Created on 23-05-2015 at 17:20 PM by Chris Hamley
Bayern brought down the curtain on another fine season with a convincing 2-0 home victory over FSV Mainz on Saturday, before the Munich giants and their global family turned to the serious business of celebrating the club’s 25th German championship. On a day of festivities, FCB youth product Bastian Schweinsteiger marked his 500th senior appearance for the club with a goal before skipper Philipp Lahm received the championship shield to kick off the weekend party.
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Robert Lewandowski open the scoring from the spot after 25 minutes, an accurate reflection of the champions’ conviction and authority in the first period. Schweinsteiger extended the lead three minutes after the restart as the Bavarians comfortably brought home a 25th league win of term.
The champions end the domestic campaign on 79 points from their 34 matches, a ten-point winning margin over runners-up VfL Wolfsburg and 13 more than third-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach. Once the dust settles on Sunday’s Marienplatz celebrations, the players and officials go on their annual summer leave before reporting back for pre-season training in early July. The 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign begins with the official season opener on Friday 14 August with champions Bayern as the home team.
Trio of changes for the Reds
Guardiola made three changes to the team beaten 2-1 at Freiburg last week, with Mehdi Benatia, Sebastian Rode and Mitch Weiser giving way to Dante, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller. Javi Martinez and Claudio Pizarro were once again joined on the bench by FCB II keeper Ivan Lucic in the absence of Pepe Reina and Tom Starke to suspension and injury respectively.
The home team lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Dante, Jerome Boateng and Juan Bernat in defence, Xabi Alonso in the holding role, Schweinsteiger and captain Lahm in central midfield, and Mario Götze, Müller and Lewandowski in attack.
Lewy makes no mistake
After veteran referee Thorsten Kinhöfer whistled play underway, the men in red seized the early initiative and Lahm directed the first chance at FSV keeper Loris Karius before Müller came up inches short of connecting with a Schweinsteiger chip. There was a scary moment on 14 minutes when Karius collided with the masked Lewandowski, but the Pole was fit to continue and helped out in the move that led to the next headed chance for Schweinsteiger.
Karius saved well from Boateng as the Reds upped the tempo, but the keeper was powerless to prevent Lewandowski opening the scoring from the spot after 25 minutes when Mainz centre-back Niko Bungert clearly handled Schweinsteiger’s header from Alonso’s corner.
Götze was crowded out in the box, Johannes Geis warmed Neuer’s gloves for the first time from long range, Dante just failed to connect with Alonso’s free-kick and Schweinsteiger headed wide as the bulk of the action took place in front of Karius, although there was a let-off at the other end when the unmarked Yunus Malli glanced a header wide of the far stick before the interval.
Basti’s magic moment
The second half opened with Weiser on for Müller, but it was milestone man Schweinsteiger who had the crowd on its feet with a curled finish from Lewandowski’s assist to double the lead three minutes after the break. It was still game on at this point with Julian Baumgartlinger firing straight at Neuer when scoring looked easier and the Germany keeper bravely denying Malli, before Rode replaced Alonso in midfield.
FCB kept up the pressure, Karius palming away Lewandowski’s header, Rode floating a left-footed effort wide of the target and Weiser trying his luck but to no avail, before veteran Claudio Pizarro took over from Lewandowski for the last 20 minutes.
Pizza was immediately denied by Karius, Neuer looked sharp to thwart Argentine hitman Pablo de Blasis, and the Mainz shot-stopper again saved from the Peruvian as the game entered its closing stages.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley