Another season, another Hamburg hammering in Munich. Bayern Munich finally showed why they are the defending champions by giving Hamburg their annual bare-bottom spanking in the Allianz Arena.
Here are some observations from Bayern’s 8-0 win against Hamburg.
Individual skill, Bayern’s greatest attribute
Forget tactics, forget form. Sometimes Bayern simply have better players than their opposition. That has frequently been the case against Hamburg, and they showed once again why the Dinosaurier should just stop coming to the Allianz Arena. But it wasn’t just the eight goals, but the playground football that Bayern absolutely skilled Bayern with. Robert Lewandowski’s control and finish past Mergim Mavraj, Thomas Müller’s goal-line pass, Arjen Robben’s back-heel rabona to Lewandowski, it doesn’t matter. Bayern had 10 (!) dribbles against Hamburg, and that only happens because you’re better.
Hamburg’s Bayern complex
No matter the squad, no matter the table position, no matter the form. Hamburg come to Munich and simply lay an egg. They were finally establishing some consistency – three straight wins in February, unbeaten in their last three league games – but they looked completely deflated by halftime after Bayern took a 3-0 lead. Seriously, at this point, forfeiting the match at taking a 3-0 loss is probably better than traveling to Munich once a year.
Thomas Müller, bunker buster
Hamburg, like most teams playing in the Allianz Arena, put their numbers behind the ball. That did not work too well for them, and Müller was a big reason why. He went at Mavraj and Hamburg’s midfield, using his strength, hold-up ability and underrated pace to manufacture chances in the final third. His first assist may have been fortunate – Mavraj’s deflection deserve’s more credit than Müller’s cheeky spin move – but his second assist, leaving the ball for Alaba rather than taking it himself, was classic Müller. That is the attacking threat we remember him being.
The Philipp Lahm/Arjen Robben overlap is still fun to watch
Bayern had a great deal of success attacking down the right early in the game despite Douglas Santos holding up rather well against Robben. But not even the Olympic gold medalist could handle the classic Lahm/Robben overlap, one that has blessed the Allianz Arena field for eight seasons now. Their telepathy with one-another is one of the reasons Bayern has been so good in recent years. Now if only Douglas Costa and David Alaba could establish a similar rapport on the other side.
The other milestone
Carlo Ancelotti was honored before the game for his 1000th game as a coach, but that was not the only milestone to celebrate on Saturday. Manuel Neuer also kept his 150th clean sheet with Bayern, and though he did not have much to do, he punctuated it by a diving catch save on Michael Gregoritsch’s free kick in the second half. He still has a while to go before he catches Oliver Kahn (247 clean sheets for Bayern), but passing Sepp Maier (185) is still within reach.