Munich - FC Bayern Munich kept pace with high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt at the top of the table as they maintained their unblemished record in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 win against FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 4.
The absence of Franck Ribery dominated discussions before kick-off, but come the end of the match it proved to be a trivial fact in the grand scheme of things as Thomas Müller put in a man-of-the-match performance against Schalke. The Royal Blues put up a brave fight, but once Toni Kroos opened the scoring in the second half and Thomas Müller added a second soon after, there was no sign of a comeback from last year's third-placed finishers.
Fluid passing was the order of the day early on as both teams looked to get off to a positive start, but while the ball was moving quickly, the back lines were holding firm. Kroos failed to get the decisive touch on Müller's knock down before Mario Mandzukic bundled his way through Schalke's defence only to fluff his lines as he looked to hit the target.
The Royal Blues were sitting deep, yet seemed short of ideas when they were presented with the opportunity to break forward, which only served to fill Bayern with more confidence. In complete control of proceedings, the visitors began carving out their chances and should have taken the lead when Mandzukic, unmarked at the back post, headed over from six yards out after Kroos had done well to get to the byline and deliver the cross.
Schalke were struggling to establish a foothold, but after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rifled an effort into the side netting, they enjoyed their most promising spell of the game. Huub Stevens pushed his charges higher up the pitch, which unsettled Bayern and almost saw Jefferson Farfan fire the home team in front only for Manuel Neuer to claw the Peruvian's effort out of the top corner.
The risk-averse approach from both sides didn't change after the break, but individual errors began opening up space at both ends. Julian Draxler squandered a great chance to play in Huntelaar on the counter by delaying too long in possession, while at the other end Müller rose well above Joel Matip, but couldn't direct his header on target.
Bayern were knocking on the door and soon took the lead when Schalke failed to deal with a neat one-two between Kroos and Müller on the edge of the box, allowing the former to place the ball beyond Lars Unnerstall. The hosts let their heads drop and were duly punished minutes later when Müller nutmegged Christian Fuchs before holding off Draxler's challenge to poke the ball into the far corner.
Stevens rolled the dice with his substitutions, but with a two-goal lead on their side, Bayern were content simply slowing the pace of the game whilst still enjoying the lion's share of possession. Müller and Robben both went close to finding a third before Farfan forced a rare save out of the returning Neuer. In the end, though, die Münchner's quick-fire double was enough to return them to the top of the table as Schalke failed their first test against one of their fellow title contenders.
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