Bayern Munich helped themselves to five first-half goals as they thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the Bundesliga.
The reigning champions suffered their first defeat of Julian Nagelsmann’s tenure last time out against Eintracht Frankfurt, but they responded in just about the best way imaginable at BayArena.
Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry helped themselves to a couple of goals each in a one-way first half, with Thomas Muller registering in between those doubles.
Leverkusen were level on points with Bayern before kick-off and pulled one back through Patrik Schick, but Nagelsmann’s side were able to cruise through the rest of the match to overtake Borussia Dortmund at the summit.
The hosts had won their previous five matches in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in the last three of those, but it took Lewandowski just three minutes to backheel Dayot Upamecano’s centre past Lukas Hradecky.
Bayern went on to lose after opening the scoring against Frankfurt, but there was no sign of that happening against Leverkusen. Shortly after Leroy Sane sent a shot against the right post, Lewandowski lashed home a second of the game on the half-hour.
That was the first of four goals in seven minutes, with Muller in the right place to deflect in a Niklas Sule shot before setting up Gnabry to score. Gnabry then joined Lewandowski in bagging a brace with a shot into the bottom-left corner.
The visitors had kept a clean sheet in only one of their last nine league games, however, and that poor defensive record was extended when Schick latched onto Florian Wirtz’s throughball and arrowed a shot past Manuel Neuer in the 55th minute.
Sane squandered a couple of good opportunities to get in on the act, including a header over the bar from close range, while a disallowed Lucas Alario goal for offside was the closest Leverkusen went to further reducing the deficit.
What does it mean? Nagelsmann prediction comes true
On the back of a rare defeat for Bayern last time out that saw star striker Lewandowski fire a blank, head coach Nagelsmann this week predicted “normal service will resume on Sunday”.
And so that proved in quite some style as Bayern became the third-fastest side in Bundesliga history to score five goals in an away match, with Lewandowski helping himself to a couple as he returned to form.
Leverkusen had gone blow to blow with their opponents across the opening seven game weeks, but this was as one-sided a game as you are likely to see in the German top flight this term as Bayern moved clear of their hosts and climbed back above Dortmund.
Lewandowski back among the goals
Lewandowski’s run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland’s double-header of October fixtures.
The prolific striker had averaged a goal every 225 minutes against Leverkusen prior to Sunday, making them his least favourite opponents of all current Bundesliga teams, but he was ruthless in this latest encounter with two goals from his three shots.
Sane the odd man out
Lewandowski and Gnabry scored twice and Muller was also on the scoresheet, leaving Sane as the only member of Bayern’s front four not to get a goal.
That was not for a want of trying as he registered a team-high eight shots, the most of any player in a Bundesliga game this season, but his finishing was at times wasteful.
Bayern travel to Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday, while Leverkusen are away at Real Betis in the Europa League the following day. The sides then face Hoffenheim and Cologne respectively on their return to Bundesliga action next weekend.