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Darmstadt 0 Bayern 3

Patient Reds down Darmstadt and go top

Bayern marked the start of the 182nd Oktoberfest in style on Saturday afternoon, making it five wins out of five in the Bundesliga this term with a fully merited 3-0 victory away to previously unbeaten newcomers SV Darmstadt. The result in the first meeting between the teams for almost 34 years means Pep Guardiola’s men are now the league’s outright leaders, at least overnight.

The 17,000 capacity crowd at the venerable Böllenfalltor Stadium saw Arturo Vidal blast the champions into a 20th-minute lead with his first Bundesliga goal for the Reds. Darmstadt resisted stoutly but quality prevailed after the break and Kingsley Coman crowned a good debut in the starting line-up with the 62nd-minute second, comebacker Sebastian Rode adding the third only a minute later.

The men from Munich now top the standings on the maximum 15 points, although Dortmund can draw level if they beat Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon. The top flight action comes thick and fast in the traditionally packed early-autumn period as the Bavarians entertain third-placed Wolfsburg in Tuesday’s big game, before travelling to face high-flying FSV Mainz on Saturday 26 September.

Rotation time for Pep

For the first time this season, Guardiola comprehensively shuffled his deck with five changes to the team that beat Olympiacos in the midweek Champions League opener.

The survivors from the clash in Piraeus were Manuel Neuer, Douglas Costa, Jerome Boateng, Juan Bernat, David Alaba and Vidal, who were joined by Rafinha and Mario Götze, with Rode making a first start since Matchday 33 last term, and Coman and Joshua Kimmich beginning a Bundesliga match in Bayern colours for the first time.

It also gave the FCB bench a stellar look as backup keeper Sven Ulreich sat alongside Thiago, Javi Martinez, Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller, with Robert Lewandowski excused duty after picking up a knock in midweek.

Arturo with the opener

After referee Felix Zwayer whistled play underway, the pattern for the afternoon’s entertainment was quickly established as the visitors controlled possession and the minnows vigorously defended, restricting FCB to Vidal’s slightly miscued effort from a fine Coman pass after ten minutes and Costa’s free-kick into the side-netting nine minutes later.

But the men in red had the lead with 20 minutes on the clock after Costa weaved past two men and found Vidal, the Chilean taking a touch to control before clattering a 25-yard piledriver into the net off home keeper Christian Mathenia’s left-hand post.

The Lilies were initially undeterred and Neuer was forced into a scrambling save from rangy striker Dominik Stroh-Engel, before Marcel Heller fired into the side-netting after the ball ran loose from a tangle between Stroh-Engel and Boateng. However, Bayern were refused what looked a clear penalty on 33 minutes when Fabian Holland felled Rode in the box, Mr Zwayer waving the strong claim aside. Costa arrowed a shot wide but there were no further chances of note before the interval.

Double whammy seals the points

The first ten minutes after the restart were a stalemate as the home team fought for every loose ball and Guardiola’s men probed for openings. Mathenia clawed away Coman’s deflected shot and Götze speared into the side-netting from a glorious Kimmich pass, but at the other end Lilies’ sub and former FCB man Sandro Wagner failed to make the most of a headed opening.

But the champions never looked in trouble and effectively wrapped up the points with a double whammy just after the hour: Coman opened his Bayern account and made it 2-0 after excellent work down the right by Rode, who himself added the third less than a minute later with a solo run, shot and finish at the second attempt after his initial effort rebounded from the far post.

Martinez and Müller now replaced Vidal and Costa, but Darmstadt’s brave resistance was in any case broken, evidenced by near own-goals from both Aytac Sulu and Holland. Alonso took over from Boateng for the last 15 minutes but the Spaniard lofted a direct free-kick over the bar as the game wound down to its conclusion and another three points for the champions.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley