Not the Basement, But the Elevator Is Going Down

Totti is resigned to having dusted off the old catenaccio, Ranieri disagrees with him and sees life in a glass full kind of way, Montali shows an uncharacteristically banal side of himself, and somewhere in the middle of that Roma lost its third game in four tries this season. If this isn't the bottom, we have to be very close indeed. Also: no.

Even if I disliked (very, very much) what I saw last night, this isn't as bad as it gets. To be sure, one point in four outings is absurd and mathematically atrocious. But Bayern away isn't a game I ever had any plans or hopes on winning, not even when the illusion of this team's strength was alive and well (up until three weeks ago, RIP). Bayern away in the context of this season so far isn't a game I had nurtured high hopes on getting even a single point from. They are that good, and Roma have shown to be that shaky so far. So losing to a wonderfully inspired goal by the World Cup's leading scorer (and a Klose goal - these need no further description as everything one could ever need to know about them is in the name "Klose goal" already) isn't that bad. It's not exactly disastrous, in any case. What else could anyone really have hoped for here, given Roma's form and the personnel shortage, losing by only one goal? Yeah, but it's not like we took five again, one goal or two isn't the line between stoic acceptance and moral outrage. It can't be.

That's the positives - or as I'd like to call it, the less negative. The real negative is bountiful. Given the premise that Roma played a bastard version of a 4-4-2 I wouldn't wish on anyone, and which relied above all else on fresh legs and juice in the tank, failing to make any changes until after 80 minutes had been played is very, very strange behavior. The entire team was running on E at right around the hour mark, and the kick needed to jump start you comes in the form of Müller's exquisite shot? Being pro active is always better than being reactive, especially when being reactive at 1-0 down is like bringing a knife to a gun fight; there's little you can do at that point but pray. And I do get the sense of futility at having lost - clearly in the end - while bunkering up with two lines of four behind the ball, Borriello left do his own devices and Totti inhumanely drifting somewhere in no man's land, when we could have at least tried to play some ball and probably still lose withthe same or perhaps only slightly bigger a margin. The miniature Zeman sitting on my left shoulder is whispering in my ear all the time, and the pragmatism of Ranieri needed to work hard last night in order to maintain some semblance of balance. I get the predicament Ranieri was in with so few available players, but at the same time I don't ever want to see anything of the sort again.

The only truly positive impression was, as per custom, in the shape of a quasi stoute Brazilian who performs miracles night and day. Three others left favorable impressions of lesser impact: Rosi, who showed he's not out of place; Cassetti, who handled the transition to the left side well; and Bayern's curva which in a nice show of solidarity expressed their disdain for la tessera del tifoso with a giant banner pre-game. The rest is to be forgotten.

But it could be worse. I'm just not sure that's a consolation, as much as a threat.