After more than two months without a home victory in the Bundesliga, FC Bayern München finally broke the evil spell with a solid and well-drilled 3:0 win over strugglers 1. FC Nürnberg. It also brought them their first clean sheet in ten league matches at the Allianz Arena.
After seemingly endless stories of moles, dressing room disputes and FC Hollywood nonsense, the players were more than happy concentrate on playing football. Which is all that we want to see right now.
No changes, an early goal
Having stated his desire to wind down on squad rotation, coach Niko Kovač named the same eleven that had started in the 2:1 win against Werder Bremen. Bayern were looking for their first win at the Allianz Arena for over two months, and it was clearly a sensible decision to stick with the same winning squad. Having been subbed off early in Bremen, Franck Ribéry was passed fit to start.
Nürnberg had only taken two points from their opening six games on the road, but there was no way that Die Roten were going to underestimate their Bavarian rivals. Nothing less than a win was going to be good enough.
— FCB-Fanbetreuung (@FCBayern_FB) December 8, 2018
Bayern were quick to find a suitable tempo, and the visitors found it hard to get a touch in the first eight minutes as the hosts started to rack up the passes. Their third corner was expertly swung in by Joshua Kimmich, and Nürnberg ‘keeper Fabian Bredlow’s indecision made it easy for Robert Lewandowski, whose deft glancing header found the far corner of the net.
Lewy at the double
Having had an ordinary match in Bremen, Lewandowski was back to his best again. As Bayern continued to squeeze their clueless opponents, the Polish striker was a constant, menacing presence.
It was the perfect opening quarter of an hour. Nürnberg were suffocated in their own half, and there was a sharpness about Bayern’s play. Kimmich and Leon Goretzka kept the door firmly bolted, meaning that the back line had little to do. Ribéry and David Alaba were probing down the left, while Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry were darting down the right. With Lewy ghosting in the box, it looked like the men in red could score at any time.
After fifteen minutes, Bredlow just about managed to get his hands on a deflected Ribéry shot, desperately palming the ball away.
Nine minutes later, Bayern should have had their second. Some lovely interplay between Gnabry and Müller resulted in the ball being laid on a plate for Lewandowski, who fired over the target with the goal at his mercy. Perhaps the chance was too easy.
It was but a minor concern. Just three minutes later, the Pole scored his and Bayern’s second. Most of the credit had to go to Goretzka, who rifled in a lovely right-footed effort that clattered off the crossbar. With the Nürnberg defence all over the place and Bredlow left floundering, Lewy couldn’t miss as he zeroed in on the rebound.
YOU JUST CAN'T STOP HIM! 🔥🔥
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 8, 2018
Bayern on top, Ribéry adds a third
Bredlow blocked a crisp Müller effort on the half-hour mark, and produced an even better stop at his near post to keep out Alaba’s angled shot. After 38 minutes, Lewandowski’s volley fizzed narrowly wide. In all, it was a more than satisfactory first half for Kovač’s side.
The second half started just as the first had ended. Within a minute, Kimmich fired a low shot towards the bottom right-hand corner, but Bredlow did brilliantly to turn it around the post. It was a world-class save.
The Nürnberg ‘keeper had produced some excellent saves to keep prevent a red rout, but this was negated by his second howler of the day. His poor clearance was seized by Gnabry, and although Bredlow did well to deny the winger, there was little he could do to stop Ribéry’s finish from the rebound.
Bayern slowly started to wind things down, while keeping things tight at the back. Nürnberg did finally get one decent shot on target, but Sebastian Kerk’s effort was turned behind. With the points safely in the bag, the rehabilitation continued for Kingsley Coman and Thiago Alcântara.
There were chances to add additional gloss with a fourth goal. Coman sent a low shot wide, and right at the death Kimmich almost capped off a fantastic all-round display as his shot crashed off the crossbar.
Welcome clean sheet
As well as their first home Bundesliga win in five attempts, it was a more than welcome clean sheet for the Bavarians at the Allianz. To find the last, one would have to back to the end of March, and the 6:0 battering of Borussia Dortmund. Just let that sink in.
One might argue that it was “only” Nürnberg, but this could also have been said of Augsburg, Freiburg or Düsseldorf. Michael Köllner’s side were passive and not exactly competitive, but Bayern did everything right. Manuel Neuer only had one simple catch to make in the entire match.
Some of the best 📸 from today's Derby win.
— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) December 8, 2018
One has to wonder what Lewandowski’s numbers might have looked like had he taken more of his chances this season. The number nine has now bagged 19 goals in 20 starts, putting him in front of the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The win takes Bayern into third place, leapfrogging RB Leipzig who suffered a surprising 0:3 reverse in Freiburg. Annoyingly, leaders Borussia Dortmund edged out a stale looking Schalke in an insipid Ruhrderby, which means their advantage over Bayern remains at nine points.
We are now set for will be a frenetic run-in to the winter break, with four matches in the space of ten days. Next up, the final Champions League group match against Ajax in Amsterdam.
FC Bayern München – 1. FC Nürnberg 3:0 (2:0)
Lewandowski 9., 27., Ribéry 56. / –
FC Bayern: Neuer (c) – Rafinha, Süle, Boateng, Alaba – Kimmich, Goretzka (63. Thiago) – Gnabry (75. Wagner), Ribéry (63. Coman) – Müller – Lewandowski
Nürnberg: Bredlow – Bauer, Margreitter (c), Mühl, Leibold – Erras (84. Ewerton), Rhein (70. Petrák) – Goden , Misidjan – Ishak, Kerk (69. Zreľák)
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)
Yellow Cards: Alaba 66. / –
Red Cards: – / –
Shots: 20 / 4
Passes: 848 / 266
Completed Passes: 784 / 188
Pass Success: 92% / 71%
Possession: 76% / 24%
Fouls: 9 / 6
Offsides: 2 / 1
Corners: 11 / 1