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May 10, 2014
• Allianz-Arena, München
Referee: B. Dankert
• Attendance: 71000
C. Pizarro 90'+
The trophy will come out for the Bavarians, and we'll leave them to their celebrations. That's my cue, it's been a pleasure. Bye for now.
Well, it was set to end in frustration, but Pizarro gives Bayern a victory they deserve. They were the better side, truth be told, but Stuttgart will be disappointed to see all that defensive effort come to nothing.
90' + 3'
And that's it! Bayern win at the very last!
90' + 2'
Goal Claudio Pizarro
LASHED IN AT THE LAST TIME OF ASKING! With virtually the last kick of the season, the substitute strikes gold again! A superlative finish, taken after a cross was cleared to the top of the box. The Peruvian took it on the half volley and slammed it past Ulreich into the bottom corner!
90' + 2'
PIZARRO HAS DONE IT!
Stoppage time upon us, of which there will only be two minutes. Dante is forced to stretch his legs to close down Werner on the left hand side, conceding a corner against the pace of the substitute. The visitors will look to take this, and there's no reason, at this stage, why they shouldn't go for it.
Rafinha clips in a ball from the right hand side towards Pizarro, who for a second had it under his control, but a timely barge from his marker put him off the shot on the turn. One way traffic, as it has been for the vast majority of the game. Bayern hunting for a late winner.
NOT QUITE! Just as I say that, Robben nearly snatches a goal, stealing a march on the last defender and advancing on goal, only for Ulreich to race off his line to meet him and thwart his eventual attempt at a finish!
The flag is up on the near side against Arjen Robben, who looked like he had broken through the stiff defensive ranks to latch onto Kroos' through pass. He looked more resigned to the call than anything though, perhaps a sign that Bayern have started to accept their fate.
Decent cross that from Alaba into the area, and it's attacked by Robben of all people with a header. He rises too late however, and the defence is able to get rid with little trouble. Time starting to run out if there is to be a breakthrough in this tightly wound game.
Hojbjerg has another crack on goal from range after being put into position by Kroos, but once again he can't find the target. It's beginning to slip away from Bayern at this stage in the game, with the chances drying up and the stamina beginning to sap.
Alexandru Iulian Maxim
And on comes that man Werner, who replaces the rather anonymous Maxim in an attacking midfield role. Big things are expected of the 18-year-old, who is the latest in a long and never ending line of talent emanating from Germany. Can he provide a late spark to the visitors?
Booking here for the substitute Didavi, who sees yellow for taking out fellow first half replacement Hojbjerg on the right flank. Stuttgart won't mind the late cards though, they're edging closer to the result.
Yellow Card Daniel Didavi
OVER THE TOP! A patient buildup from the home side sees Alaba slowly try to open shooting space for himself, before electing to tee up Pizarro from 12 yards, but the Peruvian sidefoots the ball a few feet clear of the crossbar! Decent chance that!
A sniff of an opening for the visiting side on the counter attack, as Cacau makes inroads down the left hand side, before lashing in a hopeful shot that Neuer smothers at his near post. He's added a more mobile and dynamic outlet up front for Stuttgart, after Ibisevic's target man act failed to yield anything.
Gentner comes in with a sly stamp on the back of Dante which didn't make a lot of contact, but still sends the Brazilian to the turf. The way he shaped up there, it looked premeditated, probably retribution for his earlier challenge on Cacau. The referee is quick to sort it out again after the two players have words with each other. I'll count that as a sign of life in a game rather bereft of it.
Ulreich is far from convincing on a corner, as Robben's delivery is met by the keeper charging off his line, but he rather flubs the catch, instead letting the ball bobble loose inside the box, with his defenders forced to hack clear the rebound. Cheeky grin from Robben and a hand in apology from the man between the posts. Didn't cost the visitors there though.
Yellow Card Dante
Yellow card for Dante, and it may have been a lot worse. After Kroos was tackled legally by Cacau, the Brazilian went for his own form of retribution, hacking the substitute to the turf and sparking a coming together of both sets of players. After quelling the fires, the referee books the defender.
I'd have to say that the stars are aligning to predict a Bayern breakthrough, if any team is to crack beyond this current stalemate. The visiting counter attacking threat has dissipated in the second half, and the openings are slowly becoming less hazy from a Bayern perspective.
Off goes the big Croatian Mandzukic and on comes Pizarro. The Peruvian, in his second spell at Bayern, has always come up with the goods in front of goal despite seeing only crumbs of playing time each season. Bayern need a glimpse of a goal!
ROBBEN! That was a GREAT chance! Escaping down the right hand side, the Dutchman shapes his body perfectly to attack a through ball with his left foot, and but for a strong fist from Ulreich, he would have bent that shot into the bottom far corner!
