On a frigid Saturday in Bavaria, FC Bayern Munich were held by the scrappy play of Hertha BSC to a scoreless draw at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which 75,000 fan saw.
Bayern held the majority of the ball throughout the match and had several excellent chances, but the resilience and structured defense from Hertha gave Bayern many troubles.
“Despite the tie, we showed a committed performance, but we did not take advantage of our chances to score and still will, against a team that made as smart as Hertha,” Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes said after the match.
The point puts Bayern at 60 points total, still tops on the Bungesliga to end February and 20 points above second place Borussia Dortmund. Hertha is in a battle in the middle of the table at 31 points, 11th in the table, but five points separate 7 through 13th in the table.
“It looks different when you take the lead 1-0, we can also live with the point,” Heynckes added. “There are such days in football that have to you also accept it.”
It was Bayern’s first match since dismantling Turkish side Besiktas 5-0 during the midweek Champions League Round of 16. It was significant that Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were named to the starting 11 and played a considerate time on the pitch, part of the Bayern manager’s plan that saw five changes from the earlier match.
FC Bayern controlled the first half and dominated with seven corners to Berlin’s one. Hertha BSC’s plan seemed to give the Bayern forwards a tough time and they did not have an easy time attacking with the ball. Bayern forward and leading Bundesliga scorer Robert Lewandowski found himself in a physical match, being brought to the ground several times.
As for Hertha, it was not only a point, but it was significant nonethless.
“Our goal was to come here and defend well,” Hertha Berlin’s Salomon Kalou said of the strategy. “Everything is open, we have a good point today against a big club. Now when we play at home against a side not as big as Bayern, we have the confidence to go forward.”
Next weekend the Blue and White welcome Shalke, who occupy the sixth spot on the table, to Berlin. Bayern travel to Freiberg for their next Bundesliga match.