Hamburg - A devastating start to the second half helped FC Bayern Munich respond to last week’s home defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in style, as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Hamburger SV in the Imtech Arena.
Encouraging start for HSV
After an encouraging opening period from HSV, Bayern took the lead just before the break through Bastian Schweinsteiger, but the result was sewn up immediately after the break through Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos.
With four wins from their last six games, Hamburg’s turnaround in form in the last few weeks had been remarkable, and the start they made accordingly displayed that growth in confidence . Coach Thorsten Fink sacrificed striker Artjoms Rudnevs in favour of defensive midfielder Tomas Rincon, but Hamburg retained a definite goal threat, with Rafael van der Vaart bound and Rincon seeing efforts go narrowly wide.
Bayern gradually got into their stride and after Mario Mandzukic had headed off-target, Franck Ribery, straight back into the side after injury, enjoyed their first moment of danger, sending a vicious strike just wide of Rene Adler’s goal. The record-title winners enjoyed more possession in the opening period, but they were confronted by an organised Hamburg team, led superbly by defender and captain Heiko Westermann.
After a performance displaying tactical discipline and an impressive work rate, the hosts looked to be heading into the half-time break on level terms. Bayern possess quality all over the pitch, however, and they seized on the home side’s first defensive error to make the breakthrough. Thomas Müller’s header released Toni Kroos and, after his initial effort had been blocked by Rene Adler, the German international had the presence of mind to pick out the run of Schweinsteiger, who stooped low to head in.
The timing of the first goal was all-important for Bayern, and seemed to be the cue for a catastrophic start to the second half for HSV. The organisation and concentration shown by the back four in the early part of the game was nowhere to be seen, and a quickfire double-salvo for Bayern effectively decided the result. After Adler had superbly denied Mandzukic, Thomas Müller was given the freedom of the penalty box to curl a cheeky finish inside Adler’s near post. And minutes later, another flowing move involving the majestic Ribery finished with Kroos slamming a shot into the roof of the net
Never in doubt
Rudnevs and Dennis Aogo had both been introduced at this point, but with a three-goal deficit to make up, Hamburg seemed to have already given up on rescuing the game. Van der Vaart led an attempted fight-back, demanding possession and dictating the home side’s play, but Bayern remained in total control. They might even have added a fourth through Kroos and Ribery, but with a three-goal cushion, they opted to see the game out.
Given the hosts' recent form, an away win was by no means a foregone conclusion for Bayern, but in truth they will have few more comfortable afternoons than the second half in Hamburg. With Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund dropping points this weekend, the win and the performance will be very well received in Munich ahead of next week’s exploits in the UEFA Champions League.
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