Bayern run riot to tighten grip on Bundesliga top spot

Robert Lewandowski Source: AAP

Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and made another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

The defending champions nosed, briefly at least, 10 points ahead of RB Leipzig as they aim to secure a ninth successive title.

Hoffenheim offered plenty of threat and Ihlas Bebou should have done better with two gilt-edged chances, with his profligacy punished by Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller.

Bebo atoned by teeing up Andrej Kramaric to volley in his first away league goal at Bayern on the stroke of half-time, but quickfire strikes from Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry ensured a fourth straight Bundesliga win for Hansi Flick's team.

Hoffenheim stunned Bayern 4-1 early in the campaign and Bebou could have put them ahead in the opening stages on Saturday, but Manuel Neuer came to the hosts' rescue.

Though Muller hit the crossbar at the other end, it was Hoffenheim who should have taken the lead – Bebou heading wide from close range – and he was made to pay in the 32nd minute when Boateng headed in Joshua Kimmich's outswinging corner.

Bayern seemed to be heading into half-time with a two-goal cushion when Muller's rather scuffed effort at the culmination of Lewandowski's mazy run found its way into the bottom-right corner, yet Hoffenheim struck back 74 seconds later when Kramajic steered Bebou's cross beyond Neuer.

Unperturbed by conceding, Bayern were straight back on the front foot after the restart and their third goal came shortly before the hour, with Lewandowski on hand to capitalise on poor defending.

Kingsley Coman's cross had caused havoc in the build-up to Lewandowski's 24th league goal of 2020-21 and the Frenchman turned provider again six minutes later as he slipped in Gnabry to wrap up the points.

Benjamin Pavard thought he had added further gloss with a sensational strike from 20 yards out, only for VAR to disallow it due to Leroy Sane drifting offside, with Neuer pulling off an exceptional save to deny Pavel Kaderabek a late consolation.


What does it mean? Bayern looking ominous

With RB Leipzig featuring in Saturday's late Bundesliga game, Bayern could enjoy, however briefly, the feeling of being 10 points clear.

Despite some defensive lapses proving costly this season, Bayern simply have far too much going forward for the rest of the league to handle. They have already scored 57 goals across their 19 Bundesliga games, and they have never let such a big lead slip in the second half of a season since the introduction of three points per win.

Muller and Lewy lead the way

Lewandowski is still Bayern’s talisman, but he is being superbly supported by Muller, whose resurgence under Flick has been a joy to behold.

Poland star Lewandowski toyed with Hoffenheim's defence before laying it off to Muller to drag in Bayern's second. Muller has now hit 10 goals in the league this season, his best tally since the 2015-16 season (20).

Bebou shows his best and worst

Bayern struggled to cope with Bebou's pace and power in the early exchanges, but the Hoffenheim forward really should have done better with his chances – the two attempts he managed.

On the other hand, Sebastian Hoeness will take the positives from the 26-year-old creating a joint team-high three opportunities, including his superb assist for Kramaric's volley.

Key Opta Facts

- Bayern have won their last four Bundesliga matches in a row – in 2020/21 they have only had a longer run between matchday three and seven.
- Flick's side have also scored 57 goals in this season, a new club record after 19 matchdays. The only team that have scored more after the same amount of matches was Hamburg in 1981-82 (58 goals).
- Lewandowski scored 24 Bundesliga goals after 19 matchdays, more than any other player in the competiiton's history after as many fixtures.
- Bayern defender Boateng scored his fifth Bundesliga goal, with three of those having been headers. His last goal was in January 2018, also against Hoffenheim.
- Gnabry ended an 11-game goal drought, scoring his first Bundesliga goal since October 2020.

What's next?

Bayern travel to Hertha on Friday, while Hoffenheim host Eintracht Frankfurt two days later.

Source Omnisport