Bayern Munich added several new superlatives to the dictionary on Matchday 8 in a first-half performance which will go down in the history books. After 45 minutes, Julian Nagelsmann's men were already 5-0 up - Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS explains how they did it...
It took the record champions just four minutes to open the scoring, with Joshua Kimmich delivering a pinpoint free-kick right into the path of Dayot Upamecano, who touched it square to Robert Lewandowski to convert with a spectacular backheeled finish. Each sequence of the set-piece strike was played to inch-perfect precision, giving an early indication that Bayern had once again turned up in top form for a top-of-the-table clash.
It took up to the half-hour mark before Lewandowski steered in a second, but the floodgates then burst open with a seven-minute salvo seeing Die Werkself off, including three goals in just four minutes. "Five goals in the first 45 minutes – the result shows what sort of football we played," said Lewandowski. "From 30 minutes in, it was a gigantic first half," added Kimmich. It was the first time Bayern had been five goals to the good at half-time of an away game – yet another club record for the Bavarians, who know a thing or two about benchmarking.
Thanks to the Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS, we can see exactly what Nagelsmann's men got right this time.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern's win in Leverkusen
"The whole of our four-man midfield with Thomas, Leroy, Josh and Leon was incredibly good in the first half," said Nagelsmann of his team's diamond core. Forty-eight per cent of Bayern's attacks were channelled through the centre, according to Attacking Zones. Müller, Sane, Kimmich and Goretzka's pressing was about as intense as it gets, with Bayern dominating Leverkusen in the central areas. Goretzka stood out for the number of times he won the ball back. "He played in an unusual position for him today, but he was one of our key performers in the first half and suffocated our opponents, winning the ball back countless times in the danger area," added Nagelsmann of his No.8. His fine one-two with Serge Gnabry paved the way for Bayern's fifth goal, and earned him an early shower with his first-half endeavours enough to allow him to put his feet up as a spectator for the second half.
Goretzka was not alone in being singled out for praise, however, with Nagelsmann also impressed with his deep playmaker Kimmich. "Josh played an outstanding game," he said. "He was well connected and was strong in counter-pressing." With 119 touches of the ball, Bayern's No.6 was the most active player in the Bayern team, with more spells on the ball than any other player. It's logical, then, that Kimmich's strong tackling and composed passing (pass efficiency of +1.6 – only Upamecano trumped that with +2.7) ensured he was the Most Pressed Player on the field, with the 26-year-old singled out for particular pressure 45 times.
Watch: Most Pressed Player - an explainer
Bayern's eye-catching efficiency
After regaining possession in midfield, be it through Kimmich or Goretzka, Bayern showed excellent occupation of space and a blistering high tempo to get forward. "We created a huge amount of shooting opportunities and a sensational structure on the ball," enthused Nagelsmann. "Leverkusen could hardly get a foothold in the first half and we had numbers over on the counterattack – we could easily have scored six, seven or even eight goals." The goals that made it 2-0, 4-0 and 5-0 all came from quick, direct transitions, while the 3-0 came from a Kimmich corner which fell to Niklas Süle, who skipped past one defender before taking a shot which was deflected unstoppably by Müller past Lukas Hradecky. A central defender by trade, Süle has become a monster down the right with his numerous forays forward earning him 19 points in Fantasy Manager – the highest of all Bayern players.
A look at Expected Goals (xG) shows how effective Bayern were in front of goal, with a figure of 3.57 meaning that they actually scored 1.43 more than their chances would have been expected to yield. Bayern had a total of 27 shots, which is a new best for Bayern this season.
Nagelsmann shook things up a little at half-time, and his team took their foot off the gas a little. "We were able to play a bit more controlled and relaxed in the second half, particularly in view of the next game in three days' time," said Lewandowski, who left the field of play in the 64th minute, allowing him a little more time to recharge his batteries ahead of the clash with Benfica in the UEFA Champions League.
Yet in spite of their attacking masterclass, Bayern were not entirely satisfied with their performance in Leverkusen. "To be honest, I didn't feel that the first ten or 15 minutes were that impressive," said Kimmich. "It was a bit of end-to-end stuff; a very intense game." Nagelsmann also found some points for improvement: "It was obvious the second half would look like that when you lead 5-0 at half-time, but we didn't have much control of the game and Leverkusen had a lot of possession," he said. In the 55th minute, the hosts got a consolation through Patrik Schick which denied Bayern a clean sheet – the only real blot on their copybook.
"It was still a good performance, despite that," said Nagelsmann. Who could disagree with that? After the 3-1 win against Dortmund in the DFL Supercup, the 3-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League and 4-1 league success over Leipzig, Bayern totally dominated a top fixture and deservedly win it.
Anybody who would like to win the title this term are going to have to find a way past this Uber-Bayern.