Braces from both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller secured a 4-1 for Bayern Munich at DSC Arminia Bielefeld just two days after progressing to the second round of the DFB-Pokal by virtue of a 3-0 win over FC FC Düren.
After going 3-0 up in the first half, it looked like it was going to be complete cruise control from Bayern’s perspective, but a combination of added pressure from Bielefeld and Bayern letting their foot off the gas resulted in a second half far inferior to the first. Ritsu Doan pulled one back in the 58th minute after Muller had made it 4-0 in the 51st minute, and matters were also made slightly worse when Corentin Tolisso received a straight red for his sliding challenge on Fabian Klos in the 76th minute.
Speaking after the match, Hansi Flick highlighted the difference in the two halves and said he wants to eliminate the brief lapses in concentration (FCBayern.com): “The first half was close to what we want. But we had about five minutes where we were too careless. I’m not pleased about that and that made our lives somewhat difficult. For me, Thomas Müller with Robert Lewandowski were our two best players in the match. Of course we can defend better than we did, but we’re also missing some training sessions. It will be a challenge, but there is no other option and for that reason we’ll take it.”
Bielefeld’s goal came from a counter attack where Bayern’s defenders were slow to get back and Tolisso’s red card incident came as a direct result of a poor, mishit back pass from Javi Martinez. In that respect, despite winning the match by a clear margin, Bayern was once again the architect of their own shortcomings at the Schüco Arena. These lapses in concentration and intensity could wind up costing them down the stretch, so Flick will certainly be addressing that in training this week.
Lewandowski agreed with Flick’s assessment of the difference in the two halves, with the performance level much better in the opening 45 minutes from Bayern: “The first 45 minutes we clearly showed that we wanted to win. We scored three goals and made a few good chances. However, Arminia played well with the ball. They’re showing this season that they’re up for a fight and can put together some good performances. We weren’t good enough in the second half. We had two or three chances to score, but we made two or three errors. After a long break the first game back is always important.”
Manuel Neuer wasn’t as critical of his side’s performance in the second half despite conceding a goal and going down to 10 men. Rather, he had high praise for the attacking players who created chance after chance and were able to score four goals: “We performed well. It was a great pitch. We could play our game and put Arminia under pressure early. They nonetheless still tried to play out the back. It was important that we took advantage of chances we had in the 18-yard box. It was important for us to score too. We gave a good account of ourselves. Unfortunately we conceded a goal, but we scored four. That says a lot about our attack.”
- Lewandowski’s brace saw him go top of the Bundesliga’s scoring chart with a total of 7 on the season, surpassing TSG Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric (6), who was unable to play this match week because of a positive coronavirus test.
- Muller’s assist to Lewandowski brings him top of of the Bundesliga’s assist leaders (4) just ahead of Lewandowski, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Jonas Hofmann and Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna (3). Joshua Kimmich, and Leroy Sane, are right behind with 2 a piece.
- Neuer could’ve collected his 200th clean sheet for Bayern had Bielefeld not scored.
- Muller has now had at least one goal involvement in ALL of Bayern’s matches this season bar the UEFA Supercup win over Sevilla in Budapest, Hungary.
- Bayern now has a league best GD of +9