Thursday, September 29, 2011


photo by TalAtlasvia PhotoRee

Correspondent Ed has returned from celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, during which time he also managed to file this report:
Bayern Munich is a heavy blunt instrument made of steel which has at its front a menacing pike, and that pike is Franck Ribery.  After enduring – or perhaps permitting -- Manchester City to frolic about for the first 15 minutes of their Champions League match on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena in Munchen, the heavy gears of Bayern churned into motion and slowly and cruelly ground one of the EPL’s most feared teams into a wailing and bickering hoard.
Throughout the match, Bayern controlled the center of the pitch, and relentlessly beat back any attacks that came from the seemingly talented front line of City.  While David Silva still shone above the rest, Kun Aguero was a never a factor, routinely flicked aside by the larger and faster defenders of Bayern.   For some time Gareth Barry was able to hold his own, but ultimately his resistance proved futile.  And Ribery controlled the left side of the pitch, beating City’s defenders with quickness and bullying them unmercifully.  In one challenge for a 50/50 ball, City’s Kolo Toure found himself scrambling to find his legs as he stared in shock at the scarred face of his French tormentor. 
It is no surprise that neither of Bayern’s goals were things of beauty, but rather the result of naked force.  The first goal began when Ribery beat his defender and hit a low hard ball from the top of the box that Hart could only parry.  The rebound was hammered again at point blank range but a courageous Hart was able to hold firm.  But it was the third blow from Bayern’s Mario Gomez that finally beat Hart into submission and ripped into the back of the net.
After the goal, City became more desperate and worked even harder in attack.  But this work only tired them, and Bayern were able to enjoy an increasing number of opportunities off breaks.  Finally, in stoppage time at the end of the first half, another shot off a free kick by Ribery again put Hart to the ground, and Mario Gomez again bludgeoned home the rebound. 
Perhaps it was shock at first, but eventually City’s very foundations started to crack.  In the second half City ceded full control of the game to the powerful German side.  Not only was the defensive wall of Bayern intact -- a wall that has allowed only a single goal this year in all competitions -- but Bayern now enjoyed what seemed like full possession.  There were times when Ribery would receive a pass and simply stand on the ball, watching City defenders back away, exhausted and humiliated.
And as the hammer fell again and again without mercy, the fissures in City’s ambitious but new squad began to heave and crumble.  Ultimately, City is a new team held together only by personal ambition and cash.  Thus, when Edin Dzeko was pulled from the game in favor of Nigel De Jong’s  defense, he sputtered and screamed at Roberto Mancini.  And when Carlos Tevez was called on by Roberto Mancini he simply refused, asking his Manager instead “por que?”, and effectively ending his career at City and in Europe, as well. 

In the end, there would be and could be no counter punch from City, only the gnashing of Bayern’s gears and the wailing of the damned.  Now City lays flattened and smeared across the Allianz pitch.  Alone.  Broken.
This is farlieonfootie for September 29.

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