Thomas Müller sustained his blistering hot form in his 200th Bundesliga appearance, scoring a Doppelpack to help Bayern Munich defeat rivals Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Müller's first goal came on Douglas Costa's fourth assist of the season, and his penalty in the second half gives him five on the season. Arjen Robben also got his first goal of the season as Bayern returned to the top of the table with nine points.
With Mehdi Benatia, Javi Martínez, and Holger Badstuber injured and Jérôme Boateng suspended, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola did not have a traditional center back in his starting XI. He instead used David Alaba and Xabi Alonso as the tip and tail of a diamond formation. The tactic proved extremely effective, Stefan Kießling only getting three shots off in the match.
Bayern shot down the flanks in attack, Douglas and Robben widening the field and taking on fullbacks Roberto Hilbert and Wendell. Douglas's mastery of the flank took full effect midway through the first half, blistering down the left wing before Müller's run. Müller tapped it past the dive of Bernd Leno to open the scoring.
Bayern's advancements into the Leverkusen penalty area continued to increase in the second half. Trying to contain Arturo Vidal on a set piece, Hilbert gave the Chilean midfielder more than a friendly shove, and referee Florian Meyer awarded the penalty. Müller misdirected Leno before hammering it into the right corner, completing his brace in the match.
Having played at midweek, Bayer Leverkusen began to tire late in the second half. Even when Roger Schmidt swapped Wendell for Sebastian Boenisch, the defense could not stop Bayern from knocking on the door. Hilbert's woes continued once Meyer called him for a hand ball on a cross from Douglas Costa. Robben stepped up to the spot despite Vidal's desire to get the opportunity to score against his former club. Robben then opened his Bundesliga scoring account by slotting a ball into the bottom right corner.
Bayern's 3-0 was the largest victory over Leverkusen since the 2011/12 season. Leverkusen remain at six points with the loss and see their goal difference go into the negatives for the first time this season.
The Rekordmeister have a friendly against Fanclub Red Power on Sunday, and then will continue to build on their perfect start in Augsburg September 12 after the FIFA International Break.
Bayern Munich (3-0) Bayer Leverkusen
FCB: Thomas Müller (26', P 60'), Arjen Robben (P 72')
Bayern XI: Neuer – Lahm, Alonso, Alaba, Bernat (Dante 74') – Vidal, Thiago (Rode 85') – Robben (Götze 77'), Müller, Douglas – Lewandowski
Leverkusen XI: Leno – Hilbert, Tah, Papadopoulos, Wendell – Bellarabi, Kramer, Bender, Çalhanoglu – Mehmedi (Brandt 46') – Kießling
- Bayern needed to win the battle on the flanks, and boy did they. Schmidt elected to use the same pair he did at midweek even though he had Sebastian Boenisch and Giulio Donati in reserve. Douglas Costa and Robben graciously thanked him numerous times by torching Roberto Hilbert and Wendell until their hair was standing up straight (well... Wendell's already was...)
- Contrary to popular belief, Bayern actually played with two center backs. They were both named David Alaba. Guardiola took a gamble in making him the sweeper, but he roamed the center of defense with delectable gusto. His prowess allowed Xabi Alonso to keep an eye on Stefan Kießling, while Juan Bernat and Philipp Lahm snuffed out Karim Bellarabi for most of the match. Alaba may have proved in the match he is Bayern's most valuable defender, and that still may not be his best position.
- Müller and Lewandowski had tremendous matches, but not for their usual reasons. Knowing Bayern had to track back more often, both held up the ball together extremely well. That is an invaluable asset for a team who has blistering pace on the flanks.
- Rather than pour on more adoration for Douglas Costa, how 'bout a few facts, eh? Opta tweeted Douglas reached a top speed of 32.9 km/h. It is not Arjen Robben's 37 km/h in the World Cup in 2014, but it is not far off either. Douglas's assist to Müller was his fourth of the season, meaning he has been directly involved in half of Bayern's goals this season. Still not convinced? Then just look down (or up in Julian Brandt's case).
That’s just… unfair @douglascosta… #FCBB04 pic.twitter.com/IzQsyXFQ8e— Bavarian FB Works (@BavarianFBWorks) August 29, 2015