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Bruised Bayern Frustrated in Berlin Battle

A bruising encounter in the Munich Olympic Stadium between Bayern and Hertha Berlin ended 1-1 on Saturday as the home side fought tooth and nail for a second Bundesliga victory.

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Berlin's Marcelinho put the visitors ahead in the Olympic Stadium

Bayern Munich took to the field for their first home game of the season, looking to expand on their winning start last week against Hamburg. After scoring two wonderful goals through their midfielders Michael Ballack and Sebastian Deisler, Bayern were looking for more of the same from their marauding players, packing the midfield with five stars and leaving Roy Makaay up front alone for the visit of Hertha BSC Berlin.

Berlin, denied a victory at Bochum last week, were looking to get into winning ways in the Olympic Stadium and employed Fredi Bobic as a second striker beside Wichniarek, with Brazilian flair backing them up in Marcelinho and Gilberto.

The first half started off as if a classic would unfold with both sides piling forward in wave after wave of attack in search of the early break-through.

The frantic start also brought the first signature tackles from the 'hard men' of both teams letting their opponents know they were there. Thorsten Frings for Munich and Niko Kovac of Berlin were both involved in heavy challenges and this physicality, rather than the attacking ideas of the few minutes, would later become a dominant theme of the first half.

Samba style rocks Bayern

Berlin settled quicker and pegged the Bavarians back for a good ten minutes before the deadlock was broken. A searching ball into the bayern area appeared to catch a Berlin attacker offside but the flag and whistle never came and it was left to Marcelinho to lash a wicked shot past Oliver Kahn from close range.

Bayern went in search of parity straight away but soon their ideas petered out with star midfielder Deisler the main culprit in the profilgacy which was to dominate Munich's first half. Time and time again the young midfielder sent high balls over the defense in search of players who weren't there or skied speculative long range efforts over the bar, sending the ball scuttling across the athetics track behind the Berlin goal.

Match becomes a battle

In their frustration, the Bayern players began a physical game which resulted in a flurry of free-kicks and cards for both teams as the game lost rhythm and shape.

Berlin chose to defend the narrow lead, forcing Bayern to take the game to them. However, the creative flair of Bayern's stars seemed dampened by the resilience of their opponents and frustration crept in.

The second half started as a dream for Bayern. Roque Santa Cruz replaced Ze Roberto at the break and added another attacking option to the Bayern team. His impact was immediate. Latching onto a stunning pass by Mehmet Scholl, Santa Cruz charged into the area and delivered a pin-point cross for Roy Makaay to equalize.

Home side pushes for winner

Bayern dominated the next twenty minutes of the half with the midfield pushing up in a red and white line behind the two strikers as they pushed for the winner. But Berlin were not out of the game and woke up to have their own chances as the agme wore on.

The home team, however, were single-minded in their approach and had many good efforts -- and even more terrible, wasted chances -- to go ahead. The best falling to Roy Makaay in the final minute after Bayern had been reduced to 10 men.

In the end, the grinding, physical nature of the game was detrimental to the spectacle and had worn the players down by the time it came to make a difference. Berlin looked happy with their draw but Munich looked frustrated by their own wasted chances to push for the top spot in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich: Kahn, Görlitz, Linke, Lucio, Salihamidzic, Deisler, Frings, Ballack, Ze Roberto, Scholl, Makaay

Hertha BSC Berlin: Fiedler, Friedrich, van Burik, Simunic, Marx, dardai, N. Kovac, Marceliho, Gilberto, Bobic, Wichniarek

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  • Date 14.08.2004
  • Author Nick Amies
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/5RfW
  • Date 14.08.2004
  • Author Nick Amies
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/5RfW