Created on 02-02-2014 at 19:19 PM
Champions Bayern posted a third Bundesliga win in three matches since the mid-season break with an emphatic 5-0 victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday afternoon, made all the more enjoyable to watch by the pure class of the likes of Thiago, Franck Ribery and Mario Götze. The fully merited 17th win of the campaign sees FCB restore their commanding 13-point lead at the top of the table and extend their exceptional unbeaten league run to 44 games.
The 71,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw Götze volley a sumptuous 12th-minute opener for Pep Guardiola’s dominant team, who doubled the lead before the end of a one-sided first half when Ribery netted a minute before the break. The Reds hit the woodwork twice as they continued to boss the second half play, with Arjen Robben scoring just two minutes after coming on as a sub and Dante adding a fourth with 20 minutes to go. Thiago set a new league record for number of touches of the ball in a single match before the excellent Mario Mandzukic rounded off the win in the last minute.
The win means FCB are up to a record 53 points from the first 19 fixtures of the league programme and maintain their 13-point advantage over second-placed Leverkusen. Bayern now have a rare full week of training before returning to Bundesliga action next Saturday in the all-Bavaria derby away to resurgent rivals Nürnberg.
Franck and Mandzu return
Guardiola made two changes to the team from the dramatic 2-1 victory in Stuttgart last Wednesday, with Mario Mandzukic and fit-again Franck Ribéry coming in for Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos. The Germany pair dropped to the bench where they were joined by experienced duo Robben and Claudio Pizarro.
The treble winners’ line-up featured an unchanged defensive unit with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante and David Alaba in the back four, and captain Philipp Lahm in the holding role. Thiago and Götze played in central midfield, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ribery took the flanks, and Mandzukic lined up at centre-forward.
Frankfurt boss Armin Veh courted controversy during the week by announcing his intention to rest Sebastian Rode and Carlos Zambrano, two of his regulars but both flirting with suspension, as their services were more important in a relegation clash with Braunschweig next week. The wily coach denied he was conceding defeat before a ball had been kicked, but pointed out that anything less than a home win would be “a huge, huge upset.”
Mario and Franck in the first half
Once referee Florian Meyer whistled the game underway the first sniff of a chance actually fell to the visitors, but veteran Alex Meier scuffed his shot on the break. FCB soon imposed their authority and Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp made a fabulous save from Mandzukic’ fierce volley, before Shaqiri grazed a post in the tenth minute. The home team had the lead two minutes later anyway when Mandzukic unselfishly laid off Dante’s long pass for Götze to take one touch on his chest and thump a wonderful volley past Trapp.
There was a worrying moment for FCB fans shortly afterwards when the influential Mandzukic stayed down following a big hit from Trapp at a corner, but the Croat was able to continue after lengthy treatment. He was involved again in a flowing Munich move midway through the half only for Trapp to pull off another world-class save when Götze seemed certain to stroke home the second.
There was finally work for Neuer to do on 33 minutes when the keeper leapt brilliantly to prevent a freak deflected effort creeping in at the top corner. Ribery, Götze and Alaba were wreaking havoc down the left flank on occasional rapid bursts but Veh’s men defended in depth and somehow snuffed out the half-chances. Spanish striker Joselu shot not far over Neuer’s bar, but the next goal was always likely to come at the other end and arrived on 44 minutes when the Eintracht defence failed to deal with Mandzukic’ knock-down and Ribery slotted the loose ball inside the near post.
Pure class prevails
Alaba fashioned the first chance after the restart but was hustled off the ball, before Ribery fired too high, and Götze prodded a close-range effort off the outside of the post from Thiago’s classy reverse pass. The Reds kept up the pressure and Dante just failed to get enough on a floated free-kick, before Trapp made another good save from Rafinha, Thiago’s shot was hacked clear, and the Frankfurt keeper just managed to turn Ribery’s most delicate of chips onto the top of the crossbar.
Trapp held Götze’s drive, before Robben took over from Shaqiri for the last 25 minutes and announced his arrival in spectacular fashion two minutes later with a left-foot belter into the roof of the net from Götze’s mazy dribble to the by-line. It was four just 120 seconds later when Dante rose above the visiting defence and flicked a simple header from a corner in off the far post, but Munich had still not had enough and continued to press, with Rafinha hitting a first-time shot over the bar before Diego Contento and Pizarro replaced Alaba and Götze after 75 minutes.
There was a blow for Eintracht when the excellent Trapp was forced out of the action following a collision with Robben, young Felix Wiedwald making his top flight debut in the regular keeper’s place and almost immediately saving well from the charging Ribery. Robben skied a relatively simple chance from Contento’s driven cross a couple of minutes from time before Mandzukic broke clear on 89 minutes and deceived Wiedwald to round off the scoring and complete a comprehensive FCB victory.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley