Created on 23-10-2013 at 22:35 PM
Bayern are sitting pretty at the halfway point in their Champions League Group D campaign after effortlessly maintaining their perfect record in Wednesday’s meeting with Viktoria Plzen. The vastly superior Bavarians never allowed the limited Czech champions a sniff of a chance and are now seemingly cruising towards a berth in the last sixteen.
The 68,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the home side stamp their authority on the match from the off and take an overdue 25th-minute lead through fit-again Franck Ribery’s penalty. David Alaba doubled the advantage eight minutes before half-time, and it would have been a lot more if not for a brave performance by visiting keeper Matus Kozacik. But Munich marched on after the break and excellent goals by the outstanding Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger made it four by the midpoint of the second half, with sub Mario Götze adding a terrific stoppage-time fifth to complete the rout.
Thanks to a third straight win and the maximum nine points from three fixtures, the treble winners lead the section by three points from Manchester City, 2-1 winners away to CSKA Moscow earlier in the evening. FCB travel to the Czech Republic in 13 days for the return against Viktoria where another win would all but guarantee their place in the knockout rounds, but the Reds are next in action on Saturday when Hertha Berlin visit Munich in the Bundesliga.
Ribery returns, Götze on the bench
FCB coach Pep Guardiola made three changes to the team from the 4-1 victory over Mainz at the weekend, bringing in Daniel van Buyten and Alaba for Jerome Boateng (suspended) and Dante (gashed foot). Ribery also returned to the line-up after shaking off an ankle injury, with Thomas Müller joining the likes of Götze, Javi Martinez and Jan Kirchhoff on the bench.
The Champions League holders started with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Van Buyten, Contento and Alaba in the back four, Philipp Lahm in defensive midfield, Arjen Robben and Ribery in the wide positions, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos in the centre, and Mario Mandzukic up top.
Plzen boss Pavel Vrba, dismayed by his side’s home Gambrinus League draw with lowly Slavia Prague last Saturday, warned his men to shake off their complacency and defend with heart and commitment, ordering veteran skipper Pavel Horvath and former Hertha centre-back Roman Hubnik to lead by example.
Franck and David seal first half lead
After Irish referee Alan Kelly whistled play underway on a rainy night in Bavaria, the blue-shirted home side swarmed around the away penalty box as Kozacik made a nervy start, spilling Alaba’s free-kick and flapping at a Kroos effort, Mandzukic heading the loose ball wide and then setting up Robben for a sliding effort into the side-netting.
Ribery was causing havoc down the left, with Kroos and Alaba both testing the more confident Kozacik on the quarter-hour, and Ribery himself drawing a diving save from the keeper. A lead was overdue and finally arrived after 25 minutes, Ribery beating Kozacik from the spot following Hubnik’s clumsy challenge on Robben.
The Plzen keeper now put up a one-man show of resistance with superb saves to deny Mandzukic and Van Buyten, and a more or less regulation stop from Schweinsteiger’s skidding drive, but the Slovak international was powerless to prevent Alaba doubling the lead in the 37th minute when Schweini and Mandzukic combined to release the Austrian for a run across the face of the box and crisp right-foot finish.
FCB kept up the pressure and Reznik cleared Robben’s dinked shot off the line, before Kozacik brilliantly kept out the Dutchman’s header, Schweinsteiger blasted into the side-netting, and Kroos twice came up short against the Viktoria shot-stopper before half-time.
Great goals keep on coming
Bayern knocked the ball around with great composure after the restart and created regular chances, Schweinsteiger chipping just wide of the far post, Mandzukic turning the ball into the net but being flagged offside in the 58th minute, and Ribery making it three in the 61st minute with a brilliant twisting run past three defenders and a dinked finish.
Götze came on a couple of minutes later as Guardiola handed Lahm a well-earned rest, and the sub was at once wriggling into the box and teeing up Schweinsteiger to spin on a sixpence and lash a left-foot shot past Kozacik for the fourth goal.
Götze chipped against the top of the bar as FCB broke after Plzen’s first corner of the match, before the stadium rose to acclaim Ribery when he handed over to Müller in the 67th minute. Claudio Pizarro replaced Mandzukic for the last 20 minutes and immediately aimed a header too close to the keeper, before the match began to resemble a training ground exercise with the Czechs desperately practising their defending.
Fortunately for Vrba’s men, Müller and Götze twice shot wide and Kozacik saved well from Pizarro and Schweinsteiger, but before Mr Kelly blew for time on the one-sided encounter, Götze added a stoppage-time fifth with a skilful touch and finish from Robben’s raking pass.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley