Bayern are primed and ready to go for the second half of the 2011/12 campaign. On Sunday afternoon, the league leaders warmed up nicely for next Friday’s resumption of Bundesliga hostilities in Mönchengladbach with a 4-0 victory away to Rot-Weiss Erfurt, Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben scoring before half-time, with Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger adding second-half goals.
“It's a bit different to what we’ve had recently, especially the temperature, so it was a good test, because it won’t be any different in Gladbach next week,” Schweinsteiger commented afterwards. Jupp Heynckes was generally pleased with what he saw, but felt his side should have won by more: “We made some really good chances, especially in the first half, but a team as good as ours has to be more ruthless. We can pass better in midfield, but overall it flowed well and we played some excellent football at times,” the coach said.
The 18,000 full house at Steigerwaldstadion in the former GDR state of Thuringia saw Bayern start with the probable formation for the Gladbach clash. Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Daniel van Buyten, Holger Badstuber and Philipp Lahm formed the defence, with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk partnering Schweinsteiger in defensive midfield. On the left, Kroos filled in for Franck Ribéry, who is suspended for next Friday’s match. Robben started on the right, with Müller in behind centre-forward Mario Gomez.
Against the side lying tenth in the German third division, the Bundesliga leaders started briskly, and swiftly seized the initiative, keeping the pace high and pinning the home side back into their own half. Munich took the lead with their first real chance on 12 minutes, Tymoshchuk and Gomez both allowing Müller’s diagonal ball to pass through their legs and reach the unmarked Kroos, who curled a shot into the top right corner. “That was a dream goal,” remarked director of sport Christian Nerlinger.
The visitors now created a host of openings, Erfurt defender Joan Oumari turning a Gomez pass onto the outside of his own post, and Robben (23), Gomez (24), Schweinsteiger (27), Müller (31) and Tymoshchuk (33) all aiming narrowly wide. Robben finally netted the long overdue second on 38 minutes, converting from close range after Müller’s trademark thrust to the by-line.
Schweinsteiger drew a good save from Erfurt keeper Andreas Sponsel in the final move before half-time, but the home side emerged for the second period with a shade more ambition than before. Marcel Reichwein fired over the bar on 47 minutes, and Neuer made his first save of the game from the same player’s 51st-minute drive.
Visitors in full control
The FCB keeper had little else to do for the rest of the match, as Robben (53), sub David Alaba (57, 65) and Badstuber came close, the latter smacking a deflected shot against the bar from a corner. Müller scored Bayern’s third on the hour, after Kroos capitalised on the home side’s sloppy attempt to clear and released the Germany striker 15 yards from goal.
Both coaches switched things around now, with only Neuer, Boateng and Schweinsteiger going the full 90 minutes for Bayern. Dominick Drexler almost netted a consolation for the third division side but shot wide with only Neuer to beat, before Nils Petersen (80) and Schweinsteiger (83) missed when well-placed, and Reichwein blasted into the side-netting.
There was one more goal for the visitors in the last minute, after Bernd Rauw hauled Petersen to the ground in the box. Erfurt reserve keeper Marcus Rickert saved Schweinsteiger’s spot-kick, but the midfielder put away the rebound to make the final score 4-0 and ensure Bayern finished the winter period with five wins in five friendlies and a goal difference of +27 (28 for, one against). Heynckes has given his men Monday off, with the focus turned firmly to Gladbach as of Tuesday.
|Rot-Weiss Erfurt - Bayern Munich 0-4 (H-T: 0-2)|
|Bayern Munich||Neuer - Boateng, Van Buyten (Rafinha 62), Badstuber (Luiz Gustavo 62), Lahm (Pranjic 76) - Tymoshchuk (Alaba 46), Schweinsteiger – Robben (Usami 76), Müller (Olic 76), Kroos (Ribery 62) - Gomez (Petersen 76)|
|Referee:||Jan Seidel (Hennigsdorf)|
|Goals:||0-1 Kroos (12), 0-2 Robben (38), 0-3 Müller (60), 0-4 Schweinsteiger (90)|