Carlo Ancelotti came to Bayern to help them win a Champions League title. The final in Cardiff is eight months away, but the Bavarians once again look the team able to lift the trophy when they dominated Rostov 5-0 in the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller were at their vintage best, both getting on the scoresheet in the first half. Joshua Kimmich also continued his scoring spree, bagging two more to give him four goals in his last three games for club and country.
It surely was the kind of performance Ancelotti could appreciate from a team with “not any big rotations”. Asking a Champions League semifinalist home victory against a club making its Champions League debut may be like asking Ray Charles to play piano with his eyes closed. But Bayern tore open a defense Ajax could not and Manuel Neuer rarely had to move his feet even though his teammates were playing mostly in Rostov’s half of the field.
Most of the tough fixtures are surely ahead of Bayern. After all, their next fixture is against Atletico Madrid, the team which knocked them out of the Champions League last season. But while Atleti were struggling to score against PSV, Bayern were cruising at their top gear, building the kind of momentum that makes the Bavarians so dominant during the fall.
The result did not come without some bumps an bruises. Mats Hummels had to leave in the second half after getting kicked in the face by Rostov defender Miha Mevjla in the first half. Hummels headed straight to the locker room once Juan Bernat replaced him shortly after the second half whistle.
Hummels’ damaged face was the only negative aspect of Bayern’s near-perfect performance. Rostov’s Ivan Daniliants put the right tactics in place to slow down Bayern’s attack, deploying five at the back and keeping his team compact. But the Rostov defenders did not execute his plans very well, constantly letting Bayern players slip into spaces. Lewandowski, Müller and Vidal were able to get touches in the box despite being surrounded by the Rostov defense.
It was Lewandowski’s penalty-area movement that got Bayern their first goal. Trying to run free on a corner kick, Lewandowski went to ground when Vladimir Granat desperately reached out and grabbed him. The Polish striker converted the penalty with ease to put Bayern on the board.
With so many Rostov bodies in the final third, Bayern went often to the flanks to get their scoring chances. Müller, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, got on the end of a David Alaba service from the left wing to put Bayern ahead in first-half added time.
Both of Kimmich’s second-half goals resulted from a service provider as well. He finished off a Douglas Costa cross at the far post for his first and capitalized on a free header from a Juan Bernat free kick for his second. Bernat got on the board himself once Franck Ribery, who started on the bench after playing in every Bayern game this season, picked him out at the near post.
Bayern Munich (5-0) FK Rostov
FCB: Robert Lewandowski (P 28’), Thomas Müller (45+2’), Joshua Kimmich (53’, 60’), Juan Bernat (90’)
Bayern XI: Neuer – Rafinha, Martinez, Hummels (Bernat 51’), Alaba – Vidal, Kimmich, Thiago (Renato Sanches 71’) – Douglas (Ribery 64’), Lewandowski, Müller
Rostov XI: Dzhanaev – Kalachev, Mevlja, Cesar Navas, Granat, Terentjev – Erokhin, Gatcan, Noboa – Poloz (Doumbia 46’), Azmoun (Prepelita 64’)