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Fourth win in four

Robben returns, FCB go clear at the top

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In-form Bayern moved two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Wednesday evening thanks to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Hertha Berlin, the only other team with a perfect record prior to kick-off. It was one-way football most of the time in the meeting between the sides lying first and second going into Matchday 4 as the slick and classy Reds claimed the points with goals from Franck Ribery, Thiago and comeback kid Arjen Robben.

The Bavarians on 12 points lead the standings by two from fast-starting FC Köln, and by three from Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha. Carlo Ancelotti’s team return to league action on Saturday afternoon away to Hamburg.

With the stomach bug that decimated his team at the weekend already consigned to history, Ancelotti made five changes to his starting line-up. David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and Thiago came in for Kingsley Coman, Joshua Kimmich, Rafinha, Renato Sanches and Juan Bernat.

Franck on target

Prompted by Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal, FCB roared off the blocks and created a string of early chances. Vidal set up Robert Lewandowski for a header back across goal, but visiting keeper Rune Jarstein made an excellent reflex stop. Thomas Müller’s eight-yard shot flew wide from Ribery’s volleyed cross, before Javi Martinez headed goalwards from an Alaba corner only to see his effort cleared off the line by Marvin Plattenhardt.

But a goal was coming and duly arrived on 16 minutes when Ribery brilliantly twisted and turned his way past a clutch of defenders before sliding home the memorable opener from close range.

It was all much to the delight of the vast majority of the 75,000 full house at the Allianz Arena as the home team continued to dominate their opponents at will. Lewandowski and Müller combined to release Ribery only for the winger to fire wide, before Lewandowski latched on to Boateng’s long ball but lost out in the one-on-one with Jarstein, who was relieved a little later when the Pole lobbed wide of the target after breaking clear. The men from the capital resisted more sternly towards the end of the first period but the Reds’ half-time lead was utterly deserved.

Arjen returns and scores

The unchanged home team kept the game comfortably under control for the first quarter-hour of the second 45 minutes, but Pal Dardai’s visitors were a stronger proposition now and Neuer made a fine save to deny sub Valentin Stocker on the hour. Ancelotti now opted to switch things around with Mats Hummels replacing Boateng and, to a huge round of applause, Arjen Robben making his long-awaited comeback in place of Müller.

The Dutchman made an immediate impact and set up Lewandowski only for the striker to be called offside, but it mattered not at all when Thiago capitalised on Allan’s catastrophic blunder in his own area and slotted home to make it 2-0 after 68 minutes.

The biggest cheer of the evening came five minutes later when Robben marked his return with a typical dart inside and left-foot finish for Munich’s third. Coman took over from Ribery in the closing stages as the champions closed out their fourth win in four matches this term.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley


FC Bayern - Hertha BSC 3-0 (H-T: 1-0)
FC Bayern

Neuer - Lahm, Boateng (Hummels 63), Martínez, Alaba - Xabi Alonso - Vidal, Thiago – Müller (Robben 65), Lewandowski, Ribéry (Coman 76)


Ulreich, Bernat, Sanches, Kimmich

Hertha BSC

Jarstein - Pekarik, Langkamp, Stark, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger - Weiser (Allagui 84), Allan – Esswein (Stocker 59), Haraguchi – Ibisevic (Schieber 59)


Kraft, Skjelbred, Kurt, Hegeler

Referee Fritz (Korb)
Attendance 75,000 (capacity)

1-0 Ribéry (16), 2-0 Thiago (68), 3-0 Robben (73)

Yellow cards - / -