The football world would now think a little differently about FC Bayern if Moussa Diaby had been able to bring all his senses and strength together one last time shortly before the onset of stoppage time. Then he might not only have managed to run at lightning speed along the right outer line and somehow get the ball sharp in front of the Munich goal. Then he might have managed to hold his head up, see fellow player Lucas Alario and coordinate the flank on him. Header, goal, 2-1 for Bayer 04 – that’s how it could have ended.
But it turned out just as the world knows and expects from FC Bayern. The master of all classes in the current calendar year spoke the last word in 2020 by commissioning his sniper with the winning goal at the very last minute: World footballer Robert Lewandowski did not hesitate after receiving the quick, short pass from a certain Joshua Kimmich. He pulled away and shot, and when the ball hit the leg of defender Edmond Tapsoba, wishes and curses were both fulfilled in the adjoining living rooms: Some cheered because Tapsoba’s leg deflected the shot decisively, others shouted “Dusel Bayern” and other curses – as usual, the camps were divided into friends and foes.
For those involved, however, this gate was something special. Not because the usurpers from Leverkusen were defeated 2-1 and had to give up their first place in the table, but because this late goal was so characteristic of the most extraordinary year. In this last scene, the whole being and essence of FC Bayern was concentrated: Even in the final minute, going back and forth, looking for the last remainder of the chance, forcing victory and so on – the whole catalog of the Munich commandments.
So the jubilation looked special. The bank crew hopped around each other in wild ecstasy, Manuel Neuer put down a 50-meter sprint to take part in the party. After the final whistle, at least 40 players and supervisors simultaneously voted so loud Jaaaaaaaaa !!!! suggested that it sounded almost obscene. Bayern was last seen so happy after defeating Paris in the Champions League final in August. Hansi Flick even became pathetic: “We trainers enjoy working with this team so much that I am simply grateful for every day and every hour.”
But what would the rest of the world have said if Alario had scored for Bayer instead of Lewandowski for Bayern? The first-placed Leverkusen would then have had a four point lead, and the Bayern critics could have maintained until next year that this superhero nimbus was over, because this defeat would only have been the logical consequence of a decline : Draw against Bremen and Berlin, as many goals as a middle-class team, and finally the phenomenon that it is now normal when Bayern are behind.
On Saturday evening Bayer 04 took the lead after 14 minutes. Patrick Schicks goal was so beautiful that even Lewandowski could have got jealous. But Lewandowski was able to console himself with the fact that after the flowers and champagne for the award for the world’s best footballer, Leverkusen gave him the opportunity to equalize: Lukas Hradecky and Jonathan Tah fought over the ball, Lewandowski was the laughing third. This goal to 1: 1 (45th + 1) was by no means brilliantly played out and forced by Bayern, they were just there when the opponent offered them.
For weeks, Leverkusen had withstood the piecework in the league and European Cup by happily continuing their run, and on Saturday they got off to a great start: Concentrated and controlled in cover, gripping on the offensive, the 2-0 was two or three times in Range. Although Diaby and Leon Bailey were largely under control of their opponents Süle and Davies, Florian Wirtz and Nadiem Amiri created advantages in the center. In the long run, however, the construction proved to be unstable, and without the relief from wing attacks, the Bayer game would no longer be a complete whole. Not only did play-back errors increase, but also signs of fatigue, in the second half Bayern had greater reserves to offer – not least the returnee Kimmich, who reported back five weeks after his injury. It was an “up and down”, “is he going with you? Isn’t he going with you?”, Said Flick. Finally, Kimmich decided to go along. Result: The template for the winning goal.
Bayer came close to Bayern, “they could wound us,” as Thomas Müller acknowledged, but the decisive blow was again from Munich. It may have been a bit of a blunder on their side, but on the Leverkusen side, it wasn’t just bad luck: Tah was also helpful in Bayern’s 2-1 as a template because of his unsuccessful acceptance of the ball. Two bad moments darkened his otherwise impeccable appearance. Coach Peter Bosz later sounded like a broken man: “I think we didn’t deserve it,” he sighed.
“Today we had the better end,” said Hansi Flick before saying goodbye with best Christmas greetings. It is a sentence that describes the Munich year 2020 quite precisely.