presented by
VfB Stuttgart 3 Bayern 5

Hat-trick for Mario as Bayern battle to victory

Bayern ended an occasionally problematic first half of the Bundesliga campaign on a high with a valuable win in a remarkable encounter with strugglers Stuttgart, a result and a performance which hands Louis van Gaal’s side a psychological edge ahead of the teams’ cup meeting in three days’ time, but also bodes well for the double winners’ domestic ambitions in the new year.

The 40,500 capacity crowd at the partially-renovated Mercedes-Benz-Arena saw Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller and Franck Ribery crack three past the woeful home defence in a devastating quarter-hour before half-time. Stuttgart sub Martin Harnik pulled one back soon after the restart, but Gomez instantly restored the visitors’ three-goal lead and then completed his hat-trick to put FCB four clear before the hour was up.

Harnik scored again and Christian Gentner sneaked one in at the far post as the game took an unexpected twist midway through the second period, but FCB eventually restored a semblance of order to make certain of the points.

The win means Van Gaal’s men lie fifth in the Bundesliga standings at the midpoint of the campaign on 29 points from 17 matches, four off Leverkusen and Mainz in third and second, but still 14 adrift of leaders Dortmund. Bayern’s final fixture before the winter break is on the same ground against the same opponents in the last sixteen of the cup next Wednesday.