FC Bayern beat RB Leipzig 2-0 on Saturday evening, moving to the top of the Bundesliga table for the first time this season. The visitors went a man down early in the contest when Willi Orban fouled Arjen Robben and saw a straight red card. James and Robert Lewandowski netted for Bayern in the first half, the pace dropping considerably after the restart towards the end of an exhausting phase of midweek matches and just three days after the sides played out 120 thrilling minutes in the DFB Cup.
Bayern started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Javi Martínez and Sebastian Rudy anchored a midfield featuring Thiago in the playmaking role. Robben and James started out wide, looking to serve sharpshooter Lewandowski.
Boss Jupp Heynckes made three changes to the team that beat today's visitors on penalties last Wednesday. Martínez, Rudy and James took over from Corentin Tolisso, Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman. Vidal replaced Lewandowski shortly before half-time, Rafinha and Tolisso coming on for Kimmich and Robben in the closing stages.
- James and Lewy set Bayern on their way
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the German record champions go straight onto the front foot. Martínez glanced two headers over the bar before a Rudy pass found the galloping Robben, Leipzig's Orban resorting to a foul to stop the Dutchman, and match official Daniel Siebert sending the visiting captain off.
Robben saw the ensuing free-kick denied by Leipzig netminder Péter Gulácsi, but James soon drew first blood. Rudy and Robben shone with a give-and-go on the right, the latter teeing up James and inviting the Colombian to slot past Gulácsi into the bottom corner of the net.
- Superb assist by Javi Martínez
Lewandowski connected with a fine James cross but saw his header saved, although the Poland captain doubled Bayern's lead shortly before half-time, when Javi sprayed a brilliantly perceptive through-ball to Lewandowski, who proved a cool customer with a clinical finish. However, the day soon turned sour for the hitman, when he sustained a knock to his thigh and gave way to Arturo Vidal.
The Bavarians were in control throughout the second half, but with a lead to protect they were increasingly content to contain their opponents. Their boss was visibly unhappy with their play, at times seeming more industrious on the sidelines than his men on the turf. Alaba hit the side-netting before Robben and James warmed Gulácsi's gloves.
Robben miscued another effort before Martínez unleashed a 30-yarder that sailed just wide, Thiago glancing an artistic header over the bar before Siebert blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 23 points from ten matches, taking the champions to the top of the table three points clear of Borussia Dortmund. The Reds are back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to face Celtic in the Champions League before crossing swords with Dortmund in another mouth-watering Bundesliga cracker next Saturday.
- Match stats:
FC Bayern: Ulreich - Kimmich (84´, Rafinha), Boateng, Hummels, Alaba - Javi Martínez, Rudy - Robben (86´, Tolisso), Thiago, James - Lewandowski (45´, Vidal)
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi - Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano, Halstenberg - Keita, Demme - Sabitzer (46´Bruma), Forsberg (62´, Laimer) - Poulsen, Werner (22´, Konaté)
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlín)
Attendance: 75.000 espectadores
Goals: 1-0 James (19´), 2-0 Lewandowski (38´)
Bookings: Thiago / -
Sent-off: Orban (13´)
- Match report by Javimartinez8.com / fcbayern.de