Dominant Bayern cruise to easy 4:1 victory in Düsseldorf

Fortuna Düsseldorf have been the surprise team in the Bundesliga this season, but they were no match for a supreme FC Bayern München. Picking up where they left off against Borussia Dortmund last week, the Bavarians strolled to an easy 4:1 victory at the Merkur Spiel-Arena.

The win keeps Niko Kovač’s side a point clear of Dortmund at the top of the table, with just five match days remaining. It was not all good news though, as captain Manuel Neuer was subbed off in the second half and Mats Hummels also picked up an injury.

Bayern slip into gear

The Bayern coach started with the same eleven that had lined up against Dortmund, and right from the kickoff the team set out to stamp their authority on their mid-table opponents. Düsseldorf had shocked Bayern in Munich with two late goals to earn a 3:3 draw, but it quickly became clear that the Bavarians were in no mood to get bitten for a second time.

It took just six minutes for the visitors, kitted out in their all-grey ensemble, to create the first goal-scoring chance. Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry were the architects, with Gnabry’s deflected cross hitting the base of the far post before Kingsley Coman could react. Moments later, Thiago Alcântara headed wide.

After a quarter of an hour, the breakthrough came. Having initially launched the attack, Coman collected the ball from Gnabry before sending a teasing cross in the box for Thomas Müller to finish. Well, that is what it looked like. Der Raumdeuter’s positioning was crucial, and his just being there had confused ‘keeper Michael Rensing. But there was no final touch, meaning that Coman’s name flashed on the scoreboard.

Coman at the double

Javi Martínez had a shot blocked after 19 minutes, and is fair to say that there was only one team in the contest. It would take a defensive error from Mats Hummels to give Fortuna their first shot on goal, but Polish striker Dawid Kownacki was unable to keep his effort down. Bayern were quick to break, but Robert Lewandowski found himself surrounded by a mass of red shirts.

Despite Bayern’s complete dominance, it looked as though Friedhelm Funkel’s men were going to see out the half just a goal down. Despite offering little threat up front, the home side were well drilled at the back.

Die Roten had to wait until four minutes before the break. It took some precise passes to break the Düsseldorf defence open, and Gnabry’s low pass to Kimmich was like a knife slicing through butter. The right-back’s cross found Coman, who guided the ball into the left corner of the net. Former Bayern man Rensing could only stand and admire.

As the clock ticked into additional time. Rensing did well to tip a well-directed Martínez header over the bar. On balance, the two-goal lead at half time was about right.

Neuer injured, Gnabry makes it three

The second half started as the first had ended, and there was no let up from the visitors. Thiago was denied by Rensing after 49 minutes, as Bayern looked to wrap things up quickly. It was looking all too easy, and it was only a matter of time before the next goal came.

Bayern had managed the game brilliantly, but it was not all plain sailing. After 53 minutes, Manuel Neuer looked to clear the ball, but pulled up awkwardly. The gloves were off, the physio was on the pitch, and it did not look good. Thankfully the skipper was able to make his own way off the pitch, making way for Sven Ulreich.

The potential loss of Neuer will surely hurt the team as they turn towards the final sprint, but it had little effect on the day. Just two minutes later, a Thiago corner was neatly flicked on by Müller, and Gnabry stole in at the far post to execute a neat backheeled finish. Cue that familiar celebration again.

Düsseldorf were finished, but Bayern continued to press. There was to be no repeat of the complacency they had shown against the same opponents at the Allianz Arena. Thiago and Lewandowski both had efforts on target, keeping the busy Rensing on his toes.

A VAR-cical decision, Goretzka wraps it up

Having had nothing to do after replacing Neuer, Ulreich suddenly had to face sub Dodi Lukébakio from the penalty spot. The decision itself was more than harsh, with referee Felix Zwayer referring to the video assistant before penalising Hummels for handball.

It was one of those moments when one could question the technology, and for two awkward minutes the referee was commanding all of the attention. Thankfully, it was little more than a consolation for the Rhinelanders. Lukébakio calmly sent Ulreich the wrong way, and the hosts were on the board.

There was time for one more goal. When the Düsseldorf defence failed to clear Lewandowski’s cross two minutes into added time, sub Leon Goretzka provided the final polish.

Some of that additional shine was taken off right at the end, as the teams were walking off. Amid the celebrations and the customary greeting to the small band of visiting supporters, Hummels was seen holding the back of his right thigh.

Statistical Summary

Fortuna Düsseldorf – FC Bayern München 1:4 (0:2)
Lukébakio pen 89. / Coman 15., 41., Gnabry 55., Goretzka 90.+2.

Düsseldorf: Rensing – Zimmermann, Hoffmann, Kaminski, Ayhan (c) – Sobottka (67. Morales) – Stöger, Barkok – Raman, Hennings (68. Lukébakio), Kownacki (80. Usami)

FC Bayern: Neuer (c) (53. Ulreich) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez – Müller (70. Goretzka), Thiago – Gnabry (80. James), Lewandowski , Coman

Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
Attendance: 53,400

Yellow Cards: Ayhan 20. / –
Red Cards: – / –

Shots: 7 / 19
Passes: 358 / 773
Completed Passes: 271 / 655
Pass Success: 76% / 89%
Possession: 33% / 67%
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offsides: 1 / 2
Corners: 2 / 6