Successful CL dress rehearsal
FC Bayern made a winning start to the first phase of midweek games of the season. After two matches their Bundesliga record is immaculate, and their goal difference is impressive. Now the Reds start the Champions League group stage buoyed by Friday's hard-fought but ultimately deserved 2-0 victory away to FC Schalke. They entertain FC Rostov at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
"These were three very important points," declared skipper Philipp Lahm, and added: "Taken altogether we can be pleased. Two matches, six points, a clean sheet, an 8-0 goal difference - we can't complain." If the Supercup final and the DFB Cup match are included FCB and new head coach Carlo Ancelotti boast four wins in four competitive fixtures, with 15 goals scored and not a single one conceded.
"We're fully on track," commented netminder Manuel Neuer, who is looking forward to the upcoming challenges in a three-day rhythm. "I think we'll profit from it. Especially after the summer break it's important to get match practice and establish automatisms. I'm a supporter of many games," Neuer explained after returning to his old stomping ground. "At the end of the day we're glad we return with a 2-0 victory."
Lewandowski undoes Schalke's battling
Two weeks after the impressive 6-0 opener against Werder Bremen the Ruhr valley outfit proved equal opponents for the most part of the match. "It was difficult for us, we didn't find our way into the match especially in the first half," analysed the World's Best Goalkeeper. In the first half the team "made way too many mistakes" and "didn't find good solutions in our build-up play," added Lahm.
The German record champions thus needed "patience and tenacity" (Neuer) to win the contest. Striker Robert Lewandowski undid Schalke's battling with ten minutes to go, scoring his fourth league goal in the second match. The Poland international then put up sub Joshua Kimmich, who netted his first goal in his 40th competitive fixture deep into injury time, handing European champion and recent arrival Renato Sanches a successful debut for the German record champions.
"Schalke made it very difficult for us. It was very balanced in the first 60 minutes, then we had more chances and scored. Schalke were better in the first half, we were better in the second one," Ancelotti summarised. The Italian is the first coach since Ottmar Hitzfeld in 1998 to start his spell on the Bayern bench with four victories in competitive fixtures. Hitzfeld won his first five matches back then. Carlo Ancelotti could equal this mark on Tuesday, when Bayern entertain Rostov in Europe's elite club competition.