Munich - Arjen Robben bagged a hat-trick as FC Bayern München condemned FC Schalke 04 to a 5-1 defeat at the Allianz Arena.
The damage was done for the visitors inside the opening half-hour, as goals from David Alaba, Mario Mandzukic and a Robben brace had them 4-0 down. They rallied briefly after the restart, and pulled one back through an own goal from Rafinha, but Robben completed his treble after Kyriakos Papadopoulos had been dismissed and the defeat might have been far worse for Schalke but for the heroics of keeper Ralf Fährmann.
After shipping six at home to Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Schalke would have at least been hoping for a solid start to the game. Such a privilege was denied, however, although in rather unfortunate circumstances. Robben had a shot blocked after a darting run inside, but after Sead Kolasinac fouled Rafinha in the aftermath, Alaba was able to open the scoring with a free-kick that took a wicked deflection off the wall just three minutes in.
It was a bitter blow for Schalke but it was to get worse for them just minutes later. Unable to have any sustained possession of the ball, and helpless in the face of Bayern’s mesmeric possession, they fell 2-0 behind when a loose ball dropped to Mandzukic, who released Robben to clip a wonderful finish over Fährmann. Barely eight minutes later, it was three as Mandzukic headed in completely unmarked from Alaba’s cross.
Robben at it again
Schalke’s left side was particularly vulnerable and the irrepressible Robben punished yet more lamentable defending when he seized onto another throughball to curl in a fourth, and suddenly Schalke were 4-0 down in just 28 minutes. It was only at the end of the half that the Royal Blues offered anything in the way of an attacking threat, as Manuel Neuer, until then a total spectator, saved well from Christian Fuchs’ free-kick and a Benedikt Höwedes strike.
It was the biggest half-time deficit Schalke had suffered in the league for 26 years, but they at least recovered a measure of pride in the early stages of the second half, pressing their hosts more and enjoying more possession in the Bayern half. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar lashed a half-volley wide after good work from Julian Draxler on the wing before Schalke finally registered a goal – their first in seven league games against Bayern – thanks to an own-goal from former Royal Blue Rafinha.
Papa sees red
That proved but a rare respite for Jens Keller’s side, however, as Bayern immediately cracked up the tempo in reply. Fährmann produced outstanding saves to deny Mandzukic twice and Bastian Schweinsteiger, but there was nothing he could do to keep out Robben’s penalty after Papadopoulos had seen red for a professional foul on Mandzukic.
It was yet another damning loss for Schalke at the hands of the Bavarians. They have now lost their last seven league matches against them, and their 45 Bundesliga losses against Bayern outweighs their record against any other side. Bayern, meanwhile, continue to leave the league trailing in their wake with a 20-point lead at the top of the table after their 48th match unbeaten.
Line-ups and statistics
Check out Robben's hat-trick against Schalke below, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: