Germany: Bundesliga
1 - 4
(0 - 0)
FC Bayern
N. Petersen (63)
L. Goretzka (58), S. Gnabry (73), K. Coman (82), M. Sabitzer (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 Kickoffs: Bayern win big in Freiburg, Asano helps Bochum upset Hoffenheim

Julian Nagelsmann's record champions shook off a strong challenge by SC Freiburg and eventually pulled off a 4-1 victory in the highest-scoring match of the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs. 

The big surprise in the set of five simultaneous fixtures came in Sinsheim. Sebastian Hoeneß' Hoffenheim dropped valuable points in their quest for the Champions' League with a defeat to visiting Bochum. 
In the very first match to be played before a full crowd at Freiburg's new Europa Park Stadion, the surprise side of the 2021/22 German Bundesliga ultimately couldn't hold off the Bayern juggernaut. Three goals in the final 20 minutes enabled FC Bayern München to defeat SC Frieburg 4-1.

Julian Nagelsmann made two changes to the XI that cruised past 1. FC Union Berlin in the final round before the international break. German national team midfielder Leon Goretzka finally made his long-awaited comeback, meaning that Jamal Musiala had to make way in midfield. Benjamin Pavard--back from a COVID-enforced absence--was also back to take Josip Stanisic's place at right back. The German giants lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with national team partners Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich working a noticeable split-stagger in midfield.

Christian Streich also made two changes to the XI utilized just prior to the international break. Philipp Lienhart and Nicolas Höfler replaced Ermedin Demirovic and Janik Haberer. These two more defensive-minded personnel changes obviously heralded a major tactical shift. Streich lined up his men in what almost looked like a 5-2-2-1. Roland Sallai surprisingly worked as the lead striker. Wingbacks Jonathan Schmid and Christian Günter didn't appear to have much license to roam forward.

Both sides struggled to find their footing on what was an unseasonably cold day in southern Germany. Light snow fell on the Breisgauer pitch. Passing and ball control suffered. Nagelsmann's charges pressed high into the Freiburg half, yet weren't able to achieve much beyond a sloppy pinprick here and there. Steich's wingbacks, meanwhile, formed what appeared to be a back-seven at times. The game-plan of the SCF trainer clearly revolved around keeping as many bodies back as possible.

Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sané attempted to punch through on the wings. The speedy flankers were frequently rebuffed. Freiburg managed a couple of half-chances on the counter before the half-hour-mark hit. Unable to pick the SCF locks, Bayern's play eventually became very static. Center backs Tanguy Nianzou and Dayot Upamecano found themselves with no one to play the ball to on carries. The first half concluded with a whimper. A few blocked shots from the FCB, but not much else.

Matters didn't exactly pick up immediately after the restart. The Bavarians again managed some penetration. All the Freiburg bodies remained on hand to ensure that plays into the box didn't reach keeper Mark Flekken. The breakthrough finally came on a set-piece in the 58th. Fittingly enough, the goal was a co-production of the newly reunified German national team midfielders. Goretzka finished off a Kimmich free-kick for the 1-0. The recently lauded net-minder Flekken could have still done much better on the play.

Streich brought on a true striker (and German football's most successful "super-sub") in the 62nd. In a flash, Nils Petersen had done his "super sub" thing and drawn the home side level. After some nice set-up work from Günter and Lucas Höler, Petersen finished from just inside the 18 some 17 seconds after entering the contest. It was the recently re-signed club man's 100th competitive goal in Freiburg colors.

The next ten minutes proved very intense and physical. The deadlocked teams contested every last duel with every last ounce of strength. Bayern re-took the lead in the 73rd with their own player who had just been introduced into the match. Less than a minute after being subbed on, Serge Gnabry dusted off a Lucas Hernandez cross after a quick throw-in in the 73rd. This time Nico Schlotterbeck was at fault for misjudging the service.

Nine minutes after that, the Bavarian guests had their decisive goal. Kingsley Coman did well to shake off Manuel Gulde in the 82nd and supplied a nice long-range hit from approximately 18 meters out. The 3-1 effectively ended the contest. One would nevertheless have to say that, just as was the case on the first Bayern goal, Flekken wasn't at his strongest.

Eight minutes of stoppage time only enabled Bayern to add a fourth goal. Sané, Gnabry, and Thomas Müller all fought hard to keep a deep attack alive at 90+6. The sequence ended in Gnabry setting up fellow substitute Marcel Sabitzer for the 4-1 shortly before the final whistle.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, VfL Bochum were able to achieve a big upset in their first league match since being forced to forfeit a 0-2 to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Bochum bested Hoffenheim 2-1.

German national team star David Raum scored for the hosting Kraichgauer, but a Takuma Asano brace ensured that the 1848ers left the PreZero Arena with all three points. Japanese international Asano in fact came close to scoring a hat trick.

In a battle of direct relegation rivals Stuttgart and Bielefeld split the difference 1-1 at the Alm. The visiting Swabians squandered the lion's share of the scoring chances in the match and, as a result, remain just one point above Bielefeld in the relegation playoff place.

VfB trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo will be most displeased with the final outcome. The same applies Eintracht Frankfurt head-coach Oliver Glasner.

The Hesseners were unable to look particularly menacing in what many considered a important "warm up match" for Barcelona in the UEL. The SGE drew last-placed Fürth 0-0 at Deutsche Bank Park.

There were three goals in Leverkusen as Germany's red company team defeated visiting Hertha BSC 2-1. All three tallies nevertheless came in a late flurry during the final ten minutes of the first-half. Otherwise, the contest wasn't especially entertaining.

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