Remember those perfect teams in Europe? One of them fell, hard
During the week we some time catching up with the remaining pieces of perfection across Europe’s big leagues. The broad stroke version: Marseille decent; Barcelona very good; Bayern Munich, a little scary.
No surprise, this weekend Bayern was the most impressive of the three. Barcelona also got the job done, but Marseille? They got reacquainted with reality.
Bayern impress in Bremen
Werder Bremen gave their best performance of the season, but it wasn’t enough to dent Bayern. München eventually wore them down, pushing the defense back far enough for Luiz Gustavo to open his left foot on a well-placed, 21-yard shot in the 81st minute. Two minutes later, Bayern ripped Bremen apart, with Mario Mandzukic scoring the winner.
Mid-week, we emphasized Bayern’s depth - how Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery had yet to score a goal. Saturday was another testament to that. Neither Gustavo nor Mandzukic are starters in Jupp Heynckes’s first choice XI.
Barcelona comeback at the Sanchez Pizjuan
Last weekend, Sevilla picked off Real Madrid. Yesterday, they set their sights on Barcelona, carrying a 2-1 lead into the match’s final minutes.
Then, just he did against Spartak Moscow a week-and-a-half before, Lionel Messi turned the match on its head.
In Champions League, Messi scored the goals himself. On Saturday, he set up Cesc Fabregas for an 89th minute equalizer before finding David Villa in the 93rd for the match-winner.
Having fallen behind 2-0 after 48 minutes, Barcelona may have shown themselves more vulnerable than we’re used to, but this was still an important win. With Real Madrid losing the same fixture, Barcelona moves further ahead of their rivals in like matches, having already picked up two points in the teams’ respective home matches against Valencia.
Marseille defense collapses
Marseille conceded one goal in their first six matches. On Sunday, they went into halftime down three, eventually losing 4-1 to Valenciennes.
After a match like that, all you can do is move on.
''We have to put this game to one side and look ahead,’' Marseille head coach Elie Baup told reporters after the game. ''We will have to pull ourselves together, analyze what went wrong in the cold light of day and get back to how we were playing before.”
Or perhaps the way you were playing before was just a phase. Allowing one goal every six matches isn’t realistic, nor is allowing four goals per game. The truth is somewhere in between.