Gelsenkirchen - FC Bayern München produced their most polished display so far under Pep Guardiola to run out 4-0 winners at FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 6.
Bayern's counter punch
Goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Mandzukic, Franck Ribery and Claudio Pizarro helped the German record champions to a well-deserved victory against the Royal Blues.
With both sides fresh from 3-0 UEFA Champions League successes in midweek, the action began in earnest, and Schalke looked particularly full of vim and vigour when going forward. Kevin-Prince Boateng struck a shot from distance after five minutes which Manuel Neuer parried, and Adam Szalai could merely flap at the rebound.
Just as the hosts looked to be making a mark on an otherwise to-and-fro first-half, however, Bayern struck, Schweinsteiger punishing some lackadaisical defending from a corner in the 21st minute. And things went from bad to worse for Schalke only a minute later when Mandzukic nodded in a precise cross from David Alaba past the covering home captain Benedikt Höwedes.
Toni Kroos’ intelligence was on full show after the two goals, Bayern's central midfielder gliding harmoniously between the Royal Blues’ midfield and defence. His movement liberated the duo of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, who created further chances for themselves and Rafinha before the break, wíth the visitors' passing mesmeric at times.
That continued well into the second half. After 49 minutes Ribery went through, but had, if anything, too many options to choose from and blew the opportunity. This was followed three minutes later by Mandzukic blazing a chance created by Robben over the bar.
Substitutes bring it home
Schalke had a short period in the middle of the second half where Bayern’s lead appeared, if not surmountable, certainly not the mountain it had seemed at points during their dismal first half. Boateng and Adam Szalai both had chances, and Jefferson Farfan and Dennis Aogo whipped in some dangerous crosses for.
In a similar vein to the first-period, however, a Bayern goal ended any hope for the Royal-Blues. After 75 minutes, Ribery tapped in after an Alaba cut-back, and ten minutes later, Pizarro scored after coming off the bench, slotting fellow substitute Thomas Müller's assist in from short range to seal points for the dominant visitors.
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