Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes celebrated his 1000th Bundesliga match in the best possible fashion, as his charges responded with a dominant 6-1 victory over Werder Bremen to move 18 points clear at the summit.
Arjen Robben and Javier Martinez set their side in motion with first-half strikes, and Kevin De Bruyne’s strike was little more than a consolation for the visitors as an own goal from Theodor Gebre Selassie, Franck Ribery’s effort and two for Mario Gomez ensured a simple three points for Die Roten.
Enjoying a run of imperious form during 2013, Bayern Munich came out in front of their own fans hoping to further extend their dominance at the top of the Bundesliga standings. Die Roten, however, struggled in the early stages to break down a stubborn Bremen side, who pressed hard across the pitch and gave little to their opponents during a tense opening.
Robben was one of the first in red to force a save from Sebastian Mielitz, before Mario Gomez saw his effort blocked after being teed up by an intelligent dummy from Xherdan Shaqiri. The tide was turning though, and the Bavarians made the breakthrough 25 minutes into the first half. Phillipp Lahm stretched the Bremen defence down the right before floating a cross into the area, and as Lukas Schmitz hesitated, Robben took advantage by volleying home to open the scoring.
It was a bitter blow for Bremen, who lost their shape in the middle of the half, and Bayern were merciless in punishing their inattention. Robben next turned provider just minutes later, swinging a free kick into the area. Javier Martinez reacted first, heading past Mielitz with a great finish to give his men a commanding lead.
The visitors tried to bounce back, Theodor Gebre Selassie going close with a decent header that flew just wide of the post, but things would only get worse before the interval. Mario Gomez broke through on goal and, just outside the area, went down rather theatrically under the pressure of Sebastian Prodl’s clumsy tackle. Contact appeared minimal, but the defender had undoubtedly impeded a goalscoring opportunity and the referee had no hesitation in showing the red card, reducing Bremen to 10 men for what would be a tough second half.
Bayern wasted no time in making the most of their numerical advantage. Gomez got the best of substitute Mateo Pavlovic, and under pressure from Ribery, Gebre Selassie turned the ball past his own keeper as he failed to deal with the striker’s cross. The floodgates were well and truly open. Just five minutes into the half, Ribery did well in reading Robben’s lofted pass, and delicately chipped the ball over the head of Mielitz. It appeared goal-bound, but Gomez made certain by smashing home into the empty net to end the game as a contest.
There was to be one cheer for the beleaguered away fans. As Bayern pushed forward to further liquidate the match, gaps appeared in defence and, after Dante surrendered possession in his own area, De Bruyne stole in at the far post to convert past Manuel Neuer and hit a consolation.
Despite losing their clean sheet, Bayern continued in control of proceedings and were given few problems as they cruised through what remained of Saturday’s encounter at Allianz Arena, keeping up their 100 per cent during 2013. There was still more cheer for the hosts, as Ribery hit a deserved goal on the volley to further twist the knife in the closing minutes. Werder were counting down the minutes until the end, but Gomez continued the humiliation with his close-range finish after Robben had chipped over the top.
The Bavarians are next in action on February 27, when they face Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal as they continue their hunt for the treble.