Created on 18-10-2014 at 17:20 PM
The meeting between the Bundesliga’s top and bottom clubs emphatically went with the form book on Saturday as Bayern demolished struggling Werder Bremen 6-0 and set off with a big win, including a first brace in 321 German top flight appearances for Philipp Lahm, into what Pep Guardiola called ‘a crucial month’ including a run of seven games in 22 days.
The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the home team turn in a blistering first 45 minutes and score almost at will against the cowed visitors, with Lahm, Xabi Alonso with his first for the club, Thomas Müller and Mario Götze making the score 4-0 at the end of a one-sided half. Franck Ribery returned from injury as a sub on the hour, before Lahm completed his momentous double strike ten minutes from time and Götze made it a round half-dozen with four minutes left.
The champions, who have not conceded a goal in more than 12 hours of football, now have 20 points from eight games and are four ahead of new chief pursuers Mönchengladbach at the head of the standings. The Reds’ busy mid-autumn period continues with two challenging away fixtures, in the Champions League against AS Roma on Tuesday and the top-of-the-table Bundesliga trip to Gladbach on Sunday 26 October.
Four new faces
Guardiola made four changes to the team that comprehensively beat Hannover 4-0 two weeks ago, with Jérôme Boateng restored to the team after a two-game absence with injury, and Götze, Müller and young Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also in from the start. Robert Lewandowski began on the bench, with Xherdan Shaqiri, Juan Bernat and Medhi Benatia also alongside Ribéry in the dugout.
It meant the leaders lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Boateng, birthday boy Dante and David Alaba at the back, Alonso in the holding role, captain Lahm and Hojbjerg in the centre, and Arjen Robben, Müller and Götze up front.
Bremen boss Robin Dutt included two players with FCB connections in his matchday squad: Felix Kroos, the younger brother of former FCB man Toni, and ex-Red Nils Petersen.
Four first-half goals
The home side passed and moved fluently after referee Bastian Dankert whistled the match underway, with early half-chances for Götze and Müller, although Werder kept it tight at the back and quarter of an hour had gone before FCB’s first corner. There was a cheer three minutes later when Mr Dankert gave the vanishing spray seen at the World Cup in Brazil its debut at the Arena, but Bremen keeper Raphael Wolf punched Alaba’s free-kick clear of the danger zone.
Bayern’s Austria star was involved in the opening goal on 20 minutes with the ball into the box for Müller to tee up Lahm, the captain steadying himself before crashing a half-volley past Wolf from 15 yards. That clearly unnerved the visitors and Bayern moved into overdrive with chances for Lahm and Robben, before Hojbjerg won a 27th-minute free-kick 20 yards out, Alaba and Müller dummy-ran over the ball, the Bremen defenders leapt into the air, and Alonso stroked home his maiden goal in the Bundesliga with a cheeky shot under the defensive wall.
FCB dominated at will now with Robben hitting the side-netting and Götze aiming just too high, but Guardiola’s team still went four up before the break. The third goal came on 43 minutes when Sebastian Prödl fouled Müller on the 18-yard line, Mr Dankert consulted his assistant and gave the penalty, and the Germany striker himself stepped up to convert. There was still time for Götze to show sublime skill on the stroke of half-time, controlling an Alaba cross and turning past Assani Lukimya in one movement before curling Bayern’s fourth into the far corner.
Two-goal second period
Bernat took over from Alaba for the second 45 minutes and FCB generally shifted down through the gears, although Lahm and Co were always good for dangerous moments when they chose to pick up the pace. Both Götze and Robben failed to put away good chances, before the stadium rose to acclaim Ribery’s return in place of Robben on the hour, with Shaqiri also taking over from Alonso.
Despite Bremen’s slightly stiffer resistance after half-time, the Reds had not quite had enough and there were more goals to come in a rousing finish to the match. Lahm completed his first double strike on 79 minutes after a neat interchange of passes in the box with Shaqiri, and Götze claimed a brace of his own four minutes from time with a rasping if slightly deflected drive after some fine build-up play involving Bernat, Ribery and Müller. The performance was thrilling from a Bayern point of view and promises much for the rest of the campaign.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley