the finest of his career, where he was unstoppable for club and country.

But however hard it is to admit, Neuer is not the player he used to be.

He still remains one of the top goalkeepers in the game, but the German’s age – and a long-term foot injury – are beginning to get the better of him. He didn’t seem himself at the 2018 World Cup, where Germany crashed out at the group stage to continue the dreaded champions’ curse. Among a number of Die Mannschaft’s big names, Neuer was one who underperformed.

Four goals conceded in the three group stage games was problematic, equalling their tally from the entirety of the 2014 tournament. The final goal summed up Neuer’s decline from his once stunning peak, when he lost the ball in the final third on a classic sweeper keeper run, giving Son Heung-min an open goal to rubber-stamp Germany’s exit from the tournament.

Manuel Neuer in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Neuer’s status in his homeland and at the Allianz Arena cannot be disputed, but his legacy could be tarnished.

Seven straight Bundesliga titles prove that he is still good enough to be Bayern’s number one, able to play week in week out in one of the best leagues in the world. But for the man who was indisputably the best goalkeeper in the German league for years, he has dropped down in many critics’ rankings of the Bundesliga’s best shot-stoppers.

While he leads the way with 11 clean sheets in 26 league appearances, Neuer is rarely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the league anymore. Younger talents such as Yann Sommer, Péter Gulácsi and incoming Bayern arrival Alexander Nübel are the ones earning the most plaudits, at the expense of Germany’s number one.

With 26 goals conceded in the Bundesliga this season, Neuer has never conceded more in one league campaign since arriving at Bayern. Only his early days as Schalke see a greater tally, with his last two seasons at Bayern seeing a significant increase in the number of goals he is letting in.

Neuer in action for FC Bayern München against FC Augsburg.

Neuer is definitely past his prime, and if current numbers are anything to go by, it may be the case that his performance quality continues to decrease over the next three years. The extension was a risk but an inevitable decision, with the goalkeeper more than content with the German champions.

The German will be 37 by the time his current contract expires, possibly the perfect time to hang up his gloves on an illustrious career. But these next three years could prove costly for Neuer, as we begin to see more and more of the mistakes and errors that we would never have dreamed of before slipping into his game.

Other top European clubs have experienced the same problem with long-serving goalkeepers, as club legends begin to show signs of truly passing their prime before being ousted to the sidelines.

Iker Casillas at Real Madrid is a proven example, when he lost his number one spot to Diego López following an injury before eventually leaving for Porto in 2015. Petr ?ech experienced something similar at Chelsea when Thibaut Courtois was recalled from Atletico Madrid, leaving for Arsenal after one year on the bench.

Iker Casillas on the bench for Real Madrid CF.

A lacklustre three years for Neuer could be costly, providing the risk of potentially tarnishing his Bayern legacy as he is pushed out of favour. Nübel is his likely successor after he was signed from Schalke, but the transition from one German goalkeeper to another could come sooner than the end of Neuer’s contract.

Is Neuer’s legacy at risk? Possibly. But will it ruin it? Absolutely not.

Passing the peak of your career is something every footballer one will experience, something that is even harder for the very best in the game. Neuer will continue to make more and more mistakes, but that is the reality of being a player. It is the reality of getting older, one which the 34-year-old already understands.

Neuer celebrates with FC Bayern München.

Neuer will bow out in style at the end of his career, and when he does, he won’t be remembered for the final few years. He’ll be remembered for his sweeper keeper heroics, his unbelievable shotstopping and his memorable performances in between the sticks, ones that earned him praise as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the game.

For all his newfound errors and decline in quality, Neuer remains a superb goalkeeper who has won it all. A World Cup with Germany, A Champions League with Bayern and 17 other major honours say all you need to know about the German number one: he is one of the finest of his generation.

For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!


5 Tasty Subplots to Watch Out for in the Bundesliga This Weekend

After its long-awaited return to action last week, the Bundesliga is back for more action this weekend. Matchday 26 saw some cracking games to mark the return of the game, including a Revierderby romp, Bayern Munich returning to winning ways and more.

With all 18 teams now returning to the pitch, the formalities are over as the battles across the table resume. It’s set to be another big weekend with some noteworthy clashes, though there are a few smaller stories which will resume this week.

