Created on 22-09-2013 at 13:45 PM
Fully half an hour after the final whistle, the Veltins Arena rang to the sound of a familiar Schalke 04 chant. However, the home fans had long dispersed, and the gleeful cries of “Schalke, null vier”, or “Schalke, zero-four," were coming from the away section, as the travelling support celebrated Bayern's crushing 4-0 victory over the Royal Blues. The impressive win meant FCB neatly marked the start of the 180th Oktoberfest by pulling level with leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table.
“That was our best game in the Bundesliga so far," enthused coach Pep Guardiola afterwards, saying he was “pleased and proud" with his players following a fifth win in six league fixtures. “We're improving from match to match, we're getting better from week to week," agreed Jerome Boateng after Munich's biggest ever win in Gelsenkirchen.
First-half double whammy
“Losing 4-0 at home is a hiding and not what we expected at all," crestfallen Schalke boss Jens Keller admitted afterwards. “It's always tough to beat a team as good as Bayern," reflected Boateng's half brother Kevin-Prince after losing out to his sibling. And Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes, musing on his club’s biggest home defeat in 32 years, concluded that “the gulf in class was too great today."
The men in blue matched their illustrious opponents for the first quarter of an hour, defending high up the field, tackling early and playing with great commitment. But after Toni Kroos had tipped the balance with a couple of range-finders, Bayern scored twice within the space of 99 seconds through headers from Bastian Schweinsteiger (21 minutes) and Mario Mandzukic (22), and assumed total control after that.
Good matchday for FCB
“The first 20 minutes weren't easy, but we were ruthless with the double strike. You could see Schalke never believed they could do anything about it after that," reasoned Thomas Müller. And in the light of Dortmund's 1-1 draw away to Nürnberg, the striker reckoned it was “a good matchday for us." Keller rubber-stamped Müller's analysis: “We started well and we were very good for 20 minutes. But then we were hit with a double strike, and we never recovered."
“We completely dominated one of the best teams in Germany away from home. We did very well," commented Guardiola. Franck Ribéry (75) and sub Claudio Pizarro (84) iced the cake with second-half goals. “Winning here isn't easy, so we're doubly delighted about doing so," said Schweinsteiger, “we certainly played very well at times."
Hannover up next
Arjen Robben also spoke of “a good game," but warned against reading too much into recent results: “Obviously it was a good match and an important victory. But it's still so early in the season. We still have a lot of work to do, so let's keep our feet on the ground." Müller agreed with his team-mate: “We have to fight for our points every week, just like every other team. We may have better individuals, but we still have to put in a shift."
And the next dose of hard work comes on Wednesday evening when Bayern entertain Hannover in the DFB Cup second round. “The next match is another new challenge. We want to go through," declared Robben. The men from Lower Saxony visited the Allianz Arena in the league just eight days ago, but left empty-handed after losing 2-0. No-one in Munich would have any objection to a repeat.