Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich: 6 Things We Learned
It was another day at the office for Bayern Munich as they travelled to yet another side in Werder Bremen that would have posed as a difficult away trip two or three seasons ago, yet now offers no more than a pleasant city escape for the conquering champions and their hoard of fans.
Pep Guardiola made a few changes to the starting line-up ahead of next week's Champions League tie against Manchester City, with Dante and Javi Martinez taking their place on the bench, while Franck Ribery, Thiago Alcantara and Mario Mandzukic returned to the first team.
Unsurprisingly, it was these three players that seemed to have the spring in their step as Bayern got to their task of battering Bremen's goal-mouth relatively early on.
In fact, it took only 21 minutes for the goalscoring to start, when Ribery dragged the ball past Clemens Fritz on the right-hand side of Bremen's defence, and smashed a low cross in to the box to which Assani Lukimya unfortunately toed in to his keeper's own net.
Six minutes later, Daniel Van Buyten rose above all else to knock in a Toni Kroos cross and put Bayern two goals to the good. Then five minutes from half-time, a wonderfully executed counter-attack through Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Muller and then Franck Ribery, made it three. Half-time then came for Bremen, and not a moment too soon.
Unfortunately, the second half was no kinder for the home side and Bayern continued to knoch up the goals against a struggling side that had managed to ship at least three goals in their last three games.
This time it was seven, with second-half goals coming from Ribery, Mandzukic, Muller and Mario Gotze to compound a defeat that will undoubtedly push the troubled club beyond breaking point.
For Bayern, this game went according to plan with a resounding win, key players getting a reasonable outing and all three points. Next, Manchester City pose a tricky final game in the Champions League group stages for Pep and his men.
But after today's match they'll undoubtedly go in to such a tie with more than enough confidence.
Here's what we took from today's game.
Franck Ribery Is Back!
As the unquestionable great among this team of stars, Franck Ribery's return to the Bayern side after a few weeks out with injury was expected to yield some welcome results. Yet few could claim they expected such a complete performance from the Frenchman today.
The Balon d'Or nominee was simply everywhere and along with the forced own-goal that he created to kick-start Bayern's scoring, Ribery also managed to score two goals of his own along with a wonderful assist for Thomas Muller's goal.
As the winger returns to his dominant spot in this side, the rest of the world can simply do no more than sit back and enjoy as this excellent player enjoys the peak of his career.
Bayern Look Fine Without Stars
With an injury list, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri and Holger Badstuber, that looked more like a fanasty football starting line up, Bayern went in to today's game with a number of key players missing.
Yet a simple testament to the incredible depth in this squad was the fact that Pep Guardiola also chose to keep Dante on the bench before kick-off too. And yet the team were able to win so comprehensively.
Bayern may be a club that can match any starting XI in the world at the moment, but their true talent lies in their depth and the ability to which Pep can so easily replace like for like talent.
Thiago Dynamic in Central Midfield
Amongst the shining stars up front for Bayern, who leave Bremen with a bag full of goals, one of the unsung heroes of the day was young Thiago Alcantara who came in to the side at central midfield to play a role that had until now been pencilled in as Phlipp Lahm's own.
Alas he did extraordinarily well against an, admittedly, shambolic Bremen midfield and was consistently seen in all corners of the pitch to offer endless support for the hungry front line.
Daniel Van Buyten and Rafinha were the only players to make more passes than the young Spaniard as he pulled the strings to ensure Bayern's emphatic victory. This was another world beater in midfielder to add to Pep's long list.
Bayern Blitz Ahead Again
Out of Bayern's last six games, Borussia Dortmund proved the only worthy opponents to have stopped them from scoring within the first 30 minutes of the game.
This has obviously become a recent ploy by Guardiola to tackle the initial lapses in the opening few weeks of the season that saw his side look rather lackadaisical in the opening stages of each game before going on to win.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, this simply means more often than not Bayern will have each game wrapped up with the three points intact before the half-time whistle has even blown. Such dominance is beginning to become a nuisance for the simple bystander.
Bremen Hopeless Once Again
Aside from Bayern's brilliance, the next obvious outcome of today's game was the apparent inability of Werder Bremen to even put up a fight against the current European and German champions.
A hard-fought defeat to Bayern is nothing to be ashamed of in German football but the manner in which Robin Dutt's side completely capitulated at the Weserstadion is something that fans won't forgive so easily.
Add that to a run of form that has seen Bremen pick up just two wins in their last fourteen games—in all competitions—and you have a club that are not just in turmoil, but utter free fall. Fourteenth in the Bundesliga is where they current stand; just five points from dreaded relegation.
Bayern New Points Record for the Calendar Year
As what seems like a weekly announcement these days, Bayern continued their record-breaking form with yet another new record this afternoon with their 7-0 win over Werder Bremen.
All three points for the day now puts Pep Guardiola's side on 90 points for the calendar year, which is now three more than the 2013 record that was previously held by Jupp Henyckes' European conquering side.
As Bayern continue unopposed in Europe and in Germany, we dare say thumping results like today's will be a thing of the past any time soon as this formidable Bavarian team continue their dominance over the sport.
Another three points for Bundesliga leaders Bayern, and another step towards further success.