Bayern Munich 3-0 RB Leipzig: Title pretenders swept aside in first-half storm

The visitors had hoped to fire a statement of their ambitions but were comprehensively dismantled at Allianz Arena by an imperious Bavarian showing before the break

Bayern Munich comfortably beat 10-man RB Leipzig 3-0 to move three points clear of their title rivals and ensure they will spend Christmas on top of the Bundesliga.

The two sides came into their first competitive meeting with only goal difference separating them, but the champions made a huge statement in emphatically winning their fifth consecutive league game.

Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso both scored as Bayern raced in front in the first half, before the visitors’ Emil Forsberg was sent off for a foul on Philipp Lahm.

Robert Lewandowski’s penalty – his 12th league goal of the season – added to Leipzig’s misery before the break and Bayern cruised to victory from then on, with substitute Franck Ribery hitting the crossbar.

Leipzig had won nine of their previous 10 league games having impressed hugely after promotion, but will now have to reflect on their morale-sapping defeat during the Bundesliga’s one-month mid-season break.

The opening goal arrived in the 17th minute when Lahm’s cross from the right led to Lewandowski’s effort striking the post, with Thiago applying a first-time finish on the rebound.

Bayern almost struck again a few moments later, Douglas Costa hitting the post having been found by Lewandowski.

Manuel Neuer kept out Diego Demme at the other end, but Bayern were two up after 25 minutes.

Naby Keita lost possession in a dangerous area for Leipzig, which allowed Lewandowski and Thiago to combine before the ex-Barcelona midfielder fed Alonso to send a side-footed finish into the bottom-left corner.

Willi Orban had a header brilliantly saved by Neuer as the visitors searched for a way back into the game, but their hopes took another hit in the 30th minute.

Forsberg put in a nasty challenge from behind on Lahm as the Bayern captain attempted to launch a counter-attack and referee Felix Zwayer deemed it was worthy of a red card – but only after Bayern protests and discussion with his assistant.

Bayern made it three in the last minute of the first half after Costa, who was fortunate not to be flagged offside, raced on to a high ball and was brought down by goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi just inside the area. 

Lewandowski calmly sent Gulacsi the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.

Ribery came on for Arjen Robben at half-time and Bayern continued to press, Gulacsi having to rush out quickly to deny Lewandowski.

Marcel Sabitzer had an a shot deflected wide, but Bayern were looking more likely to strike again, with Gulacsi helping Lewandowski’s chip over the bar after good play from Ribery.

Ribery saw a late effort bounce off the crossbar after being found by Alonso, with Leipzig barely threatening in the closing stages to leave Carlo Ancelotti’s men celebrating a third straight clean sheet and a clear advantage at the top of the table.

TEAM NEWS: Bayern bench Muller for top-of-the-table clash with Leipzig

The attacker has been left out of the starting lineup by Carlo Ancelotti for the Bundesliga clash with their title rivals

Bayern Munich have dropped Thomas Muller to the bench for their top of the table clash with RB Leipzig.

Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa have been chosen by manager Carlo Ancelotti to support striker Robert Lewandowski as Bayern look to take spot for going into the mid-season break.

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Bayern and Leipzig are currently joint top of the table with 36 points, but either side can take full control of first position with victory on Wednesday evening.

Muller has failed to impress for the Bavarian side this season, going through an extended goal drought before finally scoring his first league goal in December as Bayern beat Wolfsburg 5-0.

The 27-year-old had gone 999 minutes without scoring, but claimed that it did not bother him too much.

” I was hunting for a goal, but the fact I hadn’t scored wasn’t driving me crazy,” Muller told the official Bundesliga website. 

“It just meant that in every passing match I had to find new ways to try and get on the score sheet.”

Die Aufstellung ist da! #FCBRBL #packmas

— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) December 21, 2016

Bayern’s next competitive game is January 20 against Freiburg when the Bundesliga resumes.

