Bayern extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to five points and geared up in perfect style for the midweek Champions League trip to Napoli with an effortless victory over promoted Hertha Berlin on Saturday, in which Manuel Neuer kept an astonishing 12th clean sheet on the bounce. FCB warmed the hearts of the home faithful on a glorious but extremely chilly fall afternoon with moments of explosive football against the stunned visitors, who only escaped a more severe beating when Munich themselves chose to ease off the gas.
The 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the fast-starting league leaders steamroller their dazed opponents in the first half, as Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger blasted the reds into a 3-0 lead with just 13 minutes played. Munich missed chances and showed a degree of mercy for a long spell, before Gomez added the fourth from the spot 20 minutes from time and the home side cruised to the finish.
The result takes leaders FCB onto 22 points from nine games, five clear of second-placed Mönchengladbach and six ahead of Dortmund, Stuttgart and Bremen. The Bavarians’ punishing autumn schedule continues in just three days with the third matchday in Champions League Group A, when Jupp Heynckes and his men travel to face top Serie A outfit Napoli.
For the first time since taking the reins at the start of the season, Heynckes made no changes to his line-up and fielded exactly the team which drew away to Hoffenheim two weeks ago. Jerome Boateng continued at right-back, Holger Badstuber partnered Daniel Van Buyten at centre-back, and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk lined up alongside Schweinsteiger in central midfield. Ivica Olic took his place on the bench for the first time since sustaining an injury fully seven weeks ago.
For Hertha, without a win in 17 visits to Bavaria since 1977, former FCB stalwart and current Berlin boss Markus Babbel picked a side including three Bayern youth products: right-back Christian Lell, midfield enforcer Andreas Ottl, and keeper Thomas Kraft, all of whom were presented with bouquets before kick-off by the Munich board of directors.
In the build-up to the match, the trio all expressed delight at returning to their former stamping ground, but they may have felt like revising that sentiment just quarter of an hour after referee Michael Weiner whistled play underway as the home side rocketed into a three-goal lead.
Ribery had already seen his second-minute effort hacked off the line by Roman Hubnik, and Boateng had flashed a shot across the face of goal, before Gomez finished off a superb counter-attack fashioned by Schweinsteiger, Ribery and the scorer himself.
The sweeping move was conducted at electrifying pace, timed by the TV stats unit at 12 seconds from Levan Kobiashvili losing the ball on the edge of the Bayern box and Gomez tucking away the opener. Ribery doubled the advantage from close range just two minutes later, although a lot of the credit went to the dynamic Boateng for showing Kobiashvili a clean pair of heels and whipping in a low cross for the Frenchman to poke over the line.
With the visitors reeling, Bayern went for the jugular and Schweinsteiger made it three after just 13 minutes, angling a drive across Kraft and in at the corner following Ribery’s dart into the box and cut-back. The pace dropped after the breathless opening but FCB remained totally in command, with Boateng turning in a truly impressive display against the hometown club where he spent his youth, and Ribery tormenting the visitors down the opposite flank. The pair both shot wide, before Thomas Müller held his head in his hands after blasting a sitter into the upper reaches of the stadium.
Kraft had looked slightly at fault for at least one of the earlier goals but redeemed himself with a brave block to deny the charging Gomez, and Boateng again failed to notch the goal he so clearly wanted as another drive skidded agonisingly wide of Kraft’s far stick, as the sides turned round with the leaders already off over the horizon.
Without ever over-exerting, Bayern kept their opponents firmly under control in the second half, although the chances were thinner on the ground now. Gomez angled a shot across the face, before Kraft showed great skill and agility to save at point-blank range from both Philipp Lahm and Gomez again. The keeper could not prevent the super striker adding the fourth from the spot on 69 minutes, although he came preciously close to pushing the spot-kick aside, and the award for Hubnik’s challenge on Ribery did look a shade harsh.
David Alaba replaced Müller, Olic made his long-awaited comeback in place of Gomez, and Diego Contento took over from Lahm for the remaining minutes, although neither side had much appetite now. Hertha skipper Andre Mijatovic almost ruined Neuer’s record but skied his shot from an unmarked position after a corner, before Weiner blew promptly for time on another impressive afternoon in Munich.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley
|Bayern Munich - Hertha BSC 4-0 (HT: 3-0)|
|Bayern Munich||Neuer - Boateng, Van Buyten, Badstuber, Lahm (Contento 78) - Tymoshchuk, Schweinsteiger - Müller (Alaba 73), Kroos, Ribéry - Gomez (Olic 75)|
|Substitutes:||Butt, Rafinha, Pranjic, Petersen|
|Hertha BSC||Kraft - Lell, Hubnik, Mijatovic, Kobiashvili - Niemeyer, Ottl - Ebert (Lustenberger 46), Raffael, Ben-Hatira (Morales 61) - Lasogga (Ramos 70)|
|Referee:||Michael Weiner (Giesen)|
|Goals:||1-0 Gomez (5), 2-0 Ribéry (7), 3-0 Schweinsteiger (13), 4-0 Gomez (69, pen)|
|Yellow Cards:||- / Raffael|