Bayern Munich vs. Hertha Berlin: 6 Things We Learned
It was all three points again for Bayern Munich this weekend with a victory over Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena, yet the win itself didn't come without plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.
Hertha, who are now in fourth position in the Bundesliga, have been this season's surprise package after taking scalp after scalp against some of the league's best sides, and they certainly had a good go at it again against Bayern.
It was Adrian Ramos who opened the scoring on the fourth minute for the visitors. Although Mario Mandzukic was brought on shortly after and subsequently scored two of his own before Mario Gotze made it three, the capital side did manage to pull a goal back through Anis Ben-Hatira in the 58th minute and threatened the champions for a late equaliser on numerous occasions.
Thomas Muller as a Lone Striker (again)
Saturday's thrilling encounter again seemed an astute opportunity for Pep Guardiola to test out his relentless desire to play without a striker. Thomas Muller again played as the sole forward against Hertha Berlin.
In much the same fashion as the other times Muller has played as the Bavarian front man, Bayern looked particularly toothless in the Hertha box, and as we all now know, things may have been a little less comfortable for the champions if Mario Mandzukic hadn't come on and retaken his spot up front.
Hertha Draw First Blood
In a moment of madness that is proving to be a glitch within this Bavarian machine, Bayern yet again conceded an early goal in the Bundesliga, this time to Hertha Berlin and confident striker Adrian Ramos.
The in-form Colombian forward had looked threatening in the open stages of the game and got his goal in only the fourth minute when he managed to peel off Jerome Boateng with a header in an early corner.
Jerome Boateng Looked Sloppy
It would arguably be rather harsh to criticise Jerome Boateng's performance on the basis of his mismanaging of Hertha Berlin's opening goal, so fortunately for us the defender had a stinker that lasted all 90 minutes.
With Dante out injured, the responsibility for a clean, confident defensive performance fell solely on the young German's shoulders as he partnered with Daniel Van Buyten. Yet that display never came, and although Bayern did win the game in the end, Hertha made a very good job of showing the cracks in Pep's back line.
Hertha Deserved a Draw
We don't often see sides come to the Allianz Arena and match Bayern Munich over the case of 90 minutes. Mainz tried it last week and ultimately fell apart under the pressure, yet Hertha Berlin attempted the same and came much, much closer.
Over the course of the game, the recently promoted side managed just as many shots on goal as their hosts and even hit the woodwork, but they ultimately finished with a goal less and not a single point. Leaving one to wonder: Did Bayern deserve all three points?
Mandzukic Makes Instant Impact
Until Mario Mandzukic came on for Bayern, the side were in trouble. Thomas Muller was up front, doing very little. Despite Bayern's continued chances, it was Hertha Berlin and particularly Adrian Ramos who was taking the chances.
Then came the Croat, on for the injured Arjen Robben in the 26th minute. And within three minutes, he had already pulled his side back to level terms. Then 10 minutes after half-time, he did it again. Bayern were now in the lead, and it was entirely down to their star striker.
Bayern Continue Long Tradition over Berlin
Although it wasn't the most prominent display from Bayern Munich, Pep's side did pick up all three points at the end of the day and continued a long tradition of beating Hertha Berlin in Munich.
The poor capital side haven't won in Munich against the Bavarians in over 35 years, and despite their best efforts, it was Bayern who once again came out on top and kept their spot at the top of the Bundesliga table.