Green leaves Bayern for Stuttgart

The United States international has called time on his career at the Allianz Arena and agreed a three-year contract with the 2.Bundesliga promotion-chasers

Stuttgart have announced the signing of Julian Green from Bayern Munich on a three-year deal.

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The United States international has joined the 2.Bundesliga promotion hopefuls for an undisclosed fee after making only two DFB-Pokal appearances under Carlo Ancelotti this season.

“I came to FC Bayern into their Under-15s and I dreamed of becoming a professional. And I did that,” Green, who will wear the number 37 shirt, told Stuttgart’s official website.

“Over the past three years, I’ve built up a lot of experience. That was good and I’m grateful for that.

“I’ve seen all their games over the last month and I think I’m in good hands with VFB, and I can set new goals for myself.

“This is a great club. I’m looking forward to the challenge, the new city and my new team-mates. And, above all, I want to support the team in the second half of the season.”

Der US-Nationalspieler @J_Green37 wechselt mit sofortiger Wirkung vom @FCBayern auf den Wasen. Herzlich willkommen beim #VfB, Julian #Green!

— VfB Stuttgart (@VfB) December 21, 2016

Stuttgart official Jan Schindelmeiser added: “Julian can be used in several positions in the attacking area. He had some top coaching at FC Bayern.

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“We see further potential in his development. He can revive our play with his speed.”

Green was on loan at Stuttgart for much of the 2014-15 season, athough he spent the majority of that time working with the B team.

The 21-year-old, who will officially join next month, could make his debut in the league match away to St. Pauli on January 29.

Hummels reveals secret to beating brilliant Leipzig

As the Bavarian club prepare for their key Bundesliga clash with the league leaders, the defender believes he has identified the way to win

Mats Hummels believes that exploiting the space behind RB Leipzig’s high line will be key to Bayern Munich’s chances of victory on Wednesday.

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The champions host Ralph Hasenhuttl’s surprise title contenders at the Allianz Arena with the sides level on points ahead of the final game before the mid-season break.

Leipzig have taken the Bundesliga by storm in their first term, having lost just once in 15 matches, while only Bayern boast a better goal difference.

And Hummels has told his team-mates to look for ways to find space behind their attacking line in order to create chances to win.

“We’ll have to fight hard 30 metres in front of our goal to get possession of the ball,” the defender told Bild.

“We have to move a lot, create some play so that we can get them running without the ball. With teams that press high like that, there’s often space behind the first line of attack – and we have to find this space.

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“I’ve been following them since early on. They were on a very high level from day one. Nobody expected how well they would do. But they’re a team you like to watch.

“There are always a few solutions. You can get an advantage with good analysis.”

Ancelotti: Money not important, Leipzig have the right balance

The Italian has defended the Bundesliga newcomers against criticism that they have bought success, with Bayern Munich next to cross their path

Bayern Munich head coach Carlo Ancelotti has defended the rise of RB Leipzig ahead of a top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash between the sides on Wednesday.

Leipzig’s remarkable ascent to the top of German football and the influence of their wealthy backers have proved controversial this season, with the newly promoted side sitting second after 15 matches.

‘Leipzig are like Klopp’s BVB’

But Ancelotti is prepared to look beyond the money and focus on Leipzig’s on-field qualities.

“This is the perfect game for anyone who loves football,” he said ahead of the match between the two sides separated by goal difference at the Bundesliga’s summit.

“Tomorrow we will see two sides who play with very different styles. We will stay true to our style and assert ourselves. We will stand strong defensively and find the right balance.

“We need to put on a strong performance. We are playing against second in the Bundesliga.

“Leipzig are a good, young team that plays football with a lot of enthusiasm.

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“Money isn’t the most important thing in football. The balance is right at Leipzig and their success gives them confidence.

“The key to victory is having the right balance between attack and defence. Leipzig are dangerous on the break so we need to be wary of that.”

Ancelotti confirmed both Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm are fit following recent injuries, while Jerome Boateng has been ruled out for six weeks after surgery on a pectoral tendon.