Robben takes his chance

What an afternoon it proved to be for Jupp Heynckes and his men as they strolled to another crushing victory. Photo: Bernie ReevesTheir clean sheet run may have been ended, but there was seldom any doubt that FC Bayern München would relent in their pursuit of a 22nd Bundesliga title as they hammered Werder Bremen 6-1 in the Allianz Arena.

On a day when the Reds were helped by a red card to Sebastian Prödl, as well as an in-the-mood Arjen Robben, there was little to suggest that an inexperienced and underachieving Bremen side could upset the applecart and stop a fifth consecutive league win for the Bavarians in 2013. Furthermore, it proved a fantastic gift for manager Jupp Heynckes who was celebrating his 1,000th Bundesliga game.

Nevertheless, Werder coach Thomas Schaaf would have been happy with his team's display in the opening quarter of the game. They looked solid at the back and broke quickly, with de Kevin de Bruyne firing a pot-shot over the crossbar after a lovely nutmeg on Philipp Lahm. Bayern, with four changes to the side that played against Arsenal in midweek, were looking ever so slightly rusty.

It was perhaps a sign of how Bremen had upset the rhythm of their hosts that Bayern's first goal came from a counter-attack. Lahm overlapped on the right wing and, after receiving Xherdan Shaqiri's pass, he had all the time in the world to pick out a cross that Robben tapped in from a yard out.

In truth, any one of Robben, Ribery and Gomez could have scored and it was the first instance that the Bremen defence had been overrun in the match. It happened again just four minutes later, and with it the result was all but decided.

Again, the rejuvenated Robben was at the heart of the Reds' good work, as the Dutchman seemed determined to make the most of a rare starting berth. Another counter-attack down the right hand-side was cut short when he was scythed down by Zlatko Junuzovic, for which the Austrian was promptly booked. From the resulting free-kick though, Robben delivered a beautifully flighted cross into the box for Javi Martinez to glance a header past Mielitz.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Sebastian Prödl was shown a straight red card for felling Gomez as the last man just before the interval. By the letter of the law it was the correct decision.

Prödl's absence was keenly felt in the early moments of the second half as two more Bayern goals had Bremen staring down the barrel of a cricket score. First, Ribery finished off Mielitz's parry after unselfish work from Gomez, before the Frenchman then returned the favour, allowing Gomez to help his goal bound chip into the net.

Jupp receiving his official congratulation to mark his milestone. Photo: Bernie ReevesFour goals and a man up, it was game over and one had the feeling that Prödl's sending off had been a somewhat unnecessary decision for referee Marco Fritz to have made. Bremen pulled a goal back through Kevin de Bruyne's well-taken close-range strike, the first Bayern had conceded in over nine hours of play, but the hosts smelled blood and went for the jugular.

In the final few minutes, Ribery grabbed his second with a superb volley from Lahm's lofted through ball and Gomez hammered in a sixth from a deftly weighted pass by Robben.

The final two goals added a gloss to the scoreline that rather flattered the Reds - 4-1 would have better reflected the pattern of the game - and de Bruyne's goal was the result of complacency on the part of the home team as well as a lack of concentration on the part of the usually reliable Dante.

The fact remains though, that this was yet another win for Jupp Heynckes' side and another handsome one at that. David Alaba, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Mandzukic were all rested for the game but their absence was barely noticed as those players that came in performed as though they were regulars in the team, none more so than Robben.

Alas, we are still yet to see a solid team attack Bayern with pace and trickery in the final third and make no mistake, there were signs of panic from the back four. Their next opponents are Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup next Wednesday, and one hopes that Jürgen Klopp's team will have taken note of that.

A fast, interchangeable forward line, like we saw in moments in the first half from Bremen, could potentially give the Reds a difficult time. Step up Marco Reus and Mario Götze.

FC Bayern München: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Contento - Martinez (52' Tymoschuk), Gustavo - Robben, Shaqiri (72' Pizarro), Ribery - Gomez

SV Werder Bremen: Mielitz - Gebre Selassie, Prödl, Lukimya, Schmitz - Ignjovski, Junuzovic - de Bruyne, Hunt (46' Pavlovic), Arnautovic - Petersen

Goals: 1-0 Robben (25'), 2-0 Martinez (29'), 3-0 Selassie o.g. (49'), 4-0 Gomez (51'), 4-1 de Bruyne (58'), 5-1 Ribery (86'), 6-1 Gomez (89')

Red cards: Prödl (44')

Attendance:  71,000
Referee: Marco Fritz 


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