A 4-1 thrashing in Wolfsburg. A scrappy 1-1 draw with ten men at home to Schalke. A laboured 2-0 win at struggling Stuttgart. Things had not started well for FC Bayern after the winter break, and already there were a few rumblings among commentators, critics and supporters. Four weeks into the Rückrunde the real Bayern suddenly made a reappearance, with poor Hamburger SV feeling the full force of another record-breaking display from Die Roten.
With Bayern struggling to rediscover their pre-Winterpause form, Hamburg had made massive strides in their fight to stave off yet another season among the relegation-threatened strugglers. Having scored just nine goals in their seventeen Hinrunde matches, Josef Zinnbauer’s side had scored five in their first three games of 2015, picking up six of an available nine points in the process. While Bayern were always bound to find their mojo at some point, nobody expected such a fierce backlash from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Guardiola made just three changes to his starting eleven, with the prodigal son Holger Badstuber returning to the defensive unit in place of the benched Danté. Brazilian Rafinha returned to the side in place of Xabi Alonso who suffered a hamstring injury in training, and Thomas Müller made the starting lineup in placed of the benched Mitchell Weiser.
Having held the Bavarians to a dull goalless draw at the Imtech-Arena back in week four, Hamburg set about piling in everybody behind the ball in the hope of repeating the feat – and for the opening ten minutes the Bavarians just played along. With the possession stats hitting the eighty percent mark, the men in red and blue were content to pass the ball around with their opponents more than happy to watch the clock tick by.
It didn’t take Bayern long to up the ante however, and pretty soon Hamburg’s Czech ‘keeper Jaroslav Drobný was called into action to deny Müller with an outstretched leg. Zinnbauer’s men looked to have overcome a testing few minutes, only to be touched by the hand of misfortune – or rather, the ball hitting the hand of Swiss defender Johan Djorou from Rafinha’s cross. It was arguably more of a case of ball to hand rather than the other way around, but the contact was also pretty clear making it an easy decision for referee Michael Weiner. Müller stepped up, and made no mistake in sending Drobný the wrong way.
Thomas Müller calmly slips his penalty past Jaroslav Drobný as Bayern get the show on the road
Having taken the lead, Bayern were like the wolf that had taken its first taste of blood. Just two minutes later Müller lashed in another well-struck shot, and despite getting down well to get a hand to the ball Drobný was unable to prevent Mario Götze from blasting the rebound straight through him and into the back of the net. Hamburg were also not helped when ex-Bayern man Ivica Olić was forced to withdraw through injury. The Croatian had actually hit the target earlier on, only to be rightly flagged for offside.
With Bayern finding their rhythm Hamburg’s will to fight slowly started to fade away, and nine minutes from half-time Arjen Robben gifted the home crowd with a delicious third goal. Making his way in from the right with defenders backing away, the Dutchman burst down the middle before cutting inside and lashing a delicious curling effort from twenty-five yards that gave Drobný no chance as it pinged in off the inside of the far upright.
Arjen Robben swings his lethal left foot to score his first and Bayern’s third
With the game virtually over at the break bar the shouting, Bayern set about their task like a surgeon, calmly dismembering their anaesthetised opponents with a mix of speed, strength and craft. It took just two minutes before the home side hit their fourth, Robben charging down the right and delighting the crowd with a rare right-footed finish after tearing outside and past left-back Ronny Marcos. One even felt sorry for poor Drobný, who must have been waiting for Robben to switch inside to his left foot before seeing the ball crash into the back of the net off his body.
Bastian Schweinsteiger takes a closer look at Arjen Robben’s rarely-used right foot…
With Hamburg on the brink of complete meltdown Zinnbauer removed temperamental skipper Rafael van der Vaart and also brought on Matthias Ostrzolek for the dreadfully exposed Marcos, but by now it made little difference to a Bayern team that had already placed their foot firmly on the gas. Müller notched up number five with a sumptuous curler after fifty-five minutes that was matched by an equally spectacular helicopter-style celebration, and just a minute later with Hamburg still reeling Robert Lewandowski got on the end of a cross from Der Raumdeuter to bring up the round half-dozen. Despite playing a key disruptive role in the Bayern attack the Pole had been largely disappointing again with his finishing, and it must have been a welcome relief when he saw his name finally flash up on the scoreboard – more so because there was a slight hint of offside.
Robert Lewandowski celebrates Bayern’s sixth goal with Thomas Müller
Hamburg could claim to have had a rough deal from the officials with both the penalty and Lewandowski’s goal, and this was only compounded when Artjoms Rudņevs’ effort three minutes after the hour was scratched off for offside. The replay showed that the Latvian was at the very least level with the last Bayern defender.
To the delight of the ecstatic home crowd of 75,000 and the watching Red Dragons Guardiola’s men continued to look for more. Returning winger Franck Ribéry came on for centre-back Medhi Benatia, and although two-goal Müller made way for youngster Gianluca Gaudino there was no let-up. With fifteen minutes of his arrival Ribéry stroked home goal number seven after the unlucky Lewandowski was initially denied by the overworked Drobný.
Bayern still had more than twenty minutes to rack up their biggest league win since a 9-0 thrashing of Kickers Offenbach in March 1984, and went close through substitute Claudio Pizarro before Götze rounded things off two minutes from time with a calm and stylish right-footed finish. It was a fine end to at an times merciless display of free-flowing football and clinical finishing – something that had been lacking since the turn of the year.
After their slow start, Bayern had shown that were not just back to their glorious best, but in record-breaking top form. As well as being Die Roten’s biggest Bundesliga win for over thirty-one years it was also their biggest winning margin against Hamburg, surpassing the equally memorable 9-2 mauling of Die Rothosen in 2013.
With second-placed VfL Wolfsburg’s dramatic 5-4 win in Leverkusen Bayern’s lead at the top of the table remains at a comfortable eight points, with Die Roten’s next Bundesliga match against SC Paderborn 07. Before that, the Champions’ League campaign resumes with a journey to the Ukraine to take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the opening match of the competition’s knock-out phase.
Man of the Match
Overall, this was a fine team effort with everybody playing their part. However one can’t look beyond the excellent Arjen Robben.
Bundesliga Week 21
Allianz Arena, München, 13.02.2015
FC Bayern 8:0 (3:0) Hamburger SV
Müller pen 21., 55., Götze 23., 88., Robben 36., 47., Lewandowski 56., Ribéry 69. / –
FC Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Benatia (59. Ribéry), Badstuber, Bernat – Schweinsteiger (c) – Alaba – Götze – Robben (71. Pizarro), T. Müller (66. Gaudino), Lewandowski
HSV: Drobný – Götz, Djourou, Westermann, Marcos (57. Ostrzolek) – Diaz, van der Vaart (c) (57. Jiráček) – Stieber, Jansen – Rudņevs, Olić (23. N. Müller)
Yellow Cards: – / van der Vaart