Nine changes but Bayern still throttles Nurnberg

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Jupp Heynckes could afford the luxury of squad changes against a nine-match unbeaten Nurnberg on Saturday, having the title done and dusted last weekend, and facing their DFB Pokal semi-final against Wolfsburg in Munich on Tuesday.

Goals scored by Jerome Boateng, Mario Gomez, Rafinha and Xherdan Shaqiri secured a 4-0 victory and bring Bayern's goal differential up to a tidy, beautiful plus-70. And only three points are needed by Munich in the last five games to equal Dortmund's total points record secured last season.

- Video: Bayern 4-0 Nurnberg (UK and Ire)
- Bundesliga: Bayern and Dortmund in routs

Negative Nancys were complaining, pre-match, of Heynckes' decision to use a "B-squad" in this derby. A very unfamiliar Startelf saw Tom Starke in goal - with a back four of Rafinha, Daniel van Buyten, Boateng and Diego Contento. Antoliy Tymoshchuk and Bundesliga debutante Emre Can were holding midfielders, and the attack was composed of Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro in the 10 spot, Franck Ribery as captain and Gomez up top.

FCN captain and 'keeper Raphael Schaefer could only limit damage done by Bayern in the first 25 minutes, saving shots from five different FCB players. But it wasn't nearly enough as man-of-the-match(!) Boateng opened the scoring on five minutes with a lovely half-scissors after a Bayern corner; the German international also garnered an assist for perfect service to Gomez at 17 minutes - Bayern's second of the day.

In the stands, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger could be seen giving a standing ovation for Bayern's third: Pizarro slotting through two defenders to Rafinha, the Brazilian striking low.

Two minutes from the half, Starke would be called into action saving Markus Feulner, his first of four important saves on the day. The most improbable of those, however, would come just two minutes after the restart. Rafinha saw yellow for tripping Mike Frantz in the box, and Timmy Simons stepped up to take the penalty. Starke, guessing correctly, dove the right way and saved the shot with his face. (Has this ever happened before?)

Timm Klose would wander around the pitch - with what I highly suspect is a concussion - for about seven minutes before finally being helped off, then Shaqiri nailed the coffin shut; trapping a corner, juking and striking low against Schaefer for Bayern's fourth and final of the day. The Swiss international has tallied eight goals and 10 assists in 14 starts for the Reds this season.

Cameras panned to a laughing, smiling Matthias Sammer on the bench. (Again, has this ever happened before?!)

But what all the fans were waiting for was the inclusion of Pierre Hojbjerg, who finally subbed on for Shaqiri at 70 minutes. At 17 years, 8 months and 18 days old, the Dane is the youngest player in Bundesliga history. Although he looked as if he was about to toss his cookies initially, he gave a good account of himself over 20 minutes, saying post-match: "In the first five minutes, I s--- my pants."

The match would conclude with Pizarro trying a couple of cheeky chips over Schaefer. The 'keeper also turned away Gomez and Ribery, and Starke - at the other end - saved nicely from a Bo Nilsson header.

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