Bayern at their best crushing Frankfurt

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Bayern Munich celebrate after Mario Mandzukic rounded off Sunday's 5-0 victory.GettyImagesBayern Munich celebrate after Mario Mandzukic rounded off Sunday's 5-0 victory.

Mario Goetze got the ball rolling for Bayern Munich, just 12 minutes in, and Franck Ribery would make it two for the home team right before the half-time whistle. Gaining confidence after midweek's last-gasp winner in Stuttgart, Bayern's first match back at the Allianz Arena for the Rueckrunde -- the second half of the season -- concluded tidily. Goals from Arjen Robben, Dante and Mario Mandzukic in the second half saw the quintuple-winners grind Eintracht Frankfurt to dust, 5-0.

Despite the records, the figures, the statistics, Bayern Munich hasn't always played great football this season. It's been more a case of just good enough, or capable, or adequate -- pick your own adjective. And while it's hard to complain about a team that wins just about every match, and is currently ranked the best team in the world, most of the writing I do now is nit-picking.

It's a luxury. I know.

Post-match on Sunday, Pep Guardiola said: "We controlled the game well, we had lots of possession and we kept releasing our special attacking players. I'm delighted for the fans. In the first half of the season, I was often afraid it was too boring for all the people at the stadium."

This was not boring. This was clinical. And just happened to be the best match FCB has played in the Bundesliga this season, as Guardiola acknowledged in his news conference.

Guardiola, perhaps impressed by Mandzukic's play against VfB, started him against Frankfurt. The Croatian striker didn't disappoint with a half-volley eight minutes in -- saved by Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp -- before Xherdan Shaqiri grazed the outside of the post from Mandzukic's headed ball in. He would assist Goetze's opener minutes later, with a similar header in to the box, as the young Germany international calmly trapped the ball before driving past Trapp.

Thiago Alcantara broke Bastian Schweinsteiger's Bundesliga record with an astonishing 185 touches -- and 159 passes -- on the day, and he shot a free kick that could only be punched out by Trapp. Unfortunately, Mandzukic's face was in the way, as well.

Down, but not out, and bleeding profusely, Mandzukic took treatment on the sidelines as Goetze shot point-blank at die Adler's Trapp, the keeper making a lovely reaction save after Rafinha and Ribery had combined well.

Rafinha's cannon, soon after, would take a deflection before Mandzukic went down again after a collision with Sebastian Jung. Two head injuries in one match -- there was no way Bayern would keep him on the pitch, would they?

Joselu fizzed a couple of half-chances over the crossbar, and headed directly at Neuer, before Ribery scored Bayern's second, slotting home past Trapp after another Mandzukic header.

Down and bleeding twice, one might have thought Mandzukic would be substituted at half-time -- but you'd be wrong as Guardiola chose to keep his warrior forward on for the second 45 minutes.

David Alaba and Ribery had half-chances before Alexander Meier headed just wide of Neuer. And Goetze came agonizingly close, grazing the outside of the post from an excellent Thiago pass.

Bayern Munich, up two, were in full control of the match now as Rafinha took another stab at Trapp's goal while Ribery got close with a Panenka-style chip, which hit the top of the crossbar.

Munich's two centre-backs, Dante and Jerome Boateng, both fluffed clearances in succession, but nothing came out of it as Robben (endlich!) made his return on the pitch after a lengthy absence with a deep gash on his knee. Two minutes after the Dutch winger's inclusion, he'd fire onto the top of the net from a Goetze assist.

Bayern wasn't done yet as Dante added to the scoreline with a far-post header, but Trapp would be down and out after an unfortunate collision with Robben in the box. His replacement, Felix Wiedwald, was immediately called into action against a rampant Ribery.

Robben, always a danger, shot over after a delivery from substitute Diego Contento before the Ironman of the day, Mandzukic, fooled Wiedwald for Munich's fifth.

A complete performance by Bayern Munich in this match. And top two, for me, throughout all competitions this season. Some people like it when I am critical; others, not so much. If there is any slight point of contention here, it continues to be the single pivot. Captain Philipp Lahm did not have his "A-game" for this match, and with the personnel available, it's a link that can be exploited.

My fervent hope is that Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez return to the pitch soon. Bayern will need them in the coming weeks.


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