Nuremberg - League leaders FC Bayern München continued their imperious march towards a 23rd Bundesliga title with a resounding 2-0 win over 1. FC Nürnberg to claim the bragging rights in Bavaria for a second time this season.
Out of the blocks
Nürnberg’s bright start failed to produce an opener, allowing Mario Mandzukic and captain Philipp Lahm to score either side of half time and fire Bayern to a victory that maintains their 13-point lead at the summit.
The hosts wasted little time in demonstrating they weren’t about raise the white flag before a ball was kicked and immediately put the record titleholders on the back foot. Daniel Ginczek was the first to draw a save out of Manuel Neuer, who was beaten minutes later when Hiroshi Kiyotake’s acrobatic attempt came back off the bar much to the relief of the travelling fans.
Der Club were pressing with great intensity, which led to Bayern looking increasingly vulnerable during the opening exchanges and, keen to make the most of their early pressure, continued to throw caution to the wind. Josip Drmic beat Dante in a foot race, but couldn’t squeeze the ball past Neuer, who had to rely on Jerome Boateng blocking Ginczek’s follow-up to preserve his clean sheet. However, having failed to edge themselves ahead, Nürnberg were duly punished when Bayern’s resulting counterattack led to Mandzukic converting David Alaba’s cross from close range.
Club drop off
Having fallen behind and with Timothy Chandler and Ginczek both forced off with suspected knee injuries for the home side, Bayern wrestled the impetus away and looked a lot more assured in possession as Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller both went within a lick of paint of extending the lead within a matter of seconds. The Dutchman’s curling free-kick came back off the far post before Müller headed the rebound onto the crossbar.
The record titleholders stayed on the front foot coming into the second period and needed just four minutes to extend their lead as Mandzukic turned provider, teeing-up the marauding Lahm to tap home his first Bundesliga goal since December 2010. The second goal took the wind out of Nürnberg’s sails as the visitors began having their way with the hosts, dominating possession and preventing Kiyotake and Co. from having any joy in the final third.
Done and dusted
At the other end it continued to be very much one-way traffic as Robben collected Lahm’s inventive through ball only to miscue his attempted cross, forcing Raphael Schäfer to tip the ball onto his near post. Bayern seemed content with their two-goal cushion as time wound down and instead went about taking the sting out of the game, combing to great effect in midfield without demonstrating any urgency in front of goal.
Nevertheless, for Nürnberg the match turned into a damage-limitation exercise as they dropped increasingly deeper as the half wore on, rarely releasing the pressure by misplacing passes. David Alaba’s free-kick from 30 yards, which beat the wall before drifting just wide of the upright, was as close as either side came to adding to the scoreline, with Bayern stretching their unbeaten run to 45 games at their local rival's expense.
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