Created on 30-11-2013 at 17:20 PM
Bayern maintained their extraordinary winning run with a workmanlike 2–0 victory over promoted Eintracht Braunschweig in Saturday afternoon’s 14th Bundesliga fixture of the season. The result means Pep Guardiola’s side maintain their lead in the standings, and have now not lost in the league for 39 games in a row.
The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Arjen Robben claim the man of the match honours. The Dutch ace struck a first-half brace for the treble winners, who remain a tidy four points clear of Bayer Leverkusen and seven ahead of Borussia Dortmund in the table. Guardiola’s men are next in action on Wednesday in the challenging DFB Cup trip to Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg.
Three days after the energy-sapping trip to Moscow for the Champions League meeting with CSKA, Guardiola made two changes to his starting line-up, with Daniel van Buyten and Thiago coming in for Jérôme Boateng and injured captain Philipp Lahm (hamstring). Mario Mandzukic and Diego Contento both returned to the squad after shaking off muscular problems and took their seats on the bench. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wore the Bayern captain’s armband in a home match for the first time.
“It won’t exactly be a pleasant day out on Saturday,” Braunschweig boss Torsten Lieberknecht frankly admitted in the build-up to the clash between the top and bottom clubs. The coach unsurprisingly sent out his men in a defensive formation with instructions to lie deep and park the bus. However, the plan only worked for two minutes: Mario Götze threaded a superb pass through to Robben who produced a skilled and inventive finish to open the scoring.
FCB were completely in control from that point on, as Braunschweig stuck rigidly to their defensive strategy despite going a goal behind. It meant the home side were denied space to pick up the pace with rapid passing interchanges, and chances were few and far between for a spell. Bayern were forced to show great patience, but Robben intervened again after half an hour, doubling his and his team’s tally on the afternoon and handing the German champions a comfortable half-time lead.
There were no substitutions at the break but promoted Braunschweig showed considerably more aggression and enterprise after the restart, creating chances for Marco Caligiuri (47) and Ermin Bicakcic (55). The Reds never lost control of proceedings, but also struggled to produce meaningful openings in front of goal. indeed, 71 minutes had been played before Robben loosed off Munich’s first shot of the second half.
However, the Dutchman could not add to his total on the afternoon, and fortunately for the champions neither could the feisty visitors, whose determination and persistence led to presentable openings for Kumbela (72), Korte (72) and Kratz (85), whose deflected effort came off Neuer’s crossbar. But Bayern saw it through to the end and posted an ultimately deserved victory to maintain their four-point lead in the table over Bayer Leverkusen.
First half highlights
2nd minute: Sublime pass from Götze to Robben, who takes a brilliant first touch before firing goalwards. The ball initially comes back off the post, but Robben nods home the rebound to hand his side the early lead.
19th minute: Dante’s header from a Kroos corner flies towards the net but Boland hacks clear off the line.
30th minute: Diagonal pass from Kroos to Robben, the Dutchman wrong-footing three defenders and doubling the advantage from the edge of the box.
35th minute: Martínez’ 22-yard shot is saved by Davari.
39th minute: Götze’s shot on the turn proves a comfortable take for Davari
47th minute: The visitors first shot, delivered by Caligiuri. The effort is deflected by Dante but captain for the day Neuer makes the save.
55th minute: A Braunschweig corner eludes Müller and Van Buyten in the centre, but Bicakcic shoots wide at the back post from close range.
71st minute: Robben arrows a 20-yard freekick towards the top corner, but Davari prevents side going three goals down.
72nd minute: Braunschweig on the break, Neuer initially saves from Kumbela, before Alaba turns the follow-up away for a corner.
81st minute: Rafinha sends Robben scampering towards goal, but Davari again prevents the Netherlands star completing his hat-trick.
85th minute: A deflected Kratz freekick lands on the Bayern crossbar.