FC Bayern beat Werder Bremen 4-2 on Sunday afternoon in a pulsating first home match of the new year. Jérôme Gondorf handed the courageous visitors the lead midway through the first half, but Thomas Müller levelled the scores before half-time and Robert Lewandowski put Bayern in front after the hour mark. Niklas Süle soon scored an unlucky own-goal, but Bayern's Polish hitman stepped up again to restore the lead before Müller added gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Süle and Juan Bernat in a back four. Javi Martínez anchored a midfield featuring Arjen Robben, Müller, James and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as the central striker.
Jupp Heynckes made two changes to the XI that saw off Leverkusen last weekend with Bernat and Lewandowski taking over from David Alaba and Arturo Vidal.
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a highly entertaining, up-tempo contest between two contrasting sides. Bremen sprang a surprise, pressing high up the field and rapidly transitioning from defence to attack. Five minutes had been played when James found Lewandowski in the box, but the Pole could not quite connect with the ball. Max Kruse's header soon shaved the post at the other end. Bayern shone with crisp passing and sustained combinations now but failed to find the final ball. A Müller effort was blocked before Lewandowski glanced a header over the bar.
Sven Ulreich was the busier of the keepers after 20 minutes, and Bremen made their pressure count when Kruse's through-ball found Gondorf, who just beat Ulreich to the ball and forced it over the line. Bremen were looking to double the lead but Ulreich proved equal to Thomas Delaney's 18-yarder. The champions upped the pressure but saw a number of efforts blocked. Bayern finally had the home crowd on their feet shortly before half-time, when Boateng's long ball found Müller in the box. The native Bavarian excelled with a fine first touch and an acrobatic finish, leaving Werder netminder Jiri Pavlenka with no chance.
Scorching second half
The champions went straight onto the front foot after the restart. A Ribéry cross evaded Lewandowski before the Frenchman just failed to control a Robben centre. A deflected Gondorf effort went over the bar before James' pinpoint delivery found Lewandowski, who fired just wide from 12 yards. Jupp Heynckes shuffled his deck, Vidal and Kingsley Coman replacing Martínez and Robben, and their arrivals galvanised the home side, Pavlenka making a strong save to deny Vidal.
Bayern were rewarded for their efforts when Lewandowski connected with a James cross and headed home. Munich almost settled the issue but Pavlenka stood out with a great save from Lewandowski, Ribéry seeing the rebound cleared off the line. Werder bounced back and Süle put through his own goal following a dangerous corner, but Lewandowski overcame Pavlenka once more with an outstanding header from 12 yards. Wagner replaced the Pole with 15 minutes to go. Ulreich performed miracles to deny Junuzovic' 20-yarder, but Bayern made the game safe when Müller rounded off his brace, latching onto James' most delicate of chips and crashing home, before match official Robert Kampka blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 47 points from 19 matches, 16 clear of Bayer Leverkusen at least until Schalke's meeting with Hannover. The Reds are back in action next Saturday, when they entertain Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
- See our live ticker to relive the match action
Ulreich - Kimmich, Boateng, Süle, Bernat - Martínez (Vidal 58) - Robben (Coman 58), Müller, James, Ribéry - Lewandowski (Wagner 77)
Starke, Rafinha, Rudy, Tolisso
Pavlenka - Bauer (Gebre Selassie 46), Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson - Bargfrede - Maximilian Eggestein, Junuzovic - Gondorf (Kainz 72) - Bargfrede (Belfodil 80) - Kruse
Drobny, Jacobsen, Johannsson, Sane
Robert Kampka (Mainz)
0-1 Gondorf (25), 1-1 Müller (41), 2-1 Lewandowski (63), 2-2 Süle (74, og), 3-2 Lewandowski (76), 4-2 Müller (84)
- / Bauer, Bargfrede