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New record, bigger lead

Champions reflect on ‘a very good weekend’

Bundesliga Matchday 12 brought nothing but good news for Bayern, who broke a 30-year-old record and stretched their lead at the top of the standings. In the circumstances, a routine 3-0 home win over FC Augsburg was in fact one for the history books. “It’s a very, very good weekend for us,” enthused captain Philipp Lahm after FCB made it 37 league games without defeat and extended their advantage at the top of the table to four points. Manuel Neuer added: “It’s been a good day for us.”

The celebrations started early, as the majority of the 71,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena erupted after just 235 seconds to hail Jérôme Boateng’s superb left-footed finish. “I’m really delighted about the goal and that we’ve broken the record,” said the defender with the striker’s finishing instinct, “it was a fantastic performance from the whole team.”

Bayern’s quickest Bundesliga goal of the season so far proved a foretaste to a composed and authoritative display from the champions. “We were much more aggressive at the start and got at our opponents much earlier,” commented Lahm. “These were areas where we wanted to improve and we’ve done it today.” The match stats tell their own story: at one point FCB’s pass completion stood at 95 percent, and the home side finished on 72.3 percent of the possession, winning 56.2 percent of their challenges. Overall, Bayern never offered their opponents the hint of a chance of salvaging something from the match.

Neuer felt he and his team-mates “might have slightly gone off the boil” after the impressive opening salvo, but the home side struck again before the break. Franck Ribéry did his chances of winning the coveted Ballon d’Or no harm at all with a stunning 98 km/h direct free-kick three minutes before half-time. The Frenchman waved away the plaudits: “The goal was good for the team and for me. It’s always better to lead by two goals rather than just the one.“

After the restart Bayern maintained a firm grip on proceedings. “In the second half we controlled the game and let the ball do the work,” summarised Neuer, a virtual spectator on the afternoon, “it’s good we’ve kept a clean sheet again.” The final flourish of the match was provided by Thomas Müller, who stroked home a stoppage-time penalty to round off the scoring with his 50th Bundesliga goal in 146 appearances. Then it was time to hail the record breakers.

Work, win, stretch the record

“The record lasted 30 years, so becoming the sole holders is definitely very special indeed,” reflected Lahm. “People were saying they didn’t know when anyone might get close to the record again. It’s a good record and that much more difficult to break. So we’re very pleased.“ Pep Guardiola was delighted for the club and the players, describing the achievement as “an unbelievable record.” The coach passed on his congratulations directly to the players after the final whistle, as board director for sport Matthias Sammer revealed. “And then I was pleased too.”

Just as importantly, the three points against Augsburg and Dortmund’s defeat in Wolfsburg mean Bayern have opened a gap at the top of the standings. “We lead by four points now and it’s a good position to be in, but we still need something from the trip to Dortmund,” advised Lahm. Ribéry feels it is no time to let up: “We have to keep it up. We have to work hard, keep winning, and extend the record.” Before the biggest Bundesliga clash of the year, the players now go into an international break with special significance for Mario Mandzukic and Ribéry. “The next ten days are vital,” the France star said, as he and the Croat striker aim to seize their last chance of a ticket to next summer’s World Cup. After that, the chase for points and records on the domestic front continues.