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Bayern 2 VfB Stuttgart 0

Götze and Ribery seal deserved win

Bayern go into the 2014/15 Champions League campaign in midweek with their confidence high after a morale-boosting Bundesliga victory over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, as the Reds made it an astonishing 12 straight wins in all competitions against their south German rivals.

The 71,137 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Pep Guardiola’s reshuffled team ease into the driving seat after quarter of an hour and take a deserved 27th-minute lead through Mario Götze. FCB always had the match under control but found clear-cut chances hard to come by against Armin Veh’s well-organised visitors, and although both Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski hit the goal frame in the second half, 85 minutes had been played before sub Franck Ribery marked his first appearance of term with his side’s second.

With three games played, the champions are now joint top of the table with Leverkusen on seven points. The double winners return to action on Wednesday with the opening Champions League fixture of term at home to Manchester City, before the Bundesliga trip to Hamburg the following Saturday.

Two new faces for Pep

Guardiola’s starting line-up showed two changes compared to the 1-1 draw away to Schalke two weeks ago, with Dante and Juan Bernat replacing Sebastian Rode and Xherdan Shaqiri. Alonso recovered from a foot problem in time to start and Franck Ribery took a seat on the bench for the first time this season. The Frenchman was joined in the dugout by new signing Mehdi Benatia, but Arjen Robben was not in the matchday squad.

The champions began with Neuer in goal and Jerome Boateng, Dante and Holger Badstuber in a nominal back three. Alonso anchored the midfield with Philipp Lahm, David Alaba, Bernat, Götze and Thomas Müller frequently swapping places ahead of him, and Robert Lewandowski at centre-forward.

Mario with the first-half opener

After referee Thorsten Kinhöfer whistled play underway the home team withstood the visitors’ brief opening flurry and soon began to make chances. Müller was unable to get any power behind a header from a Boateng cross and VfB keeper Sven Ulreich raced from goal to deny Lewandowski, before the Stuttgart goalie pulled off two fine saves in a minute against Götze and Müller.

Antonio Rüdiger headed VfB’s first chance wide from a corner but it was otherwise all FCB and the breakthrough duly arrived on 27 minutes, Götze skilfully controlling the loose ball after Alonso’s arcing free-kick and spearing a shot across Ulreich into the corner of the net.

Guardiola’s men kept up the pressure and there were half-chances for Lewandowski and Müller, with Kinhöfer waving aside the Germany man’s shout for handball in the box by Gotoku Sakai, but FCB suffered a setback on 41 minutes when Badstuber hobbled off clutching his thigh and was replaced by young Gianluca Gaudino. Lahm switched to right-back as the half drifted to a close with Munich a goal to the good.

Ribery wraps it up

The pace remained moderate for a spell after the restart before Alaba lofted a 59th-minute drive over the bar following a lovely dribble by Gaudino. Bernat and Götze both elected to pass when a shot might have been the better option and Alaba scuffed his 18-yard effort, before goalscorer Götze gave way to Ribery after 68 minutes.

Bayern had the game under control but a half-chance on the break for VfB’s Timo Werner reminded the home team that a second would make it safe. The Reds were unlucky twice in the 72nd minute when Alonso’s deflected shot looped off the angle off post and bar, with Lewandowski turning the rebound onto the upright.

Stuttgart launched a late offensive and Neuer showed all his footballing skills to clear a couple of floated passes towards his box, but the home side finally had some space now and Ribery wrapped up the points five minutes from time with a cross-shot from the tireless Lewandowski’s angled pass. Rüdiger hacked Ribery’s last-minute lob off the line as Guardiola’s men completed an ultimately routine victory.

Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley

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