James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski were on target as Bayern secured their fourth consecutive league success with a comfortable win over Schalke.
German champions Bayern Munich maintained their perfect start to the season, thanks to a convincing 2-0 win over FC Schalke 04. The Bavarians dominated throughout the game, producing a world-class performance that left Schalke languishing at the bottom of the table. The win helps them retain their place at the top of the table, staying two points clear of second-placed Hertha Berlin.
Bayern never looked in trouble against the Royal Blues, who failed to show any kind of coherence or unity in their gameplay as the Bavarians started the game on a strong note. And, the inevitable happened when James Rodriguez produced a stunning header to grab the opener in the ninth minute. The Colombian jumped on the end of a Joshua Kimmich corner to score his first league goal of the season.
The hosts kept on pressurizing their opponents with a string of dangerous attacking movements. But, Ralf Fahrmann responded well whenever he was called upon, while Bayern also missed some glaring opportunities. And, while things did slow down towards the end of the first half, Schalke still failed to provide any kind of attacking threat.
James Rodriguez won a penalty later in the second half to redeem himself after he initially fluffed his lines, in what could turn out to be the miss of the season. Robert Lewandowski made no mistake in converting the spot kick to score his third goal of the season and seal all three points for his side.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we run the rule over Niko Kovac’s men following their excellent win over the Ruhrpott giants.
Manuel Neuer: 7/10
13 – @Manuel_Neuer is unbeaten in 13 competitive games vs. Schalke, he is the current player with the most games without a defeat against a former club. Only @Ballack managed more unbeaten games (all comps) against a former club (Kaiserslautern, 15). Talisman. @FCBayernEN #S04FCB pic.twitter.com/voj9jegCyE
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 22, 2018
Remained virtually untested as Schalke hardly managed to create any clear-cut opportunities in the final third. In the end, he marked his 350th Bundesliga outing with a convincing display between the sticks, making a couple of saves whilst playing a role in Bayern’s build-up from the back. The German international also extends his unbeaten record against his former club.
Joshua Kimmich: 8/10
Following a tough outing against Benfica, Kimmich found it significantly easier to exploit the space on the right flank this weekend. He racked up another assist when his corner kick set up James Rodriguez for Bayern’s opener in the ninth minute. Aside from that, he remained composed out wide and rotated possession without any hiccups.
Niklas Sule: 8/10
Put forth a solid defensive display after initially replacing Jerome Boateng in central defence. The former Hoffenheim star’s presence in the backline was intimidating for the Schalke attackers, as he diligently cleared any threat posed by the Royal Blues. Head coach Niko Kovac will certainly be delighted with Sule’s performance knowing he could soon lose the services of Boateng in the near future.
Mats Hummels: 8/10
Had it not been for Hummels’ excellent leadership at the back, Sule might not have been so effective in the Bayern backline. The former Borussia Dortmund skipper marshalled the defence with excellent positioning which was coupled with his accurate short passes and brilliant switch of play.
David Alaba: 9/10
Often an understated figure in the Bayern backline, Alaba showed his true quality against Schalke by producing an stellar display. The Austrian international came close to scoring from long-range twice when both of his free-kicks were bamboozled Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann.
Aside from that, he was excellent in providing support in the final third, as he completed two key passes whilst attempting three shots on goal.
Thiago Alcantara: 8/10
Came back from injury to produce a well-rounded display in midfield as he controlled the proceedings throughout the course of the match with his pin-point passing and clever movements. Thiago made 88 passes, attempted 5 tackles, won four aerial duels, two interceptions whilst making five clearances, which sums up his performance against the Royal Blues.
James Rodriguez: 9/10
James Rodriguez needed only two games to stress his importance at Bayern, thanks to another valiant display, having also impressed against Benfica. Indeed, the Colombian caused a lot of havoc for the opposing defence, thanks to his darting runs and sharp movements, which occupied the Schalke midfielders and defenders alike. It also allowed his teammates to have more freedom in the final third.
But, it was his effective interplay with Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, which was quite appealing to the eye. His ninth-minute opener was his first goal of this Bundesliga campaign and Kovac will hope that he can maintain his fiery form throughout the course of the season.
Thomas Muller: 7/10
The presence of James Rodriguez in the final third somewhat overshadowed Muller’s contribution in attack. But, it is probably fair to acknowledge the fact that the German international wasn’t as influential as he was in the first three games this season. A rather quiet evening for the Bayern Ramdeuter.
Leon Goretzka: 6/10
After Renato Sanches’s stunning display against Benfica midweek, the fans could be easily forgiven to expect a similar performance from Leon Goretzka against his former club this weekend. But, that wasn’t the case, as Goretzka looked nervous, largely because of the fact that he was booed throughout the game by Schalke fans.
Leon Goretzka on his return to Schalke: "I had to be careful not get in the wrong dressing room. The reception was what I expected. Some fans expressed their displeasure, but that's okay. I don't regret anything, I always gave everything for Schalke. I was happy to come back" pic.twitter.com/zPPIF4j1C9
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 22, 2018
Franck Ribery: 7/10
Wasn’t as influential as his teammates in the final third. Apart from making a couple of darting runs into the Schalke backline, the Frenchman had a relatively quiet evening before being subbed off in the 84th minute.
Robert Lewandowski: 9/10
Led the Bayern attack brilliantly thanks to some mouth-watering interplay with his teammates in the final third. Additionally, the Polish forward was also seen tracking back to help out his side, a feature of his game that is partly influenced by the arrival of Niko Kovac this season.
After failing to score in the last couple of matches, Lewandowski finally broke his duck by coolly converting a spot kick in the second half to double Bayern’s lead.
Sandro Wagner: N/A
Replaced Robert Lewandowski in the 79th minute after the game was done and dusted. His introduction gave the Schalke defenders a tough time due to his strong presence inside the box.
Serge Gnabry: N/A
Had very little time to influence the game after he was brought in for Franck Ribery with just six minutes left on the clock.
Renato Sanches: N/A
Sanches would have hoped to start the game, after producing an excellent performance against Benfica, but will be glad to finally earn some recognition by Kovac as he replaced Rodriguez in the 87th minute.