Pressure, power and pace: according to Thomas Müller, those were the key factors behind Bayern's third gala display in the space of seven days. After beating Hoffenheim 7-1 in the Bundesliga and Basel 7-0 in the Champions League, Munich again scored at will in demolishing Hertha Berlin 6-0. “We started brilliantly and scored three early goals, which settled us down," commented Jerome Boateng.
The centre back thus acknowledged the vital importance of gaining the upper hand as early as possible. The first goal against Hoffenheim came after five minutes, and the opener against Basel after ten. On Saturday evening, the visitors scored their first with nine minutes on the Berlin Olympic Stadium clock, before Arjen Robben struck on 12 minutes and 19 minutes from the spot to silence the home majority in the 74,240 sell-out crowd. “That was an extremely impressive performance right from the start. We played outstanding football despite the difficult surface," reasoned director of sport Christian Nerlinger.
Former FCB man Andreas Ottl agreed that the early salvo killed the match dead. “Obviously, our resistance was broken by the early goals. When you're three goals down after 20 minutes, it's hard to keep going against such all-powerful opponents. There was a massive difference in class today." Mario Gomez moved onto 22 league goals for the season with a 50th minute penalty, Toni Kroos added another less than 60 seconds later, and Robben put away another penalty midway through the second half to complete FCB's biggest away win of term.
It looked genuinely simple at times, but Philipp Lahm insisted the performance was the result of “very hard work. If you're leading by three goals at half-time and then immediately add another couple, you could say it was easy. But you have to put away your chances in the first place, and that's not always been the case in the past. In the last three matches, we've seen just how much attacking quality we have in the team. We can take apart almost every opposing team."
It was all a joy to behold for Jupp Heynckes, defying the flu to take his place in the dugout for his 600th Bundesliga match as a coach. One reason for the current explosion in form is that the boss has been able to send out an unchanged team for the last three matches. Bayern certainly looked practised and balanced in Berlin. “Obviously, you’re confident and full of belief. So you make your own luck: the ball bobbles in off the post and not out," reflected Müller.
A real sense of team unity was also on display, encapsulated in the gesture on 50 minutes when designated penalty taker Robben handed the ball to Gomez. “Our unity is an example to everyone. The way we celebrate together and play together is extremely promising for the future," Nerlinger observed.
Revenge mission in Mönchengladbach
The result sees Bayern cement their grip on second spot in the Bundesliga, five points off leaders Borussia Dortmund. Perhaps more importantly at this stage, the first away win in the league since the mid-season break comes at a psychologically vital time ahead of the pivotal period in the DFB Cup, the domestic league and Europe.
The men from Munich now set out on a revenge mission on Wednesday, with the trip to third-place Borussia Mönchengladbach for an eagerly-awaited DFB Cup semi-final. Gladbach have beaten Bayern home and away in the league so far this season.
“It definitely won't be easy, but we’re in great form. We're aiming for the final. We know what it's like playing here in Berlin," said Lahm. Hat-trick hero Robben spoke with a smile on his lips: “It certainly won't end 6-0. Our mentality is good, but we won't get something for nothing. We have to work, fight and run hard, the things we're doing well at the moment. We have to keep it up. It could still be a really wonderful end to the season."