FC Bayern München had to work hard to overcome a resilient FC Schalke 04 side as they collected a fifth consecutive league win, the 3-0 triumph inching Pep Guardiola’s side ever closer to a record-breaking fourth straight Bundesliga title.
FC Bayern München 3-0 FC Schalke 04
With Bayern much-changed from the side that drew 2-2 with SL Benfica in midweek, Schalke set about frustrating the league leaders by stifling their attacks with, at times, 11 men behind the ball. Douglas Costa and Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg missed early half chances at either end, while it took until the 29th minute for Robert Lewandowski to draw the first real save out of Ralf Fährmann with a well-timed header
But for a few darting runs by Costa, Bayern had done little with the lion’s share of possession in the first half, but there was much more intent and purpose to their performance after the restart. Fährmann made routine saves to deny Kingsley Coman and Mario Götze, although could do nothing to deny Robert Lewandowski the opener as the Pole controlled on his chest, swivelled on the spot and finished shortly before the hour mark.
Bayern themselves dropped deeper after opening the scoring, but were still orchestrating proceedings on the whole as Schalke’s counter-attacking exploits often petered out before they could pose a real threat. Instead it was Lewandowski who bagged his brace, heading home Rafinha’s cross before Arturo Vidal put the game beyond reach when he capitalised on confusion in the box to poke in a third.
Man of the match
Lewandowski will rightly take the plaudits for another outstanding performance as the spearhead of Bayern’s frontline. His movement off the ball was as good as his finishing on it, with the Pole the main reason Schalke’s bulwark of a backline eventually crumbled.
FC Bayern looked a lot more comfortable breaking down a deep-lying, counter-attacking side than they did in midweek against Benfica. That bodes well for the German record titleholders, who will have to unlock the Club Atletico de Madrid code in very similar fashion in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
- Bayern have scored a league-high 47 goals in the second half of Bundesliga games this season.Klaas-Jan Huntelaar set the record for most goals scored by a foreigner in a season with a 29-goal haul in 2011/12, but Robert Lewandowski is just two goals shy of that tally with four games to play. Bayern have now amassed 78 points. Only once before, in 2012/13, did they have a higher tally after 30 matches (81).Guardiola’s men have won all ten of their Bundesliga matches immediately after a Champions League assignment.
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Benatia (Kimmich 63’), Alaba, Bernat - Lahm (c) - Coman, Vidal (Rode 78’), Götze, Costa (Ribery 66’) - Lewandowski
Coach: Pep Guardiola
Schalke: Fährmann - Riether, Matip, Neustädter, Aogo - Geis (Meyer 69’), Höjbjerg - Junior Caicara, Sane, Choupo-Moting (Schöpf 82’) – Huntelaar (c) (Belhanda 69’)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter