Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the Bundesliga could be cut this weekend as they were held to a goalless draw at Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night.
For most of their trip to Germany's financial capital, the league-leaders were left incredibly frustrated against defensively assured opposition. Bayern Munich failed to become the second side ever from Europe's top-five leagues to start 11 straight wins -- a record still held by Tottenham in 1960-61.
Bayern Munich's dominance in the Bundesliga has been on an unprecedented scale this season. German sports magazine Kicker wrote about Guardiola's "perfect team" while noting some of the records that have crumbled in the first 10 games this season.
The German champions accumulated the most points (30), scored the most goals (33), possessed the strongest goal difference (+29), the widest points gap to second place (7) and the best defensive record in the second half. And, of course, individually Bayern were excelling -- the club has the best striking partnership after 10 games with 23 goals and with Douglas Costa's 11 in 10, the most assists.
Even the great Bayern Munich teams -- the European Cup-winning teams of the 1970s, the late 90s under Ottmar Hitzfeld and Jupp Heynckes in 2013 -- failed to establish such a dominance in domestic football. And so, how history judges Guardiola's stint at Bayern Munich will be truly fascinating.
Following a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal midweek, Guardiola left David Alaba out of the starting eleven for the first time this season -- the Austrian had played every minute of every match. Arjen Robben was back in the fold as Thomas Müller and Thiago dropped to the bench, while one of Pep's favorites, Javi Martinez, started at centerback.
Armin Veh's Frankfurt set the tone after 19 seconds when Stefan Aigner was shown a yellow card for a careless challenge on Rafinha. With Bayern dominating the ball, Frankfurt's off-the-ball work was as good as it got for most of the half.
On 10 minutes, Arturo Vidal should have opened the scoring, heading Robben's cross over the bar from inside the six-yard-box. At the other end of the pitch, Frankfurt adopted a shoot-on-sight approach with Haris Seferovic blasting over the target from around 30 yards.
Bayern's closest effort on 29 minutes was from a set-piece situation. Robben floated in the cross, angling the ball into the center of the area with his left-foot, but Martinez headed just wide of the target. Frankfurt, coming off the back of a 1-0 shock loss to Erzgebirge Aue in the Cup, defended compactly and left little room between the lines.
Veh's men managed to win a corner kick late in the half to spark some excitement in the Commerzbank Arena, sold out at 55,000 fans, but it was to no avail. After 45 minutes, the Eagles will have been thrilled to keep the scores level given Bayern's recent exploits in league and Cup competitions.
But Bayern's record in the second half is just as formidable -- Guardiola's men managed 24 second half goals in 10 games: More than 16 other Bundesliga clubs recorded in 90 minutes. It was almost 1-0 in the first minute of the half as Costa fired wide following a calamitous mistake from Carlos Zambrano.
Frankfurt, to their credit, went on to enjoy an excellent 10 minute spell up until the hour mark. Marc Stendera's corner kick was flicked on by Alex Meier and Jerome Boateng's touch went a few centimetres past the post. Seconds later, Manuel Neuer spectacularly fluffed a kick out and Stendera's quick-thinking forced the German keeper into an excellent save on 53 minutes.
As the clock ticked on, Frankfurt remained admirably stoic defensively. Bayern were restricted to a couple of long-range efforts until the 80th minute. Robert Lewandowski broke clear of the defense for the first time, but misplaced his shot wide of the post -- a situation he would convert nine-and-a-half times out of 10.
But Frankfurt saw the game out after five minutes of injury time, a result which means Bayern's lead could be trimmed to five points if Borussia Dortmund win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.