Champions FC Bayern brought down the curtain on an excellent Bundesliga campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over SC Freiburg on Saturday. Barely three minutes had been played when Arjen Robben opened the scoring in his trademark manner. Arturo Vidal doubled the lead midway through the second half, but Freiburg's Nils Petersen soon pulled one back. Franck Ribéry and Joshua Kimmich twisted the knife in the dying embers of a match that, on another day, could have easily ended in a 7-2 scoreline. The result takes the Bavarians onto 82 points from 34 matches, 15 clear of runners-up RB Leipzig.
The hosts started with Tom Starke in goal and Philipp Lahm, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba and Juan Bernat in a back four. Xabi Alonso and Vidal featured in a twin holding role behind Thomas Müller. The native Bavarian was flanked by Robben and Kingsley Coman, with Robert Lewandowski acting as lone striker. Boss Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the team that beat Leipzig in a 5-4 thriller seven days ago. Vidal, Coman and Müller replaced Kimmich, Thiago and Ribéry.
Arjen hands Bayern the lead
The boisterous 75,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the champions signal their intent from the off, and they were rewarded for their pressure after three minutes. Robben, who turned in an outstanding performance, charged down the right, cut inside and unleashed a 15-yarder that found the net with the aid of a slight deflection.
By that time visiting netminder Alexander Schwolow had already made a strong save to deny a Coman header. Bayern remained on the front foot after the opener, and Lewandowski headed in a Lahm cross only to be hauled back for a push. Boateng hobbled off following a tackle after 10 minutes, Kimmich taking over from the centre-back. Five minutes later the Poland captain found the net again, but this time the linesman raised his flag for offside. Vidal miscued a sumptuous volley from distance before the away side turned the match into an open contest, drawing a total of three fine saves from Starke before half-time.
Bayern had countless corners and a string of golden opportunities, but Schwolow made outstanding saves to deny a Kimmich header and a Lewandowski effort before an Alonso belter went over the bar, and when seasoned match official Dr Jochen Drees blew for half-time, the Munich giants had seen 72 percent of the ball and boasted 19 shots at goal, the slim 1-0 scoreline notwithstanding.
Reds add gloss in injury time
Bayern's home faithful saw the interval go into extra-time, singer Anastacia in her element and as industrious as the Bavarians had been in the first half before numerous helpers removed her stage, with players and officials alike waiting on the turf, all of them suitably amused. The hosts dominated proceedings after the restart, Schwolow saving from Lewandowski before Freiburg slowly clawed their way back into the contest, but the excellent Starke proved equal to their efforts. Bayern had another goal ruled out for offside when Müller converted a Lahm cross after the hour mark.
The second goal finally came with 20 minutes to go, when Vidal received the ball on the edge of the box and sent a fine curler into the bottom corner of the net. But the away side responded immediately, when sub Nils Petersen crowned a counter-attack, crashing an effort inside the far post.
Two Bavarians had the crowd on its feet in the closing stages, but not because they scored. A pair of legends greater than the game itself contested their final match on Saturday. Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm have won practically everything there is to win in world football, and as announced earlier in the season they are now retiring. The Spaniard left the pitch shortly before the Bayern skipper, both to thunderous applause. Ribéry and Rafinha took over.
Bayern now recovered the ball following a Freiburg corner, and Robben and Ribéry staged a counter-attack. 12 seconds and 70 yards later the Dutch winger was alone in front of Schwolow, but squared to his French counterpart in an incredibly unselfish manner, Ribéry finding the net via the inside of the post and Schwolow's fingertips. Kimmich added gloss to the scoreline when he connected with a Lewandowski header following a mix-up in the hosts' box before Drees blew for full time.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - SC Freiburg 4-1 (H-T: 1-0)
Starke - Lahm (Rafinha 87), Boateng (Kimmich 10), Alaba, Bernat - Alonso (Ribéry 82), Vidal - Robben, Müller, Coman - Lewandowski
Weinkauf, Hummels, Thiago, Sanches
Schwolow - Ignjovski, Gulde, Kempf, Günter - Haberer (Petersen 68), Höfler, Frantz (Schuster 73), Grifo - Philipp, Niederlechner
Gikiewicz, Kübler, Söyüncü, Abrashi, Nielsen
Dr Jochen Drees (Münster-Sarmsheim)
|Goals||1-0 Robben (4), 2-0 Vidal (73), 2-1 Petersen (76), 3-1 Ribéry (90+1), 4-1 Kimmich (90+4)|
Vidal / -