FC Bayern extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to ten points with a 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. The visitors held up the Bavarian steamroller for 37 minutes, but the table-toppers twice struck to deadly effect late in the first half. Robert Lewandowski and Douglas Costa handed the German record champions a crucial half-time lead before the Polish hitman rounded off his brace, closing out the meeting early into the second half.
The champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and a back four comprising Philipp Lahm, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Thiago and Arturo Vidal directed operations in front of the rearguard, with Bayern's attacking unit featuring Thomas Müller between wingers Arjen Robben and Costa looking to serve lone striker Lewandowski.
Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the XI that saw off Arsenal on Wednesday. Skipper Lahm returned after missing the Gunners clash with suspension, with Müller and Costa featuring in midfield. Rafinha, Franck Ribéry and Xabi Alonso gave way to the trio, meaning that the starting line-up was identical to the 8-0 thrashing of Hamburg in February. In the second half Jérôme Boateng made his comeback after a long spell on the sidelines, coming on for Martínez before Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches took over from Lewandowski and Vidal.
Brave Eintracht spring a surprise
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a high-octane encounter with Bayern dominating possession and Eintracht threatening on the break. The German record champions were in the driving seat, but Eintracht by no means parked the bus, as their back five and a lengthy injury roster suggested.
The afternoon almost began with a shock for the hosts, when Alaba gifted possession to Eintracht, but Ante Rebic skied the first chance. A quarter-hour later Bayern had to thank Hummels for keeping the scores level. Branimir Hrgota had ghosted past the Bayern rearguard and even rounded Neuer, the goal at his mercy, when Hummels made a world-class tackle, scrambling the ball away to safety. By that time a stray Vidal pass had thwarted Bayern's first chance and Robben miscued a cross for Lewandowski following a fine dribble. Costa's 15-yarder went wide before the half-hour.
Crucial half-time lead for patient Reds
Munich opened the scoring when Müller latched on to a Lewandowski header and invited the Poland captain to tap in after 37 minutes. The goal opened the floodgates, and the home crowd soon rose a second time when Vidal delivered a sumptuous 50-yarder to Alaba, who whipped it into the box for Costa to crash home. By half-time two shots on target had yielded two goals for Ancelotti's men.
Müller almost closed out the meeting early into an entertaining second half, but Hasebe scrambled his fine lob over visiting netminder Lukas Hradecky off the goal-line. Two minutes later the woodwork rattled at the other end, Rebic's 20-yarder crashing off the crossbar. Lewandowski then made it three when he got hold of a Robben cross and rounded off his brace. The Pole almost scored a hat-trick, but saw another effort go wide before Thiago miscued from 20 yards, but a fourth refused to come.
The result takes Bayern onto 59 points from 24 matches, ten clear of RB Leipzig who fell at home to Wolfsburg. The Bavarians are back in action next Sunday, when they travel to face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 (H-T: 2-0)
Neuer - Lahm, Martínez (Boateng 65), Hummels, Alaba - Thiago, Vidal (Sanches 77) - Robben, Müller, Costa - Lewandowski (Coman 75)
Ulreich, Rafinha, Kimmich, Ribéry
Hradecky - Chandler, Hector, Hasebe (Russ 63), Abraham, Tawatha - Mascarell, Rebic, Gacinovic - Blum (Barkok 70), Hrgota (Fabian 78)
Lindner, Besuschkow, Wolf, Knothe
Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)
|Goals||1-0 Lewandowski (38), 2-0 Costa (41), 3-0 Lewandowski (55)|
Vidal, Alaba / Rebic, Mascarell, Hasebe