Martinez is perhaps fishing too far up the banks when he tries to win a penalty after chasing down the ball with Gruezo, and falling to the turf when the midfielder nips it just head of his toes. There was contact, but he got to the ball first. Nothing doing.
Both sides have made a substitution each in the first half, and it's getting to be about that time when coaches either stick or twist. Both benches are relatively thin, though the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Timo Werner have the potential to unlock a game in an instant.
Bayern continue to control the ball in this second half. I don't think that Stuttgart have crossed the halfway line in the last five minutes. They're hoping that high pressure will yield a diamond in this instance, as the visitors are forced to defend deeper and deeper.
THWARTED AT THE NEAR POST! Alaba streams forward and reads an intelligent pass by Muller to complete the overlap. He tries to cut back for Robben near the six yard box, but a combination of Ulreich and Niedermeier put him off the shot. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
Not a bad shooting chance for the substitute Hojbjerg, who evades his marker by a hair's width to have a crack on goal from 25 yards. It looks for one second to be heading into the top corner, but it's ultimately rising too much, and the trajectory of the ball takes it about a foot wide of the frame of the goal in the end.
We've barely had a kick from Ibisevic all game long. The Bosnian striker has been rather isolated from the flow of the game, which is to be expected when his team has adopted a counter attacking approach with a deep defensive line. He's not had much chance to hold the ball up to link with his teammates either.
Robben is baying for retribution in the form of a penalty after going down against the challenge of Rudiger inside the area. However, the referee deems it to be a legal one, and replays appear to vindicate his decision, despite what the howls of the home fans might have you think.
Rausch tries to ping a through ball into the path of Maxim, but the latter is caught behind the last defender and is flagged for an offside by the assistant referee. A low key resumption to the game.
Here we go again.
No goals so far, and perhaps no surprise either. It's been your typical end of season stroll, with the hosts controlling possession but struggling (or perhaps not trying too hard) to create goalscoring opportunities. Stuttgart have threatened intermittently, but overall, it's hard to envision a whole lot of goals in this one. Stay tuned for the restart in just a bit.
45' + 1'
After a Bayern corner is blocked, the referee decided to end the first half.
Stevens sees the writing on the wall, and pulls Boka out of the fray to avoid a likely second booking later in the game. Didavi is summoned to take his place, and his first task will be to help defend this free kick. He doesn't have to bother though, as Robben bends it high and wide.
Late free kick on the right hand side for Bayern, after Muller is felled unceremoniously by Boka. The home fans bay for blood with the defender already on a yellow card, but the referee does not give into their demands, awarding only the free kick.
Looking like a slow march towards half time now, with Bayern passing the ball into oblivion, and Stuttgart happy to sit deep and let them have it, without over-exerting themselves on the defensive press. End of season lethargy maybe, but teams frustrating the Bavarians by retaining a deep defensive shape has been a concern in recent weeks.
ULREICH REACTS WELL! Robben picked the ball up on his left foot, and shifted into shooting space at the top of the box in that ever so familiar move. However, after pulling the trigger, he sees his attempt on goal lapped up by the Stuttgart keeper.
Indeed, Schweinsteiger does depart, and it's Hojbjerg who is summoned to replace him. The 18-year-old comes in for a like-for-like swap, allowing Bayern to maintain their rough 4-1-4-1 shape.
Pierre Emil Højbjerg
Not looking good for Schweinsteiger here, as the word is that he will be substituted. Looks like a precaution from Guardiola, who had recieved a signal that the midfielder had picked up a knock, and with the DFB Pokal final to come in a week, he won't want to risk his veteran midfield schemer.
Martinez has been looking eminently comfortable, little surprise given that he's played in his more natural midfield role today. Guardiola has often used him as a centre back - with mixed results - as Lahm has often been the defensive midfielder of choice. This has led to rumors of a disgruntled player who may be open for transfer.
BLOCKED! It's Mandzukic who is denied, as he's flicked into shooting space by the head of Muller. Or so he'd thought, as his lash towards goal is thwarted by Rudiger throwing his body in the way of the ball! Sakai scrambles to clear the rebound ahead of Robben.
Bayern work a corner to Kroos on the flanks, and he sees the opportunity to ping a ball into the mixer, where Schweinsteiger, still camped in the box, attacks the ball with a header, but sends it wide of the mark. Still, good to see some goalmouth action after a rather patient first half.
Short delay in proceedings here, with Mandzukic on the deck, struggling with an injury. Pep Guardiola barely has time to beckon his subs to warm up though, before he's back on his feet and ready to continue.
NEARLY A QUICK RESPONSE! Bayern hit back with an opportunity of their own, and it falls to the feet of Mandzukic. The Croatian striker has an effort on goal from Robben's feed, but it's read by Ulreich, who makes the save! Is this a sign of the game opening up?
CHANCE FOR STUTTGART! Well then, the visitors nearly strike gold from a set piece! It's lofted into the near post area, and Gentner gets a crucial flick on the ball, taking it into the path of Neidermeier. However, the defender cannot find the target, despite it dropping right onto his boot.