Ahead of Matchday 27, 90min looks at some of the subplots to look out for this weekend in the Bundesliga.

Erling Haaland’s Rise Up the Goalscoring Charts

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.

To say that Erling Haaland has been on fire this season doesn’t give him anywhere near the credit he deserves. The Borussia Dortmund striker has flourished since joining this year, continuing his fine form by opening the scoring in their 4-0 win over Schalke last Saturday.

Haaland’s strike in the Revierderby was his 13th goal in 12 appearances for BVB, as he reached double figures in the league alone with ten. The Norwegian currently sits joint 11th in the league goalscoring charts, though could rise again with a good performance this weekend.

His next goal would take him to joint fifth in the charts. In fact, a brace on Saturday would take him to joint fourth, and a crazy four goals would make him the league’s joint third top scorer. Would that be impossible? Not for Haaland.

Bayern Aim to Equal This Season’s Longest Winning Run

FC Bayern München celebrate scoring against Union Berlin.

League leaders Bayern Munich had to hit the ground running, and did exactly that with a routine 2-0 win at Union Berlin. Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Benjamin Pavard sent Die Roten four points clear at the top, though the job is far from finished.

The win in the German capital was Bayern’s fifth consecutive Bundesliga victory this season, with an incredible 11 in their last 12 league games. Although the priority is of course to retain the Meisterschaft, FCB could equal a season record with a win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

If Bayern beat Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena for their sixth consecutive win, it will equal this season’s longest winning run, currently held jointly by themselves and title challengers RB Leipzig. Bayern could make it a record seven midweek, but it won’t be easy in Der Klassiker against Dortmund.

Christoph Kramer Faces Former Outfit

Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Christoph Kramer playing for Bayer Leverkusen.

Borussia Mönchengladbach host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, as third meets fifth in a crucial clash at the top of the table. It will be a vital game for both sides at the Borussia-Park, though it will hold a slightly different meaning for one player in particular.

Christoph Kramer of Mönchengladbach prepares to face his former side once again, a club he spent a long time at before signing for Die Fohlen. The German spent eight years with Leverkusen, rising through the ranks up to the first team before leaving in 2016.

This season, Kramer has made 20 appearances for Marco Rose’s side, who sit six points off the top. He will be eager to complete the double over his former club this weekend, after playing the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win in the reverse fixture last November.

Wolfsburg Look to Make it Eight Unbeaten

VfL Wolfsburg celebrate a goal.

Wolfsburg have been one of the surprise packages of the season, as they sit sixth in the table in contention for a European spot. Oliver Glasner’s squad have put in some excellent performances throughout the campaign, and will hope for another one when they host Dortmund.

Die Wölfe are currently unbeaten in their last seven Bundesliga fixtures, and will be aiming to make that eight with the visit of the Schwarzgelben. It would see them close in on equalling their nine-game unbeaten run from the start of the season, which was ended by Dortmund in a 3-0 defeat.

The hosts aren’t far off their own Bundesliga record for most games unbeaten, which they will surely have in sight. Wolfsburg went 11 games unbeaten between November 2014 and March 2015, and will hope to take a step closer to that on Saturday.

Achim Beierlorzer Hosts Former Employers

FSV Mainz 05 manager Achim Beierlorzer.

Title contenders RB Leipzig travel to Mainz on Sunday, with both sides drawing their last games against Freiburg and Köln respectively. There will be a reunion at the OPEL Arena, as Mainz manager Achim Beierlorzer welcomes back former side RB.

Beierlorzer only joined Mainz last November, but will meet Die Roten Bullen again in this weekend’s clash. The German manager became Leipzig’s interim manager in 2015, moving up from the Under-17 side to take over from the recently resigned Alexander Zorniger.

He went on to become assistant manager under Ralf Rangnick, before moving on to be the manager for German second tier side Jahn Regensburg. Now at Mainz, Beierlorzer will be hoping for a successful rendezvous with his former employers when they clash this weekend.

For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!


