presented by
Bayern 2 Nürnberg 0

Ribery and Robben seal deserved derby triumph

On the Bundesliga’s 50th birthday, superstars Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben ensured Bayern maintained their perfect start to the 2013/14 top flight campaign with a goal apiece in a 2-0 victory over Bavarian neighbours Nürnberg. The game also marked Mario Götze’s debut as FCB set a new club record of 28 league fixtures without defeat, scoring for the 40th straight game for good measure.

The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena watched Pep Guardiola’s side utterly dominate the first half of the187th all-Bavaria derby but struggle for clear-cut openings against their disciplined opponents. David Alaba saw his 33rd-minute penalty saved as FCN keeper Raphael Schäfer played a blinder, and there was no way through for the champions before the break.

The Reds steadily ratcheted up the pressure after the restart and created chance after chance, but it took until the 69th minute before Ribery finally broke the deadlock with a rare headed goal. Robben added a 78th-minute second and it could easily have been more as the home side wrapped up a fully merited victory. 

The result takes Bayern onto nine points from three matches, behind Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference at the top of the table. The Reds now travel to Freiburg on Tuesday, in a fixture rearranged to accommodate the treble winners’ UEFA Super Cup date with Chelsea in Prague next Friday.

Boss Guardiola made three changes to the team from the previous weekend’s victory away to Frankfurt, with Götze in for his debut, Thiago making his first start, and Arjen Robben restored to the line-up. Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and Xherdan Shaqiri dropped to the bench. 

FCB began with Manuel Neuer in goal, and a back four of Alaba, Dante, Jerome Boateng and captain Philipp Lahm. Bastian Schweinsteiger anchored the midfield, with Robben and fit-again Franck Ribery on the wings, Thiago and Götze in attacking midfield, and Mario Mandzukic as the central striker.

Nürnberg coach Michael Wiesinger, a member of FCB’s Champions League winning squad in 2001, asked former Bayern youth and junior pro Markus Feulner to orchestrate his side’s effort from midfield, and brought back US international Tim Chandler in defence.

Once referee Christian Dingert whistled play underway, it became clear FCB were actually playing a 3-2-4-1 formation when in possession, with Lahm pushing up into right midfield in support of Schweinsteiger. But the shape was nothing if not flexible, as it was the holding midfielder who came up inches short of connecting with Ribery’s diagonal centre in a brisk opening phase.

Bayern were completely in control of the ball, but the first real chance was a scare for FCB as FCN striker Daniel Ginczek crashed a shot off Neuer’s crossbar. The home side continued to probe for the opener, Ribery shooting into the side-netting, Schäfer saving at Robben’s feet, and the Dutch ace sliding a free-kick wide, before Mr Dingert chose not to penalise Argentine hardman Javier Pinola’s blatant barge on Mandzukic in the box, and the big Croat headed the next chance too close to Schäfer.

Penalty shout waved away

The opening goal looked a certainly on 33 minutes when Alaba stepped up to the spot after Per Nilsson wrestled Robben to the ground in the box, but Schäfer comfortably held the Austrian’s penalty. Thiago aimed too high, Ginczek miscued the visitors’ second half-chance, Schäfer smothered from the charging Alaba, Boateng tested the FCN keeper with a dribbler, and Robben put the final shot of the goalless first half over the bar.

The pattern remained the same in the early exchanges after the restart, with Nürnberg massed in defence and Munich patiently seeking the gaps. Alaba fired over the bar, Mandzukic again headed straight at Schäfer and Thiago found the crowd after Ribery’s excellent dribble, before Schäfer tipped Mandu’s header away for a corner, saved bravely from Götze, and beat out another Mandzukic headed effort.

Franck makes the breakthrough

Müller replaced Thago after the hour, but the Germany international put a clear chance into the side-netting and came up just short of Robben’s superb pass. Kroos took over from Götze, but it was Ribery who finally ended the stalemate after 69 minutes with a superb header from Lahm’s delicate chip. The Reds moved in for the kill, Mandzukic heading over and Alaba dragging his shot wide after a great run, before Robben made it two 12 minutes from time with a right-footed finish after a trademark angled thrust into the box.

Shaqiri replaced man of the match Ribery for the last ten minutes and soon combined with Alaba to set up Müller for a drive just past the upright, before the Swiss star himself hit the outside of the post and Robben volleyed inches wide as FCB ended the game totally in control.

 Live match report for by Chris Hamley