Bayern Munich returned to the Bundesliga win column Saturday with a comfortable 5-0 victory over relegation-threatened Werder Bremen at Allianz Arena.
The Bavarians, who had taken just one point from their previous two league matches, jumped out in front on a Thiago Alcantara goal less than 10 minutes in and never looked back. They are now eight points ahead of second-place Borussia Dortmund in the title chase.
Thomas Muller added two goals for the three-time defending champions. Kingsley Coman also shined with a trio of assists.
Bayern manager Pep Guardiola stated this week he understands the limited margin for error at this stage of the campaign—"every game is a final for us now"—and thought the Werderaner represented a unique challenge despite their place in the table, according to Reuters.
"There is not much space when you play Werder, it is complicated," Guardiola said. "They play a five-man defence and in front of that four midfielders. We will need patience, a lot of patience and we can't allow them any counter-attacks."
The Bavarians executed the game plan to perfection in the opening 45 minutes. They limited Bremen's chances to push forward by controlling a vast majority of the possession and took advantage once they cracked the defensive shell.
Of course, getting a quick goal always eliminates a lot of the pressure when going up against a defensive-minded opponent. Thiago got Bayern on the scoreboard quickly by winning a 50/50 cross by Coman and redirecting it past Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald.
OptaFranz noted the early tally ended an extended drought for the midfielder:
748 – @Thiago6 scores after 748 days without a goal again in the Bundesliga. Overdue. #FCBSVW2016-3-12 17:49:52
Bayern continued to set the pace and stretched the lead just after the half-hour mark.
Once again it was Coman wreaking havoc down the right side, taking an extra touch to shake the defender before floating a cross to the middle. Muller managed to stick out his boot amid a crowded box, and his shot caught Wiedwald off guard to make it 2-0.
DW Sports showed how Bayern supporters were probably feeling at the time:
DW Sports @dw_sports
GOAL! Another cross from Coman find Muller at the front post who volleys the ball home. 2-0 #FCBSVW https://t.co/ZfQmEXWoaQ2016-3-12 18:01:37
Squawka Football broke down the terrific first half from Coman, who keeps impressing at age 19:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Kingsley Coman's first half by numbers vs. Werder Bremen: 97% pass accuracy 5 crosses 2 assists 2 take-ons Superb https://t.co/awgdnJ9cjs2016-3-12 18:27:32
The second half was basically a carbon copy of the first. Bayern were rarely threatened defensively and pushed their lead to three in the 65th minute.
Thiago floated a corner to Franck Ribery, who unleashed a laser from the top of the box. Wiedwald did well to make the stop, but he couldn't control the rebound, and Muller was there to deposit the rebound for his second goal of the match.
Even though they held an insurmountable lead, the Bavarians still brought on star forward Robert Lewandowski with around 15 minutes to go. Werder Bremen jokingly responded to the immense amount of talent Bayern can send out:
Sure enough, Lewandowski found the net in the final minutes of the match. Thiago also scored again as Bayern coasted to the final whistle with a 5-0 win.
The Bavarians celebrated the result:
FC Bayern English @FCBayernEN
All over! Bring on @juventusfcen! #FCBSVW https://t.co/gQ3So1hZMv2016-3-12 19:23:19
WhoScored.com provided the one-sided statistics:
Bayern Munich 5-0 Werder Bremen FT: Shots(OT) 20(13) - 2(1), Possession 83% - 17%, 7.65 - 6.04 https://t.co/K0VWcKbIuq #fcbsvw2016-3-12 19:25:52
Looking ahead, Bayern return to action Wednesday for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Juventus. The sides played to a highly entertaining 2-2 draw at Juventus Stadium last month. Now the German side will look to advance with a home triumph.
That's followed by a league clash with Cologne next weekend. It's the type of match—away from home against a mid-table opponent—that the Bavarians will likely need to win during the stretch run of the campaign in order to capture another title.
Meanwhile, Werder are just three points clear of the relegation zone, so every point will be important over the next couple of months. Up next is a home matchup with Mainz next Saturday, which should be a good measuring stick given the sixth-place club's current strong form.
Home Bayern provided an update on Arjen Robben from Guardiola.
The boss discussed the upcoming Champions League meeting with Juventus, per Bayern.
"We need to be very, very intelligent," Guardiola said. "We need our fans!"
DW Sports passed along a blunt assessment of the lopsided match from Werder Bremen manager Viktor Skripnik.
"Every team that comes here and has 30 percent possession will look like they don't want to win. Bayern are Bayern," he said.