Munich - FC Bayern München moved joint top of the Bundesliga standings as they extended their winning run over VfB Stuttgart to 12 competitive matches after recording a 2-0 victory in an entertaining encounter at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern on top
Mario Götze put Bayern in front with a crisp first-half strike, but Pep Guardiola’s charges could easily have added to the scoreline before substitute Franck Ribery grabbed a late second on his first competitive appearance of the season.
The hosts showed no signs of rustiness following the international break and began strongly, dominating possession in the early exchanges. Pep Guardiola tweaked his line-up once again, utilising a 4-3-3 formation with Philipp Lahm, David Alaba and Xabi Alonso in defensive midfield. Alonso in particular was impressive on his home debut for the Bavarians, picking out Thomas Müller on the right several times with pinpoint cross-field passes.
Bayern gradually began to convert their dominance into goalscoring chances and tested Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich twice in quick succession, as first Götze stung his palms with a fierce drive from the inside-left, before Müller forced him to tip a close-range header over. For their part, the visitors looked to get forward quickly on the counter-attack, but their only real sight of goal was an Antonio Rüdiger header from a corner that flashed narrowly wide.
Götze scores, Badstuber woe
Inevitably, however, it was Bayern who broke the deadlock. After Stuttgart failed to clear Alonso’s free kick from the left, the ball fell to Götze 12 yards out and the World Cup winner wasted no time in drilling an effort low into the bottom left corner. There was no change to the scoreline prior to the break, but there was more bad news for Holger Badstuber, who once again succumbed to injury and was replaced by youngster Gianluca Gaudino.
The change did little to disrupt the record titleholders' rhythm after the break, though, and they were relentless in their pursuit of a second goal. Lewandowksi had the first chance to increase their lead when he spectacularly juggled the ball on the six-yard box before acrobatically shooting just over, while Alaba also went close with an effort from the edge of the box.
Ribery on target
The chances kept coming for Bayern, but the ball refused to cooperate, with Alonso’s deflected effort hitting the bar and Müller striking the foot of the post from the rebound. Buoyed by the prospect of snatching a point from the encounter, Stuttgart continued to push forward but rarely troubled Manuel Neuer. A superb solo run and shot by youngster Timo Werner was as close as they came to finding the target as the game entered the closing stages.
With just five minutes left on the clock the hosts finally managed to score another, as Lewandowski fed substitute Ribery on the left of the box, allowing the Frenchman to slot the ball under Ulreich. It was a deserved victory for the hosts, who warmed up perfectly for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash with Manchester City FC.
Line-ups and statistics
Jonathan Stockitt reporting from the Allianz Arena