Created on 09-11-2013 at 17:20 PM
Yet another record fell to super Bayern on Saturday as the champions’ 2-0 victory over Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg means Pep Guardiola’s side are now unbeaten in an unprecedented 37 Bundesliga matches. Even better, Dortmund’s defeat away to Wolfsburg means the treble winners stretch their lead at the top of the standings to four points with a third of the season gone.
The ecstatic 71,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the treble winners set off at a whirlwind pace and take an early lead through Jerome Boateng. On-fire Franck Ribery doubled the advantage with a superb free-kick on 42 minutes, after which the dominant men in red did what was necessary to bank three more points and a tenth win of the season, sealed with the last kick of the match from the penalty spot by sub Thomas Müller.
Quite apart from smashing Hamburg’s 30-year-old record for the longest unbeaten streak, the assured victory sees Bayern move onto 32 points from 12 matches and extend their lead over Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the standings to four points. Following the last international break of the calendar year, the Bavarians are back in action on Saturday 23 November in the mouth-watering clash away to closest rivals BVB.
Four new faces for FCB
Boss Guardiola made four changes from the 1-0 Champions League success away to Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday. Jerome Boateng and Dante returned to central defence in place of Daniel van Buyten and Diego Contento, with Javi Martinez replacing long-term absentee Bastian Schweinsteiger. In attack, Mario Mandzukic took over from Thomas Müller, who dropped to a strong bench including Arjen Robben and featuring Thiago for the first time since late August.
The home line-up comprised Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Boateng, Dante and David Alaba in defence, Martinez in front of the back four, Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm and Toni Kroos in midfield, and Mario Götze roving in the space behind Mandzukic.
Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl, a Bayern reserve player in the late 1990s, opted for Marwin Hitz in goal rather than veteran Alex Manninger. FCA sporting director Stefan Reuter, who made 95 appearances for FCB in his playing career, insisted his side had a chance of taking something from the match but conceded it would need “luck and a miracle”.
One-sided first half
After referee Peter Gagelmann set the match in motion, the home side powered off the blocks in thrilling style and made early chances with Rafihna loosing off a sighter and Hitz racing from goal to deny Mandzukic. From the ensuing fourth-minute corner, Dante flicked a header to the back post where Boateng spun on a sixpence and hammered a left-foot shot into the far corner of the net, showing the reactions and instinct normally associated with a top striker.
FCB went for the jugular now but Hitz denied Ribery, Alaba curled a free-kick a shade too high, and Ribery’s drive bobbled past the far post. The pace dropped a little as FCA gained a toehold towards the midpoint of the half, but the half-hour mark came and went without Neuer having to make a save. At the other end Kroos twice fired over the bar, before Tobias Werner lofted the visitors’ first actual shot into the crowd with 37 minutes on the clock.
The champions were two up five minutes later and it was all due to UEFA Best Player in Europe Ribery. The Frenchman’s mazy dribble across the edge of the box could only be stopped by a foul, Ribery himself arrowing a superb direct-free-kick from 18 yards round the defensive wall and past Hitz.
Controlled and aggressive FCB
The second half opened with an Augsburg chance but Jan Moravek screwed a half-volley well wide of the target. Otherwise it was a familiar pattern with the men in red controlling possession and rolling inexorably towards Hitz’ goal. However, the keeper dealt capably with efforts from Alaba and Mandzukic, Ribery whistled a drive past the far upright, and the Frenchman’s next effort landed in the south terrace.
FCA held firm for a spell despite FCB’s clear footballing superiority, with Martinez nodding wide in the 66th minute just before Robben took over from Götze. The Dutchman’s first effort was blocked, Lahm ballooned a shot high into the stands, and then just as a huge cheer greeted the scoreflash from the Wolfsburg-Dortmund clash, Mandzukic and Robben got into a tangle with the goal at each man’s mercy.
Müller replaced Rafinha, Kroos gave way to Jan Kirchhoff, and Lahm reverted to right-back for the closing stages, which the home side saw out supremely comfortably with a smattering of chances, although Hitz saved capably from Kirchhoff and Robben and Müller’s cut-back was hacked off the line, before the Germany striker stroked home a penalty for handball with the last kick of a history-making encounter.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley