It should come as no surprise that Bayern Munich kicked off the first Bundesliga match of 2014 with a comprehensive 2-0 win at Borussia Park this evening with hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach powerless to deny them.
It took Mario Gotze just seven minutes to break the deadlock when a spirited run from Thomas Mueller rewarded him with space and time to cut the ball back to the false nine. Gotze duly knocked the ball past the helpless Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
Pep Guardiola's side then took control and, for much of the first half the game, looked like no more than a training exercise with Philipp Lahm and Co. charging at an intimidated defence. Then a Juan Arango free-kick caught Manuel Neuer slightly by surprise before a shot from Max Kruse smacked off the right post a few minutes before half time. Bayern went into the break a goal up but with the job far from done.
Then came the second half, and with it an odd replay of events that had come before in the first half. A mix up in the Gladbach box—which saw an outstanding save from ter Stegen at one point—led to a blatant handball from Granit Xhaka. Just seven minutes after the restart, Mueller converted the spot-kick to double his side's lead.
In an even odder turn of events, we once again saw Gladbach have their brief stints of dominance, with Patrick Herrmann taking aim and almost pulling one back for his side with a fantastic shot that smacked off Neuer's right-hand post for the second time of the night. A few minutes later, the young wide-man missed a true sitter, and then Gladbach went silent.
Bayern had their two goals and were in cruise control. With the first game of 2014 all wrapped up, here are six things we learned.