The “Königsblauen” managed to take away points from Borussia Dortmund in the previous week and thus created an even better starting position for FC Bayern in the race for the Bundesliga title. To win the fourth consecutive league title, Bayern needed three home wins in order to not be depended on Dortmund’s results. Pep Guardiola’s team collected the first one against Schalke 04.
3 things we noticed:
1. Vidal and Lahm
The performance of Vidal and Lahm in this game is hard to put into words. Both convinced with fantastic positioning. Again and again they conquered balls in the final third. This usually created good chances, because Schalke could not fall back into their 5-4-1 order. At the same time both players together prevented chances from transitional play for Schalke after Bayern turnovers. Even offensively they had a significant role in the success of the record championship. Vidal distributed the balls out of the number six position wisely. He completed twelve of 13 long balls. Philipp Lahm completed another five of eight attempts. Vidal also impressed with his passing accuracy of 94.4%. Lahm took more risk and often used dribblings to try to create space for the right winger. Both players were involved in all three Bayern goals, either scoring assisting or playing the hockey assist.
It is getting clearer that Pep Guardiola with this constellation has found his best lineup. Vidal is currently the stronger Alonso and Lahm slowly regained his level of previous years. The two of them especially have to play an important role in the Champions League, if the journey to Milan should lead the team further than just the semifinals.
2. Lewandowski in a better role
Robert Lewandowski has ended his stretch of four goalless games with an impressive brace. Even though Bayern did not succeed in creating more chances for Lewandowski with the addition of Coman and Costa (both just had one key pass), but the striker used his few chances in this game more efficiently than in previous weeks. The 1:0 with his left and the header, including the necessary sneaking away from Neustädter were highest technical level. In recent weeks Lewandowski suffered noticeably from the many minutes for Ribéry and Costa on the wings. The two were not able to put him in good positions, like Costa, Müller and Coman did before the winter break. All the more important it is that Lewandowski was able to make the most of his few chances. Against Schalke he had four shots. Three were good chances and at least he was able to use two of them.
Bayern will need a strong Lewandowski more than ever in the decisive games in the next few weeks. Bayern’s game is too depended on him. The Pole scored 37.5% of all Bayern goals in the Bundesliga. Seven times he scored the important 1:0. But titles in the cup competitions are only possible if he is able to return to his great form, which he had for long stretches of the season.
3. Focus on cup competitions
It is better to always go ‘full throttle’. With this statement Robert Lewandowski set a clear signal in a TV interview after the game. Throughout much of the game you can also underline these statements. Although Pep Guardiola heavily rotated compared to the Champions League, however, he is benefiting from the deep squad. A loss of power or a lack of coordination was initially recognized, but Bayern convinced most of the game with their very good pressing. Only in the first 30 minutes Bayern lacked the last bit of courage against a well-organized Schalke.
It will be interesting to see how Pep Guardiola deals with this victory and the lead in the Bundesliga. The game against Atlético Madrid is already in eleven days. In between is a DFB Cup semifinal and one away match at the fourth-placed Bundesliga team. With the victory against Schalke Guardiola’s focus will move on. Currently Müller, as well as Costa and Kimmich are part of the rotation. Against Benfica and Schalke, the rest given to individual players has paid off. Whether this also applies to all players, can only be answered seriously at the end of the season. Even at the risk of lacking rhythm in the decisive matches .
|FC Bayern – FC Schalke 04 3:0 (0:0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Rafinha, Benatia (63. Kimmich), Alaba, Bernat – Lahm, Vidal (78. Rode) – Coman, Götze, Costa (68. Ribéry) – Lewandowski|
|Bench||Ulreich, Tasci, Thiago, Müller|
|FC Schalke 04||Fährmann – Caicara, Riether, Matip, Neustädter, Aogo – Sané, Geis (69. Belhanda), Höjbjerg, Choupo-Moting (82. Schöpf) – Huntelaar (69. Meyer)|
|Goals||1:0 Lewandowski (54.), 2:0 Lewandowski (65.), 3:0 Vidal (73.)|
|Cards||Yellow: – / –|
|Referee||Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)|
|Attendance||75.000 (sold out)|