It was a surprisingly close fought contest at the Allianz Arena this past Tuesday night in the DFB Pokal, but the favourites Bayern Munich eventually triumphed. It required a Xabi Alonso wonderstrike to get the better of a defensively outstanding Darmstadt 98, who kept fighting right until the final whistle.
Bayern predictably had the majority of possession, but they were struggling to find that final ball. The visitors were also tactically superb, and it wasn’t clear where the goals were going to come from.
It soon became clear however, with ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool star Xabi Alonso producing an absolute beauty of a shot to open the scoring. The ball found it’s way to the Spaniard outside the box after a half cleared corner, and he volleyed it with real venom into the top corner. 1-0.
It looked like the first goal may open the floodgates, with Darmstadt needing to commit more men forward in order to push for an equaliser. Bayern still struggled to create real chances though, and Darmstadt even threatened themselves on occasion.
Marcel Heller was far and away their best player, and he came close on a number of occasions. He was giving the Bayern defence the run around, and this superb piece of skill shows just what he’s capable of.
Bayern were restricted to half chances, and only really looked like scoring on the counter when Darmstadt looked to push for the goal. They never quite got that second goal though, with Kinglsey Coman arguably coming closest with his overhead effort.
It made for a tense last five or ten minutes to the game, but unfortunately Darmstadt were unable to cause an upset. Bayern Munich progress, while the minnows were left disappointed.