Hansi Flick Admits Thiago Injury Worry Ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt & Borussia Dortmund Clashes

Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick has revealed Thiago Alcantara is a doubt for this weekend’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt, and could miss their clash with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Thiago played the full 90 minutes last weekend as Bayern eased past Union Berlin with a 2-0 victory to remain top of the Bundesliga, but is dealing with a muscular injury ahead of Der Klassiker.

Before Bayern head to Dortmund to face their title rivals, they host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, but will have one eye on Tuesday’s clash.

1. FC Union Berlin v FC Bayern Muenchen – Bundesliga

Speaking in his pre-match press conference as quoted by Goal ahead of the Bundesliga’s weekend of fixtures, Flick cast doubt over Thiago’s availability, revealing: “With Serge [Gnabry], it looks good. With Thiago, we have to wait. We hope that we have both with us.”

The 29-year-old has missed training with the injury, which leaves Bayern without a key member of their midfield in a time when every point matters. Gnabry also suffered a training injury early in the week, but is once again available after recovering.

Bayern have a list of pre-existing long-term injuries to a number of players, but Flick noted that there were no updates, confirming it’s “the same as last week”.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v FC Bayern Muenchen – Bundesliga

Philippe Coutinho and Corentin Tolisso remain unavailable with injuries and defender Niklas Sule is still rehabbing a knee injury suffered in October, but hopes to be back on the pitch before the end of the season.

Flick added: “Niklas has expressed the wish to play this season. We have to see how stability in the knee allows.”

Thiago has been key for Bayern once again this campaign, making 33 appearances in all competitions as he continues to cement his reputation as one of the best midfielders in Europe.

FC Schalke 04 v FC Bayern Muenchen – DFB Cup

Bayern will hope the Spaniard can recover over the weekend and be available for Tuesday’s clash with Dortmund. Flick’s side are currently top of the league on 58 points, but Dortmund sit in second on 54 and will use last weekend’s derby thrashing of Schalke as inspiration.

A win for Lucien Favre’s side would put Bayern under supreme pressure, as the Bundesliga title race looks to go down to the wire.


Ranking Every Remaining Champions League Team’s Chances of Winning the Competition

It feel likes a couple of decades have passed since Liverpool pushed as hard as they could, only to fall to Atlético Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 in March. Alright, maybe not decades, but it certainly feels an awfully long time ago. Because it is. Over two months have passed.

Once football is back in a more complete form than just the Bundesliga, the UCL needs to reach a conclusion – a conclusion that will see one of the 12 teams still active lift club football’s most iconic trophy.

Unsure who will win? Don’t worry, so is everyone else. But here we’ve ranked the teams from least to most likely to get their hands on the trophy in Istanbul.

12 – Chelsea

12th and therefore last…and we all know why. Chelsea are not the worst side left in the Champions League this season. But it’s their 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg that has hacked their chances of repeating their 2012 feat into a million pieces.

London had only just dusted itself off after the visiting Serge Gnabry smashed four emphatic strikes past Tottenham during a 7-2 mauling back in October. Then, in late February, he returned to put two past Frank Lampard’s side.

It’s an uphill task from here. Think of the miracle of Munich in 2012. Now multiply it by five. Yeah. Unlikely.

Likelihood of Winning: 1/10

11 – Napoli

A draw in the first leg with Barcelona was by no means the worst result for Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli. But Antoine Griezmann’s all-important away goal gave Barça a foothold in the tie.

José Callejón, Fabián Ruiz and Dries Mertens show the club have a more-than-capable set of players. But will they prove they have enough to fend off competition from Europe’s elite of the elite? Perhaps not.

Likelihood of Winning: 3/10

10 – Lyon

With Ligue 1 already brought to a premature close, Lyon’s club president Jean-Michel Aulas said a couple of weeks ago that he expects PSG and his own side Lyon to be “massacred” in their Champions League ties if they face opponents whose league seasons have resumed.

Lyon are one up on Juventus after the first leg at Stade de Lyon. But this might be the last chance for Lyon to win major silverware before Memphis Depay makes his way to bigger and better things. Will all this pressure tell in the end? Yes, it probably will. A lack of real squad depth won’t help either.

Likelihood of Winning: 3/10

9 – Atalanta

It’s been a long time since the Champions League saw a competition debutant take to the big time quite as well as Atalanta have this season.

