Bayern Munich were only too happy to keep the pressure on Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Friday night, with a pedestrian win of their own against FC Nurnberg as Pep Guardiola's side finished up eventual 2-0 winners.
Guardiola continued his vision for a new Bayern Munich style by starting both new signings, Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze, in the central positions of his roaming front four, alongside Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, while Mario Mandzukic led the line.
With Manuel Neuer in goal, the back line stuck with no surprises as Philipp Lahm and David Alaba preoccupied both wings, with the pairing of Dante and Jerome Boateng in the middle. Pep had again chose to play with a basic 4-1-4-1 formation.
The first half offered no more than another troublesome 45 minutes for Bayern and their fans as the central pairing of Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze struggled. In the former Dortmund playmaker's first Bundesliga start for his new side, both he and Thiago offered very little in terms of attacking options, as both not only failed to adapt to their own roles in the side, but also to the strong defense of their stubborn opponents.
There were moments of brilliance from the defending champions, unsurprisingly through the ever-reliable Franck Ribery as he skipped past Timothy Chandler on the left-hand wing and continuously sought the attention of Nurnberg's remaining back line.
Arjen Robben was also of use throughout the first half, peppering the right wing with his direct runs. None more effective than one in the 33rd minute that brought himself between the ball and Per Nilsson, before the Nurnberg defender clumsily brought the Dutch international down in the box. A bitter call from referee Christian Dingert, but perhaps retribution for a Mario Mandzukic penalty claim he should have given ten minutes prior.
David Alaba then confidently stepped up and uncharacteristically hit the low shot straight at Nurnberg keeper Raphael Schafer. A disappointing effort that summed up Bayern's impotence in the initial half.
Bayern surprisingly began the second half with the same starting eleven intact, yet with a different range of instructions as Ribery and Robben put a greater emphasis on crossing the ball for their towering striker in the box.
By the 60th minute, Nurnberg's box was in utter bombardment from the service offered to Mandzukic, as the striker duly complied and threatened to open the scoring if not for an excellent effort by Schafer to push the Croatian's header over the box.
Change finally came in the following 10 minutes as the two first-half culprits, Thiago and Gotze, were eventually replaced by Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos. The difference was immediate and in the 69th minute Franck Ribery broke the deadlock with a passionate header.
With the home side finally getting their goal, all that was left for Nurnberg was to simply sit by and helplessly witness a wonderful goal from Arjen Robben deep in the later stages of the half as he skipped by three rushing defenders and slotted the ball past the stunned goalkeeper.
A goal that will go down as an "Arjen Robben trademark," as the icing on the cake of this incredibly comfortable win for the Munich side in the 187th Bavarian derby.
Franck Ribery, Bayern: A
It seems almost like a cliché to pick up on Franck Ribery's performance after a Bayern game, such is the consistency of the Frenchman. Yet today he truly stood out in a game that looked to have bamboozled Bayern into submission of a solitary point.
Daniel Ginczek, Nurnberg: B
As pinpointed in the preview to this game, Ginczek has been simply vital to all of Nurnberg's success so far this season, and today he showed no signs of shying away against bigger opposition. His shot in the 15th minute that smacked off Manuel Neuer's crossbar was unfortunate not to have put his side in the lead, but it didn't stop him from relentlessly causing all sorts of bother for Bayern's defence. A wonderful prospect for the season to come.
Mario Gotze, Bayern: D
In what was supposed to be Gotze's dramatic unveiling as the bright new future of Bayern Munich, the young German prodigy never really put a foot right throughout the game as he struggled to force influence on a side that already heavily rely on Ribery for support. He'll get there eventually, and one day Mario Gotze will be the boss of that Bayern midfield, but it certainly wasn't today.
Raphael Schafer, Nurnberg: A
In quite the same nature as his teammate up front, Raphael Schafer truly rose to the occasion at the Allianz Arena with the same gust of confidence and ability that allowed Nurnberg to hold on to the draw for as long as they did. Although the experienced German keeper will curse himself for his footing that allowed Robben to sneak his shot in for the second Bayern goal, his overall performance was simply outstanding.
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