Even in the early minutes, it was clear that Bayern would be heavy favorites all day (despite the absence of regular stars Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and Mario Mandzukic). The new-look double-pivot of Martinez and Gustavo did a good job of controlling the ball, with Javi even doing a little distribution. And Ribery tracked back a bit more than usual to help the middies. Arjen Robben, meanwhile, was pushing forward, eager to show that he's still got it, as he made several menacing runs and even a few good passes.
It was Robben who broke the deadlock in the 25th minute:
Seems like even if he hadn't been there, Ribery would have been able to knock it in. But Robben looked elated to be on the score sheet, and his energy only seemed to increase after the goal. Less then 4 minutes later, Javi Martinez double the advantage, getting his head to a free kick:
Everyone knew Bayern wouldn't blow a 2 goal lead, but the full extent of the beating would be sealed towards the end of the half, when Gomez was fouled with only one man to beat. The Gol! TV commentator seemed to think it was a dive, but I think there was contact on Gomez's back foot (although Mario surely went down easily to sell the foul). The loss of a man, combined with the removal of Aaron Hunt to make room for a replacement defender, pretty much took away any chance of a Werder Bremen comeback.
The second half was all red. A Bremen own-goal (where Ribery was on hand to force the issue), a pair from Gomez, and a beautiful assist from Lahm to Ribery gave Bayern a heavy win. Kevin de Bruyne of Werder scored on what, frankly, was a pretty poor bit of defending from Bayern - letting ourselves get outflanked on the far side. So, it was discouraging to see Neuer's domestic scoreless run end. But overall it was a great win to celebrate Jupp Heynckes' 1,000th Bundesliga match.
Some other thoughts:
- Across the whole match, I felt like the rust was more evident with Gomez than Robben. Although both had minor timing problems, Robben was mostly as sharp as ever. Not only was he dangerous with the ball at his feet, but he even made several clever passes. Mario Gomez had some more substantial problems, including a first-half attempt to lay off a ball for Ribery that he mis-timed. Even his first goal may have been offside. Still, his talent was evident and you could tell that Werder's defenders were worried every time he got near the ball. And that goal in the 88th minute showed that Gomez still knows how to stroke it if you give him time on the ball.
- How about that chip pass from Lahm?
- With the win, Bayern currently sits 18 points ahead of our closest chasers in the Bundesliga table. With both Dortmund and Leverkusen playing tomorrow, that number will probably be reduced to 15 or 16. Whatever the exact number, it's going to be really, really hard for anyone to even come close to making it interesting.
We're back in action this week, facing BVB in a Pokal match. We'll be back tonight or tomorrow with more. Thanks for reading.