FC Bayern downed VfL Wolfsburg 6-0 on Saturday, going top of the table and enjoying a fine dress rehearsal before the Champions League encounter with Liverpool. The Wolves held up the Bavarian steamroller for 34 minutes, but the patient men from Munich struck twice to deadly effect, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski handing Bayern a two-goal lead before half-time. James put the game to bed early after half-time, but Bayern were ravenous in the closing stages, Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich and again Lewandowski finding the net.
The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Thiago and Martínez featured in a twin holding role behind Müller, James and Gnabry, with Lewandowski as lone striker. Leon Goretzka and Franck Ribéry took over from Martínez and Gnabry after half-time, Renato Sanches coming on for James with a quarter-hour to go.
Serge and Lewy open
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Bavarians go straight onto the front foot. Lewandowski tested netminder Koen Casteels after 90 seconds before Gnabry and Müller miscued. The Wolves were reeling at first but increasingly parked the bus, Bayern struggling to find a way through the packed defence in a dour first half-hour, with Yannick Gerhardt glancing a header over the bar at the other end.
Lewandowski drew another save from Casteels, but Gnabry broke the deadlock following a fine Müller pass. Lewandowski doubled the lead three minutes later following classy interplay between Gnabry and James.
Thrashing after half-time
James closed out the meeting early after the restart, curling home from 20 yards. Bayern engaged cruise control now but still had their chances, Thiago seeing an effort deflected before Lewandowski miscued. Casteels stood out with two fine saves when he denied Müller and Goretzka, but Müller soon smashed home after strong groundwork by subs Sanches and Ribéry.
Things got more awkward for the visitors when fine headers from Kimmich and Lewandowski found the net, with Wolfsburg's defence absent without leave, and match official Sascha Stegemann put the Wolves out of their misery.
The result means Bayern top the table on 57 points after 25 matches, equal on points with Dortmund, who beat Stuttgart 3-1. A mouth-watering heavyweight clash awaits the Bavarians in four days. Bayern and Liverpool battle it out for the next round in the Champions League last sixteen return leg at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, and the men from Munich will be buoyed by Saturday's impressive display.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
- See our live ticker to relive the match action
Neuer – Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Rafinha – Thiago, Martínez (Goretzka 55) – Müller, James (Sanches 74), Gnabry (Ribéry 55) – Lewandowski
Ulreich – Süle, Davies, Jeong
Casteels – William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Gerhardt (Malli 83), Guilavogui, Arnold (Rexhbecaj 68) – Mehmedi (Steffen 58), Weghorst, Brekalo
Pervan – Verhaegh, Klaus, Uduokhai
Sascha Stegemann (Niederkassel)
1-0 Gnabry (34), 2-0 Lewandowski (37), 3-0 James (52), 4-0 Müller (76), 5-0 Kimmich (82), 6-0 Lewandowski (85)
- / Rexhbecaj