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Hard-fought victory

Resolute Reds down Schalke in quality clash

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FC Bayern beat Schalke 2-1 in Saturday evening's Bundesliga top match. Robert Lewandowski handed his side the lead early on. Franco di Santo levelled the scores midway through the first half, but Thomas Müller soon restored Bayern's lead. With no goals to come in the second half, the Bavarians bagged another three points on their way to a sixth German championship title in a row.

The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Arturo Vidal anchored a midfield featuring Arjen Robben, Müller, James and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.

Jupp Heynckes, who was not on the touchline due to a heavy bout of flu, made two changes to the XI that saw off Paderborn on Tuesday. Boateng and Ribéry came in for Niklas Süle and Kingsley Coman. The latter pair and Javi Martínez replaced Boateng, Ribéry and James late in the second half.

Müller and Lewy find the net

The 75,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a highly entertaining, up-tempo contest, the visitors springing a surprise with an attack-minded 3-4-3 formation. Barely a minute had been played when Bayern had to thank Ulreich for keeping the scores level. The netminder shone with a fine save to deny Breel Embolo's deflected 18-yarder.

The Bavarians soon replied, Müller unleashing a belter from 25 yards. Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann failed to hold it, and Lewandowski was on hand to bury the rebound. The Poland international thus equalled the record set by his absent boss in the 1972/73 season, as he has now found the net in all 11 Bundesliga home matches so far this term.

Thilo Kehrer miscued a header before Fährmann proved equal to an Alaba effort from distance. A Lewandowski shot from the edge of the box went just wide of the far post, but the Royal Blues levelled the scores before the half-hour, when Franco di Santo crashed home past Ulreich.

Bayern went straight back onto the front foot, Lewandowski blasting over the bar, but Müller made the Bavarians' pressure count when he cheekily found a gap between Fährmann and the near post from a tight angle. Naldo miscued a free-kick before match official Tobias Stieler blew for half-time.

Goalless second half

The pace dropped a little after half-time, but the Ruhr Valley outfit continued to press early. Embolo and Alaba miscued from distance before an Alaba free-kick was blocked by Guido Burgstaller. Ulreich made a strong save to deny Embolo before Benjamin Stambouli beat Lewandowski to a Müller pass.

A perceptive Ribéry through-ball found Lewandowski, who had ghosted past Schalke's rearguard, but his lob over Fährmann missed the target. A deflected Martínez effort went wide before sub Coman drew a fine save from Fährmann, and Stieler put an end to the meeting.

The result takes Bayern onto 56 points from 22 matches, 18 clear of Leipzig. The Reds are back in action next Saturday, when they travel to face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga before entertaining Besiktas in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen

FC Bayern - FC Schalke 04 2-1 (H-T: 2-1)
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  • FC Bayern

    Ulreich - Kimmich, Boateng (Süle 70), Hummels, Alaba - Vidal - Robben, Müller, James (Martínez 80), Ribéry (Coman 76) - Lewandowski


    Substitutions

    Starke, Wagner, Rafinha, Tolisso


  • FC Schalke 04

    Fährmann - Stambouli, Naldo, Kehrer - Caligiuri, Goretzka, Meyer (Oczipka 58), Schöpf - Embolo, Burgstaller (Harit 64), Di Santo (Konoplyanka 76)


    Substitutions

    Nübel, Pjaca, Teuchert, Tekpetey


  • Referee

    Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)


  • Attendance

    75,000 (capacity)


  • Goals

    1-0 Lewandowski (6), 1-1 di Santo (29), 2-1 Müller (36)


  • Yellow cards

    James, Vidal / Meyer, Burgstaller

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