FC Bayern beat Werder Bremen 2-0 on Saturday, extending their blistering run of league victories against the men from the north to 14 straight. Bayern dominated proceedings throughout but failed to make it count for 70 minutes as openings proved few and far between. It ultimately took individual quality to overcome Werder's dogged defending, Robert Lewandowski bagging a late and match-winning brace.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer between the sticks and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Arturo Vidal, Corentin Tolisso and Thiago took up station in midfield, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry starting out wide, looking to serve lone striker Lewandowski.
Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the XI that saw off Leverkusen in last week's Bundesliga opener. Neuer made his comeback after breaking his foot in April, replacing Sven Ulreich, with Thiago and Robben taking over from Sebastian Rudy and Thomas Müller. Kingsley Coman came on for Robben after the hour before Ribéry gave way to Müller. Rudy replaced Vidal in the closing stages.
The 42,100 full house at the Weser Stadion saw the German record champions signal their intent from the off, and their early pressure almost paid off when a Tolisso effort crashed off the crossbar following a mix-up in the Bremen box after six minutes. By that time Hummels had already sent a header just over the bar, with Robben warming home keeper Jiri Pavlenka's gloves.
Werder's netminder was frequently called into action, thwarting a number of Bayern chances. It was all FCB in the first half-hour, Bremen parking the bus and breaking only occasionally. Alaba and Kimmich miscued from distance and a Robben header sailed wide, but the Reds failed to make their dominance count in the first half due to a lack of sharpness at times.
Lewy saves the day
Proceedings were similar after the restart. Bayern kept rifling from distance, Pavlenka clawing away a number of crosses and proving equal to two efforts by Vidal as an element of niggle briefly entered the match.
It took Lewandowski's deadly quality to break the deadlock. 70 minutes into the contest it seemed Lady Luck might be smiling in the home side's direction, but Coman got hold of the ball in the Bremen box with a brilliant first touch and rasped a drive into the danger area, Lewandowski's astute backheel sending the ball into the net. The Poland captain soon produced another wonderful piece of skill. He eluded a number of opponents before finishing the flowing move with a double nutmeg that ended up in the back of the net, closing out the contest. The home side were unable to respond, Müller and Lewandowski missing chances in the dying embers of the match before referee Bastian Dankert blew for full-time.
The result means Bayern top the embryonic league table for now. A large number of FCB pros will be away on national team duty during the international break. The Bavarians contest a friendly against Offenbacher Kickers on Wednesday before returning to competitive action on 9 September, when they travel to face Hoffenheim.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Werder Bremen - FC Bayern 0-2 (H-T: 0-0)
- See our live ticker to relive the match action
Pavlenka - Bauer, Sané, Veljkovic - Gebre Selassie, Augustinsson - M. Eggestein (Bargfrede 76), Gondorf (Kainz 76), Delaney - Bartels (J. Eggestein 84), Kruse
Zetterer, Caldirola, Garcia, Johannsson
Neuer - Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba - Vidal (Rudy 85), Tolisso, Thiago - Robben (Coman 64), Ribéry (Müller 73) - Lewandowski
Ulreich, Friedl, Martínez, Rafinha
Bastian Dankert (Rostock)
0-1 Lewandowski (72), 0-2 Lewandowski (75)
M. Eggestein / Vidal