Created on 21-02-2015 at 17:19 PM
Bayern played to a full house in the Bundesliga for the 275th time in a row on Saturday, and just like so many millions of stadium-goers before them, the 15,000 in Paderborn saw the Bavarians take all three points with a controlled and ultimately clinical display. Thanks to their 17th victory of the season the Reds stretch their overnight lead in the standings to 11 points.
The sell-out crowd at the compact Benteler Arena saw the visitors patiently chip away at the packed home defence and take a 24th-minute lead through Robert Lewandowski, the Pole doubling his and his team’s tally eight minutes before the break. Paderborn’s Florian Hartherz was sent off after 62 minutes for a foul as last man on Arjen Robben, who duly added the third from the ensuing penalty. Franck Ribery made it four after 72 minutes, sub Mitch Weiser opened his Bundesliga account with a fine lob six minutes later, and Robben powered clear at the top of the league scoring charts with his 16th of the season four minutes from time.
The result takes FCB onto 55 points from 22 matches and means Pep Guardiola’s team extend their lead over Wolfsburg at the top of the standings to 11 points, at least until the Wolves play struggling Hertha on Sunday evening. Munich return to league action next Friday at home to mid-table FC Köln.
Guardiola made three changes to the team that inflicted a record 8-0 defeat on Hamburg in the league last week, with Jérôme Boateng returning from suspension instead of Mehdi Benatia, Ribery taking over from Mario Götze, and Xabi Alonso replacing Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The champions line-up comprised Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Juan Bernat in a conventional back four, Alonso and David Alaba in central midfield, and Robben, Thomas Müller, Lewandowski and Ribery in attack.
First-half brace for Robert
After referee Bastian Dankert whistled the game in motion on a chilly but dry afternoon in east Westphalia, the pattern of the match was clear from the start with the visitors given the freedom of the park up to the final third but then running into the determined and hard-tackling home defence. SCP were set up exclusively to counter-attack and even managed the first shot at goal when Alban Meha tried his luck from long range.
However, Guardiola’s men knew they had to be patient and await their chance, and the first clear-cut opening duly produced the first goal, created by a moment of magic from Alaba in the 24th minute, the Austrian springing the offside trap with a first-time flick for Robben to set up Lewandowski for a simple finish past keeper Lukas Kruse.
FCB remained focused and were rewarded with a second goal on 37 minutes when Müller’s diagonal shot was deflected and appeared to be dribbling out for a corner, but Ribery showed devastatingly quick reactions to chase down the loose ball and square for Lewandowski to complete his brace at the near post. The half ended with a flurry of chances as Elias Kachunga and Lukas Rupp both warmed Neuer’s gloves, before Robben fizzed a left-foot daisy-cutter just shy of Kruse’s far post.
Reds rampant against ten men
SCP stayed true to their defensive tactics after the break and goalmouth action remained at a premium. Alonso and Meha both tried audacious long-range chips after spotting the respective keepers off their lines, but neither succeeded. The visitors continued to see the overwhelming majority of the ball and added a third after 63 minutes in the incident that saw the home side reduced to ten men: Hartherz bundled Robben off the ball as the Dutchman shaped to tap home Ribery’s cross and saw an obligatory red card, with Robben duly stroking home the ensuing penalty.
Munich began to find space now with both Lewandowski and Bernat coming close, and Badstuber and Boateng firing too high. Ribery showed how it should be done with a low finish from Robben’s knock-down to make it four on 72 minutes, before Sebastian Rode and Weiser replaced Alonso and Rafinha for the last quarter of an hour. Weiser made an instant impression with a lovely dinked finish to net his maiden top flight goal and make it 5-0 with 12 minutes to play, before Robben rounded off the scoring four minutes from time with a delightful near-post flick from another Ribery assist.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley