Bayern Strike Early, Cruise to Victory

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Sun 25th Sep, 2011

Allianz Arena, Munich - As millions of visitors toast the special brew at the Oktoberfest, the rest of the league is becoming drunk from FC Bayern München and their current unbeatable form.

Thomas Müller and Daniel van Buyten each scored a goal in the first 20 minutes, and that was enough for Bayern to control the match, defeat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-0, and set their sights on bigger fish on Tuesday.

"The early lead came at the right time," said Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes.  "We managed the game after that and I never got the feeling thought we would lose."

"It was a concentrated performance by us," added midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.  "We were a bit calmer in the second half but we controlled the match throughout."

For the second consecutive visit, Leverkusen did not show up to play.  Last year was clouded in mystery, as Heynckes was the visiting coach, already announced to take over Bayern, with Champions League implications.  This time, there are no excuses for last year's runner up.  And they came in facing a team playing at the highest level at the moment.

From the outset, Bayern were intent on putting this one away.  Franck Ribéry continued to his resurgent role as playmaker for the club.  He moved past a turned around Danny da Costa and crossed to a cutting Müller in front of goal, who deflected it past Leverkusen's goalkeeper Bernd Leno.  1-0 after five minutes.  Ribéry was not done, he was intent on ruining da Costa's evening, abusing the 18-year-old throughout the match until the German was substituted.

After a foul in front of the area by Ömer Toprak on Toni Kroos in the 18th minute earned the defender a yellow card, van Buyten earned a chance at a free kick.  The Belgian ran up and kicked a missle shot that got through a broken down wall and beat Leno to his right just inside the post.  2-0 after 19 minutes.  From there, Bayern had many chances, moving the ball around without much opposition from their visitors but the Reds were unable to add more to their tally.

The crowd did get a parting gift however, as Arjen Robben entered the match in the 78th minute.  After receiving a rousing welcome by the sold out crowd, Robben quickly got involved into the offense, hoping to get some game time before Tuesday.

As the seconds ticked off to the final whistle, Robben broke free on the right side, received a beautiful through ball from Schweinsteiger, sprinted to goal and twisted in the icing on the cake past Leno.  3-0 full-time.

The Reds have won 6 consecutive league matches, outscoring their opponents 21-0.  Munich lead the Bundesliga table with 18 points and will hold on to the lead for another week. 

Coming into the season, Bayern's biggest question mark was the defense.  They spent most of their transfer budget to get in a new goalkeeper but did not change their middle defensive lineup.  Perhaps Bayern management knew something we all didn't, making the moves they felt were necessary.  Munich have not conceded a goal in 11 of 12 matches in all competitions.

"We are playing well defensively right now," admitted new goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.  "Everyone is working hard on defense and I can only compliment the guys in front of me." 

Holger Badstuber was one of the critical points when the central defense broke down last year, but he can explain the difference to this year.  "We are working well together, running, supporting and talking to each other - which is important for a team.

Leverkusen head coach Robin Dutt, while answering criticism to the lack of any attack against the Bayern defense, "we can sit here every Sunday after the match and ask that of every team who played Munich the day before.  They are playing in another league right now."

Bayern now turn their eyes on the bigger prize and perhaps the international spotlight.  Co-leaders of the English Premier League and big spenders Manchester City FC visit the Arena on Tuesday for the second match day of the UEFA Champions League.  If anyone doubts what Bayern have accomplished so far, this will be a solid litmus test.

"They are a top international team with quality players," said captain Philipp Lahm.  "We will have to concentrate like we did today and be aggressive.  We have a chance to start the Champions League group phase with six points and that would be optimal for us."

Kickoff on Tuesday is at 20:45 CET from the Allianz Arena.

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