If there’s one thing that Tuesday night taught Fiorentina, it’s that by having 22 shots on target and still failing to score against Bayern Munich, you will at some point get punished. The German giants might very well be struggling in the Bundesliga at the moment, they are still a team loaded with world class players who this evening made full use of their superiority with regards to experience and cynicism.
Midway into the UCL group stage, things are now looking very difficult for Prandelli’s boys, stuck into third spot 3 points behind Lyon and 5 behind Bayern. The road leading to the playoff round has just transformed into a rocky, slippery, icy mountain path.
Tactics-wise, one of the biggest pre-game questions (especially for Klinsmann) was whether Luca Toni was match-fit. The ex-Viola striker wouldn’t have missed this game for the world, and regularly appeared in the starting eleven field by Bayern at kick-off time. Pairing up with Klose up front, and supported by Ribery and Schweinsteiger on the wings. As for Fiorentina, Prandelli confirmed his usual 4-3-3 formation and was finally able to integrate Adrian Mutu (back from injury) into his three-man attack, alongside Gilardino and Santana. And that was perhaps La Viola’s biggest mistake tonight: the fact they decided to take onto Bayern Munich with a frontal attack and no inhibitions.
Indeed, Die Roten‘s debut to the game was instantaneous and deadly. The chances obtained by Schweinsteiger (min. 2) and Ribery (min. 4) were but only a prelude to the first goal of the match, a poked effort by Miroslav Klose receiving a well-timed headed re-direct by Toni. The culprit missing the offside trap: José Manuel Vargas, and Fiorentina’s left-back made matters even worse some twenty minutes later, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to receive a left-wing Ribery cross undisturbed and beat Frey for the second time in a row. 1-0 and 2-0 Bayern.
Up to that point, one could really say lady luck hadn’t been helping Prandelli’s boys. Prior to conceding the second goal, Fiorentina had at least three or four chances to pull even, the most notable of which a mid-range Montolivo shot (inches wide of the post) and a one-on-one opportunity by Felipe Melo (neutralized by Rensing). And things would refuse to improve for the visitors, as even their golden man-of-the-moment (Gilardino) tried his luck three times (one hitting the crossbar) without any success.
The second half was really more of the same, that is, more for Bayern and less for Fiorentina. La Viola continued to push forward, setting up shots by Kuzmanovic and Mutu, but the ball simply refused to enter Rensing’s net. Bayern on their part were being shrewd at slowing the pace down (Klinsmann inserted the powerful physique of Tim Borowski to that effect) in order to make sudden accelerations towards Sebastien Frey’s goal. The French nº1 had to make full use of his reflexes when, called into action by Demichelis and Klose, safeguarded his net to keep Fiorentina in the game.
All hopes were definitely lost however, when a late-match incursion by Zé Roberto allowerd the Brazilian midfielder to take aim from just inside the box, and provide the cherry-on-the-cake goal for the Klinsmann boys. 3-0 Bayern and a pretty severe beating for La Viola, who still have many lessons to learn from Europe’s top-flight competition.
|GOALSCORERS: 4’ Klose (B), 25’ Schweinsteiger (B), 90’ Ze Roberto (B).
| BAYERN (4-4-2): Rensing – Oddo, Lucio, Demichelis, Lahm (46’ Lell) – Schweinsteiger (65’ Borowski), Van Bommel, Zé Roberto, Ribéry – Toni (55’ Podolski), Klose. (bnech: Butt, Van Buyten, Ottl). Coach: Klinsmann.
|FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Zauri, Gamberini, Dainelli, Vargas (74’ Gobbi) – Kuzmanovic, Felipe Melo, Montolivo – Santana (64’ Jovetic), Gilardino, Mutu. (bench: Storari, Donadel, Osvaldo, Pazzini,|