Bayern Munich bounced back from their draw against Hertha Berlin with a comfortable 3-0 win over Schalke at the Veltins Arena on Saturday to help the reigning Bundesliga champions keep up with leaders and rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring from the penalty spot on the 20-minute mark after great work from Kingsley Coman. Bayern controlled large parts of the first half, but could not create clear cut chances against a resolute David Wagner side.
The Pole started the second half in great fashion, with a sensational free-kick doubling Die Roten's lead. There were several controversial decisions that went Bayern's way, with multiple handballs in the box not awarded to Die Königsblauen. Lewandowski capitalised on it with a great finish to seal his hat-trick.
Key Talking Point
After a disastrous 2018/19 campaign, Schalke have started poorly under former Huddersfield boss David Wagner. Having only scored 37 goals in 34 games in the Bundesliga last season, Die Königsblauen again struggled to find the net despite Bayern giving them plenty of opportunities to do so.
This was epitomised with Guido Burgstaller going round Manuel Neuer only to hit the post with the goal gaping. Defensively, it was a decent performance, but mistakes from Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny and Weston McKennie costs them.
It will be a huge worry, however, that they were unable to really test their former keeper Neuer and Wagner will be hoping he can fix their attacking issues ahead of their next fixture against Hertha.
Substitutes: Sane (6), Kutucu (7), Mercan (6).
STAR PLAYER - A disappointing result for Schalke, especially after having a great spell in the second half when they should have been awarded several penalties, all catalysed by substitute Ahmed Kutucu.
He changed the game for Schalke in the attacking third, creating many half chances and even having a great run that was very close to ending up as a goal. He was, however, unable to turn his hard work into anything meaningful as Schalke struggled to put the ball in the back of the net.
Kutucu. What a player he’ll be for us. Changed the entire game up front.— manna. (@GeeManna) August 24, 2019
Key Talking Point
What would Bayern be without Robert Lewandowski? The recently turned 31-year-old is still one of the most crucial players at the club, with his performance on Saturday proving his worth once again. Manager Niko Kovac will be pleased that his star player performed well in what was a new system for the German champions.
Kovac handed Bundesliga debuts for the club to Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic but it was Lewandowski who once again stole the headlines. French winger Kingsley Coman also put it in a great performance, chipping in with two assists for the Pole as Bayern got back to scoring and dominating opposition.
A good performance will give Kovac's side a nice confidence boost and they'll will be hoping they can carry on their great attacking form with a clash against title challengers RB Leipzig on the horizon.
Starting XI: Neuer (7); Pavard (7), Lucas (7), Süle (7), Alaba (7); Müller (7), Kimmich (7); Tolisso (7); Gnabry (6), Lewandowski (10), Coman (8).
Substitutes: Coutinho (7), Perisic (6), Martinez (6).
STAR PLAYER - There were several good performances in the Bayern squad but Lewandowski was the standout player once again for the Bavarians. His three goals were more than enough for Bayern to seal their first three points in the Bundesliga.
It was a complete performance by the Pole, with his goals coming from the penalty spot, a direct free-kick and a great finish. All his goals showed great composure, with his free-kick being the pick of the bunch, the ball flying into the top corner past young keeper Alexander Nübel.
It's time to include Lewandowski in the conversation for best players in the world. Unreal.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) August 24, 2019
LEWANDOWSKI the best striker in the world no debate ⚽️⚽️⚽️— Mitch “Sign the fucking Contract” Marner (@Abisan_S) August 24, 2019
Bayern needed that win to stop them from falling behind in the title race even further, and they got it.
Die Roten next face Mainz at the Allianz before meeting fellow title challengers RB Leipzig in what will be a hotly contested affair. Schalke welcome Hertha Berlin and will look to bounce back in a match where they can hope to take some points in a bid to return to the top half of the table.