It was, in a way, a bizarre and almost uncomfortable scene at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening, the venue where Bayern Munich had their Champions League dreams crushed in heartbreaking fashion just three nights earlier. This time around, they were hosting the Netherlands in an odd international friendly, one that came about after Dutch star Arjen Robben picked up an injury during the 2010 World Cup. Robben, who missed a crucial penalty in extra time during Saturday's Champions League Final which was won by Chelsea, wore Holland orange on Tuesday night. He didn't play a factor in the game's deciding tally, but he was arguably the most noticeable player upon taking the pitch during the second half of the exhibition.
3 thoughts regarding Bayern Munich 3-2 Netherlands: Promising 15 minutes
Both teams seemed happy to enjoy a game of kickball during the opening 15 minutes, largely due to the two sides being concerned about injuries leading up to Euro 2012. Things began to open up nicely at the start of the middle third of the half, however, as those in the home crowd joined in applause in support of their club. Wesley Sneijder failed to adequately clear the ball from danger in the 17th minute, and Toni Kroos found himself with possession several yards outside the Dutch penalty area. Kroos squared up and fired the long-distance strike, a hit that fooled goalkeeper Michel Vorm. Vorm got a hand on the ball, but he merely tipped it into the upper portion of the net, and the hosts were up 1-0.
That lead didn't last long. Roughly 70 seconds later, Dirk Kuyt played a ball down the left wing for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who caught the Bayern back line napping. Huntelaar did well to outrun three defenders before making his way into the left portion of the box. Huntelaar then sent a near-post rocket that Hans-Jörg Butt couldn't stop, leveling the contest at one.
Holland weren't done there. Just two minutes after the Huntelaar goal, captain Rafael van der Vaart played Luciano Narsingh through a back line that was again caught ball-watching. The 21-year old making his Dutch debut completed his run into the box before eventually chipping the ball over Butt, a finish that is not easy to complete. Holland only held the lead for eight minutes, however, as some lazy man-marking inside their box allowed Nils Pedersen to level the scoring with a powerful header.
Unfortunately for those in attendance and those watching on TV/computer/mobile device, the excitement ended their for the next 50 minutes of play. Both teams were seemingly happy with the entertainment they had offered up to fans, and, with neither side understandably wanting to risk injuries, the match largely resembled a training session until Mario Gomez, Diego Contento and Frank Ribery were brought on 19 minutes from time. The hosts found the winning tally in the 87th minute, when a complete breakdown in defense from the Dutch allowed Gomez to make his way unmarked directly in front of goal. Ribery played a ball for Gomez, who completed the tap-in to bury the goal Bayern Munich were unable to locate just three nights earlier.
3 thoughts regarding Bayern Munich 3-2 Netherlands: The response
Arjen Robben, seen by many fans and analysts as a "choke artist" following his slip-ups in both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Champions League Final, made his first significant appearance roughly 14 minutes into the second half of play, when he began warming up on the sidelines. Most in the stands applauded and chanted his name as the player ran back and forth, and Robben received a similar reception upon entering the contest in the 76th minute. While some boos and whistles were audible whenever Robben touched the ball, such jeers were immediately drowned out by cheers, applause and chants in favor of the player. Robben saluted the crowd upon the conclusion of the match, and the majority of the fans who remained in the arena following the final whistle returned the gesture.
3 thoughts regarding Bayern Munich 3-2 Netherlands: Moving along
Following the 3-2 loss that can hardly be labeled as a disappointment for the Dutch, Holland will host Bulgaria on Saturday afternoon (ET) in one of three international friendlies that will help prepare them for the European Championships. A few forgivable defensive miscues aside, Holland looked solid in a friendly that, truth be told, was more of a nuisance than a tune-up. They even controlled much of the action once several lineup mainstays were yanked following the halftime break, until Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes decided to play for the win. Staying healthy is the name of the game at this point of Euro 2012 warmups. According to the immediate reports I've read following the contest, Holland did just that.
One down, three to go.
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