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Bayern Munich Enter Rückrunde with 5-1 Win in Bochum

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Arjen Robben scores a Doppelpack on his birthday.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

In the final friendly before the restart of competition, Bayern Munich easily dispatched VfL Bochum 5-1. Arjen Robben once again powered the club to victory, celebrating his 31st birthday by opening a Doppelpack of goals.

His first goal as an equalizer of a well-placed volley from Danny Latza. He received a gracious back-heel flick from Thomas Müller, giving him an open avenue to plant the ball in the back of the net. His second was perhaps even more spectacular, whipping out a Robben special to blow the game open.

Robben's day was not limited to just the penalty area though. He also found Dante's bouncy afro for the eventual game winner, a rare goal from a corner kick. Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode both scored off the bench to complete the scoring in the match.

Only Robert Lewandowski played all 90 minutes in the match, Pep Guardiola gradually swapping out his starters as the match progressed. He stuck with a traditional setup, partnering Xabi Alonso and Bastian Schweinsteiger together in midfield for the first time. David Alaba also made his return after missing two months due to a knee injury, replacing Dante early in the second half.

With the victory, Bayern completed the three match sweep of their winter break friendlies, outscoring their opponents 13-3. Dante and Robben joined Claudio Pizarro and Mitchell Weiser as players who scored multiple goals over the break. Their first match of the second half is in a week, January 30th in Wolfsburg.

Match Details

Bochum (1-5) Bayern Munich | rewirpowerSTADION
BOC: Danny Latza (18')
FCB: Arjen Robben (26', 78'), Dante (43'), Mario Götze (68'), Sebastian Rode (86')

Bochum XI (4-2-3-1): Esser – Celozzi, Fabian, Bastians, Perthel – Losilla, Latza (Cacutalua 84') – Gündüz (Cwielong 74'), Šesták (Terrazzino 67'), Tasaka – Terodde (Forssell 74')

Bayern XI (4-2-3-1): Neuer (Reina 46') – Rafinha (Weiser 73'), Boateng (Benatia 71'), Dante (Alaba 63'), Bernat (Badstuber 71') – Alonso (Gaudino 79'), Schweinsteiger (Rode 63') – Robben (Kurt 79'), Müller (Götze 63'), Ribéry (Pizarro 73') – Lewandowski

Analysis

  • Having Robben and Ribéry on the flanks again is fantastic, but their returns do not just bring more goals. When one or the other was missing from the side, the team lacked width and fell short in the final third at times. That changed on Friday, Robbery providing the width of Bayern past. It opened up acres of space for Schweinsteiger and Müller to move freely, and allowed Rafinha and Bernat to participate in attack. Whether the tactic will stick is yet to be seen, but it was nice to see it again.
  • Lewandowski may have gotten a full shift, but runs from Müller, Robben and Ribéry continue to squeeze him out of scoring chances. He has evolved into a different player than he was at Borussia Dortmund, but that player he has turned into has a hard time getting on the scoresheet. The attention he demands, even in a friendly against Bochum, are contributions that does not have a statistic attached to it. The sacrifices he makes as a striker in a congested penalty area still makes Bayern a very potent team, and the fact he still has seven goals to boot is pretty impressive.
  • With the adaptability Guardiola has made his side, Friday was not one of the matches that showed it. Everyone had a clearly defined role, and had a substitute that filled the same roles upon entering. Sure, Alaba had a few moments in a more central role, and Pizarro sat a bit deeper than normal, but for the most part, there was a level of conformity that Bayern has not become known for. The fact that this conformity came in a friendly means it can probably be discarded, but it was nonetheless fascinating to see a Heynckes approach to a match.