Guardiola: Neuer needed a break

The Germany no.1 made way for the record-breaking Pepe Reina in Bayern’s 4-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Satuday

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was rested for their 4-0 victory at Werder Bremen on Saturday because “he needed a break”.

Summer signing Pepe Reina came in to make his Bundesliga debut, becoming the first goalkeeper in history to appear in the top division of Germany, Spain, Italy and England.

Neuer had featured in all 24 of Bayern’s league games this season, and started all eight of their Champions League fixtures.

“I wanted to give Manuel a break,” said Guardiola. “I have faith in Pepe. He’s an experienced player.”

Bayern have now marched to six consecutive Bundesliga victories, scoring 27 goals and conceding just twice in the process – a league record goals differential only matched by Hamburg, who scored 28 and conceded 3 in March/April, 1980.

“My team played well and concentrated throughout,” added Pep. “We did a very good job.”

Thomas Muller gave the German champions a 24th-minute lead before David Alaba hit a stunning free-kick to double their lead on the stroke of the half-time.

Alaba’s last three goals for the club have all arrived direct from free-kicks, helping Bayern to a best-ever seven strikes direct from set pieces.

The result leaves Bayern 14 points clear at the top of the table, with second-paced Wolfsburg set to face Freiburg on Sunday.