Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa found the net as FC Bayern München moved closer to the Bundesliga title courtesy of a hard-fought 2-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Matchday 31.
With seven changes to the side that overcame SV Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup in midweek, Bayern took a while to get into their stride. Hertha were happy to sit deep and deny the visitors space, and despite Thiago’s composure in the centre, Pep Guardiola’s side created little by the way of goalscoring chances in the opening stages. It was, in fact, Thiago who enjoyed the best opportunity of the first half in the 25th minute, but former Bayern keeper Thomas Kraft stayed big in the Hertha goal to deny the Spaniard from a tight angle. The hosts upped the ante in response, although a succession of poor decisions around the penalty area meant Manuel Neuer went untested before the break.
Hertha were punished for such profligacy within three minutes of the restart when Vidal’s powerful effort from the edge of the area deflected past Kraft to open the scoring. The goal played perfectly to Bayern’s plan, with Hertha now forced to go in search of a goal. With Vidal influential, though, the champions kept the ball calmly in midfield, and could have had another through the Chilean in the 64th minute, but for Kraft to rush out and clear. The Hertha custodian could do little to prevent Douglas Costa doubling Bayern’s lead with ten minutes remaining, however, as the Brazilian’s arrowed shot from distance nestled into the top corner and put the seal on a satisfying afternoon for the Bavarians.
Man of the match
Vidal underlined his recent good form with an outstanding display here. His opener was his fourth goal in Bayern’s last six competitive games, while his willingness to scrap in midfield proved invaluable against a plucky Hertha outfit in a tight first half.
This was a satisfying afternoon from Bayern’s point of view, particularly with the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at Club Atletico de Madrid looming on Wednesday night. Guardiola’s men were flawless in defence, with Vidal and Costa’s long-range efforts proving enough to take the three points.
- Young midfielder Maximilian Mittelstädt made his Hertha debut.
- Seven changes was the most made by Guardiola to a starting line-up this season.
- Four of Vidal’s seven competitive goals for Bayern this season have made it 1-0.
- Costa’s goal was his fourth of the season.
Hertha: Kraft - Pekarik, Langkamp, Stark, Plattenhardt - Mittelstädt, Lustenberger (c) - Weiser, Stocker (Kalou, 64’), Cigerci (Kohls, 83’) - Ibisevic (Schieber, 46’)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Rafinha (Alaba, 57’), Tasci, Benatia - Kimmich, Vidal - Müller (Ribery, 57’), Götze, Thiago, Costa - Lewandowski (Martinez, 84’)
Coach: Pep Guardiola