Disappointing draw doesn't spoil strong 1st half

Posted by Susie Schaaf

It is amazingly difficult to write about football in light of the horrific tragedy in Connecticut Friday. Indeed, I could not find much enthusiasm for the match, Bayern Munich's 1-1 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Plays that would normally elicit yelps and screams from me - making my pets run for cover - were only duly noted on my legal pad. Football is everything to me, but sometimes life gets in the way. My heart is breaking for the loved ones of those killed so needlessly. I ask readers to take a moment to remember the victims and their families. . . .

In Munich, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the Foals' hero, with 10 saves against a Bayern side that dominated large swaths of 90 minutes. An iffy penalty awarded to 'Gladbach would see Thorsten Marx fire past Manuel Neuer, while Xherdan Shaqiri would shoot the equalizer after his inclusion when Javi Martinez had his bell rung.

Bayern goes in to the winter break with a league record of 13 wins, three draws and one loss. Up 12 points on second-place Bayer Leverkusen, and 15 clear of Borussia Dortmund, they'll have to wait for the rest of the weekend's fixtures to know where they stand heading in to the winter break. One match is left this year - a DFB Pokal tie at Augsburg Tuesday.

I had remarked Moenchengladbach's weak spot was their defense. But considering the offensive onslaught they faced, they did a pretty good job overall - most notably with Bayern's holding midfielders, marking Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Javi Martinez out of most of the match.

But the star was certainly ter Stegen. It was a once-in-a-lifetime match for the young German international. Which leads me to the question: Why do goalkeepers always have the match of their lives against Bayern Munich?

I almost expected Mario Gomez to score immediately after he was subbed for Mario Mandzukic (and what has happened to him?). Unfortunately it would not be the case, and not the best day for either not-so-super Mario. Claudio Pizarro, coming in for Thomas Mueller, would also disappoint as Jupp Heynckes tried a 4-4-2 formation, forcing the opposition into a different look.

While Bayern received flattering calls against Augsburg, things did not go the way of the home side Friday. Jerome Boateng was the victim of an iffy handball call in the box = caught mid-air, twisting away from a cross by Tolga Cigerci. Minutes later, referee Tobias Welz denied Mueller a clear penalty, and might have gotten it wrong later in the match as Gomez was tackled from behind in the box. The linesman also wrongly flagged Franck Ribery offsides, with no one in front of the Frenchman but ter Stegen. Eh, he probably would have saved it anyway. . . .

While it wasn't the end of the Hinrunde the 71,000 in the Allianz were hoping for, it still was a decent first half of the season. And with Arjen Robben and Luis Gustavo back in the squad after the break, It can only get better. I already can't wait for the Rueckrunde. Auf gehts!

Odds and ends:

Anyone catch Shaqiri's tags still on his kit? The young people call that "swag", don't they?

Dante. Dante. Dante. Fantastisch performance! Now if one of those headers would've gone in . . . .

Any reason why the Gladbach away support did not uphold the 12:12? Poorly done. I thought everyone was in this together?

Another "Neuer moment" from our beloved 'keeper. And Dante would save his rear.

Looking at the stats, the most telling one being Gladbach with four corners to Bayern's 14. Three points were deserved.

Anything you want to hear about over the winter break? Shoot me an email at susie.schaaf@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @fussballsusie

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