Robert Lewandowski continued tearing Bundesliga defences apart, as he netted twice to help Bayern Munich win 3-1 in Augsburg. Poland striker Lewandowski struck in the first half and pounced again just after the hour mark, while strike partner Thomas Muller hit a third late on, before Raul Bobadilla hit one for the home side.
The table-topping visitors overcame a somewhat sluggish start before their goal rush, and they needed some typical inspiration from their free-scoring talisman to separate themselves.
Bayern's initial problems may have been due to some nerves about their injury-hit defence. Manager Pep Guardiola picked an unusual-looking starting XI, with many players out of position at the back, per the club:
This is what Bayern's makeshift defence looked like:
But with Lewandowski in attack, Bayern needn't worry too much about the men at the back. The former Borussia Dortmund ace smartly turned in Muller's assist inside the first 20 minutes.
The goal kept up Lewandowski's perfectly prolific run of form in the league this season, according to WhoScored.com:
Robert Lewandowski: Has now scored 20 goals in 20 Bundesliga apps this season #FCAFCB— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 14, 2016
It also meant the Pole remains Munich's most potent attacking outlet since the turn of the year, a fact emphasised by Squawka:
Robert Lewandowski has now netted 7 of the 8 goals Bayern Munich have scored in all competitions so far in 2016. pic.twitter.com/KmQutLUBE9— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 14, 2016
Issues were still obvious at the back, but Bayern typically found that possession is the best form of defence. To that end, Guardiola's men owned the ball in midfield thanks to classy and industrious work from Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara.
It was the latter who teed up Lewandowski to double his own tally and Bayern's lead. As Squawka confirmed, there's just no stopping Lewandowski this season:
Robert Lewandowski in all competitions for Bayern Munich this season:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 14, 2016
The Big Lewandowski. pic.twitter.com/E1JFn8kS2o
After carving open the Augsburg defence through the middle, Munich leaned on some exceptional wing play to create a third goal. Douglas Costa sent Muller free to convert, moments before Bobadilla struck the consolation.
Guardiola dedicated the win to injured centre-back Holger Badstuber, who is set to miss three months following surgery to repair a fractured ankle, per the club's official site:
With emergency defenders clearly on his mind, Guardiola was full of praise for one player who is helping fill the void:
But the Munich chief feels like his team is already facing an uphill battle in their forthcoming UEFA Champions League game:
A tough away win is a pertinent reminder of the quality and depth of Bayern's squad. But as long as prominent defenders such as Jerome Boateng and Badstuber are on the shelf, Guardiola will still be worried ahead of the meeting with Juventus, a side sure to pose more of an attacking threat.