Another booking here, and this time it goes to the men in blue and red. Traore, causing problems as ever, looks to get free down the right hand side again, but is stopped cynically by Kroos, who, let's be honest, never had the legs to keep up with him had they been isolated for much longer.
Yellow Card Toni Kroos
Yellow Card Arthur Boka
Boka is the first man in the book, taking the bait from Robben's quick shuffle of his feet, and he brings down the Dutchman quite plainly with a clumsy challenge. No dice from the resulting free kick, however.
Bayern of course are modelling their new kit for the 2014-15 season here, which is a move away from the traditional red by adding vertical blue stripes. It's a nod to their successful 1996 Uefa Cup triumph, where they beat Bordeaux in the final over two legs. It's very similar to the Barcelona kit, raising some eyebrows especially given who's in the dugout.
Some free kicks to come for Stuttgart in the Bayern half. Both Ibisevic and Rudiger are fouled in quick succession but the visitors cannot come close to troubling Neuer on either occasion. Disappointing in the end.
A little more good fortune for the visitors in the attacking third, as they win a corner on the right hand side, with Mandzukic forced to get back in his own half and defend against the threat of Traore. The delivery, however, does not find a teammate, and you get the feeling that Stuttgart will need to make their set pieces count if they are to have a shot today.
Not too shocking to see both sides in no hurry to push the tempo and force the issue offensively. They both seem content to let the game come to them by following familiar patterns - Bayern monopolizing the ball, while Stuttgart look to earn their corn on the counter attack, exploiting any gaps left behind.
Stuttgart are finally earning a bit of a reprieve in the opposition half, and it's mostly coming at the feet of Traore down the right channel. He's caught Alaba pushed too high upfield on two occasions now, but both times, Dante has been across to cover his compatriot.
It's clear that Bayern have set out their stall to attack Stuttgart down the flanks, especially with Mario Mandzukic providing a genuine target in the box today. Stuttgart have their own target up front in Vedad Ibisevic though, who is known for scoring a header or two, and has knocked in double figures in league goals this season.
Hardly the best clearance in the world from Rudiger, which allows Schweinsteiger to pick up the ball some 35 yards from goal. A quick touch feeds Kroos, who sidesteps his man, taking him close enough to goal to unleash a low drive that flashes wide of the far post. Ulreich was never worried there, if I'm honest.
Bayern are dominating all the early possession here, which will surprise no one who has watched Guardiola's men at any point this season. They have been utilizing the fullbacks, Alaba and Rafinha, to provide width. The latter has a point to prove after missing the cut for Brazil's World Cup squad, though fellow defender Dante was granted a berth.
MULLER! That could have been a flash bang opener! Bayern carve out a chance in the early minutes, as Alaba's searching cross out from the left hand side lands to the forward in space inside the box. He attacks it with a volley, but cannot find the back of the net this time. Shots fired already.
Here we go then!
Stuttgart's top flight status was still in the lurch for a moment last weekend, especially after their 2-1 loss at home to Wolfsburg. However, relegation rivals Hamburg also lost - to Bayern of all teams - to ensure that Huub Stevens' men would live to fight another season.
In just under two hours, the home side will be lifting that famous Bundesliga trophy in front of their own fans, who are in full voice, soaking up every second of their triumph. However, it's not been all rosy at the Allianz Arena, with the Bavarians humiliated in the Champions League semi finals by Real Madrid, raising questions about Pep Guardiola and the tiki-taka approach in general. He can do a little to set the record straight here.
It's all a formality here really, with both sides having already confirmed their status for this season. Bayern have of course been crowned Bundesliga champions for the 24th time - needing the fewest ever games in league history to pull off the feat. Stuttgart, in 15th place, have mathematically avoided the relegation trapdoor of course and, breathing a sigh of relief, will look to give their fans something to cheer after narrowly averting that crisis.
Stuttgart have named a more defensive lineup against the Bundesliga champs, with Vedad Ibisevic leadding the line by himself, in front of a tight, numbered midfield of Carlos Gruezo, Ibrahima Traore, Christian Gentner, Konstantin Rausch, and Alexandru Maxim.
Up front for the home side, Mario Mandzukic gets a start as the lone striker, in what may be a hard gig to come by next season with the impending arrival of Robert Lewandowski. He's flanked on either side by Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, while there is also a start in the offing for Daniel Van Buyten in defence.
STUTTGART: Ulreich, Sakai, Niedermeier, Boka, Rudiger, Gruezo, Traore, Gentner, Rausch, Maxim, Ibisevic.
BAYERN: Neuer, Dante, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Alaba, Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Mandzukic, Robben, Muller.
Hello, and welcome to our coverage of Bayern Munich vs Stuttgart as the Bundesliga season draws to a close. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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