Hammering Valencia to reach the quarter-finals might have been a little surprising, but scoring eight goals across both legs was pretty in keeping with their season. This is a team that score at a scary rate. Take their modest past for granted at your peril.

Likelihood of Winning: 4/10

8 – Juventus

They may well be strong favourites in that second leg against Lyon, but they do find themselves 1-0 down in the tie. Cristiano Ronaldo can haul a team through a Champions League knockout round almost singlehandedly, but have you seen his free kicks since swapping La Liga for Serie A?

You should never write off the Old Lady. But this is a very Old Lady indeed.

Likelihood of Winning: 4/10

7 – RB Leipzig

Tottenham really haven’t enjoyed facing German sides this season, and they know better than anyone that RB Leipzig are well and truly through to the quarter-finals where, famously, anything can happen. Any team that can bulldoze last year’s losing finalists 4-0 on aggregate are a team to keep your eyes on.

Yes, Leipzig are more than just the team Timo Werner plays for, but he is the main man, the focal point, and he would need to be on top form to catapult his side to a first ever European title.

Likelihood of Winning: 5/10

6 – Real Madrid

And now we get to the top six sides, of which anyone could quite conceivably put together a string of strong performances and win the tournament. Real are perhaps the least likely, with an unsettled squad, hap-Hazard form and a golfing Gareth Bale.

What helps Zinedine Zidane and his star-studded side is their clear pedigree. Getting through big matches is an art, and no team has a better history in that than Real Madrid.

Likelihood of Winning: 6/10

5 – Atlético Madrid

Diego Simeone’s team would have ranked lower than their bitter rivals, but in knocking out holders Liverpool they breathed new life into park-the-bus counterattacking football. And he’s unabashed about adopting that style too. If Simeone could get his hands on the Champions League trophy playing dark-arts football, he’d be in heaven.

Stranger things have happened, but conservative football can only get you so far.

Likelihood of Winning: 6/10

4 – Barcelona

Similar to Real Madrid’s form, Lionel Messi spoke out recently, admitting he feels his Barcelona side are too inconsistent to win the Champions League at the present moment. Perhaps he’s being a little extreme – the Catalan club do occupy top spot in La Liga and are hot favourites to dump Napoli out and progress at their expense.

Then again, is this side anything like as strong as Pep Guardiola’s Barça that hoovered up all in their wake on the way to a Wembley triumph in 2011? No. It remains to be seen if this side will sink or swim.

Likelihood of Winning: 6/10

3 – Manchester City

From Guardiola’s first team to his current one. The Catalonian manager is fully aware the Premier League title race was over a long, long time ago. The only things to work towards for now are the FA Cup and the one City, their fans and their owners all so desperately want, the Champions League.

An away win at the Bernabéu in the round of 16 first leg showed real impetus from the Citizens. Could this be their year? One thing’s for sure – their irresistible rivalry with Liverpool won’t resurface in Europe this season, so it might just be.

Likelihood of Winning: 7/10

2 – Paris Saint-Germain

The togetherness with which Neymar and co. put Erling Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund to bed in that second leg showed ethos at PSG the like of which we haven’t seen before.

Long hated in the football world and accused of trying to buy the Champions League, PSG’s individualistic and often selfish star players finally seem to be singing to the same song sheet.

Edinson Cavani. Neymar. Kylian Mbappé. Mauro Icardi. Pablo Sarabia. Thiago Silva. Keylor Navas. Ángel Di María. If Thomas Tuchel’s side finally get it right this season, they’ll blow everyone out the water and win the Champions League. But it’s a big ‘if’.

Likelihood of Winning: 7/10

1 – Bayern Munich

So dominant this season, and particularly in UEFA’s flagship club competition, Bayern have shown in the tournament so far just how rampant their attack can be when it’s firing on all cylinders.

Robert Lewandowski has already notched 11 in the UCL this term, and his side have scored a phenomenal 27 goals in their first seven games in the tournament. Although they are top, the Bundesliga table is tight. In the Champions League though, Bayern have looked stronger than anyone else.

A first European title since 2013 is theirs to lose.

Likelihood of Winning: 8/10