Germany: Bundesliga
4 - 0
(3 - 0)
FC Bayern
Union Berlin
K. Coman (16), T. Nianzou (25), R. Lewandowski (45), R. Lewandowski (47)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bayern dismantle Union Berlin in quick lashing

Bayern have restored a seven-point cushion at the top of the table after blanking guests FC Union Berlin 4-0 at home in Saturday evening's "Top-Spiel". 

A dominant and confident FCB immediately pounced on the mistakes of their opponents to put the result beyond all doubt early. 
In a match decided relatively early at the Allianz Arena in Munich, defending league champions FC Bayern München supplied a "statement win" after drawing their last two league fixtures. The lead for the mighty Bavarian giants of German football now again stands at seven points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund's duel with FC Köln tomorrow.

Some availability issues forced FCB head-coach Julian Nagelsmann opted to make two changes to his back-line. Benjamin Pavard's positive COVID test and Niklas Süle's hamstring injury meant that two newcomers joined the starting XI after long-layoffs. Croatian fullback Josip Stanisic made his first start since round 10 of the current campaign while Tanguy Nianzou featured in the XI for the first time since round three. Nagelsmann sacrificed an attacker in order to line his team up in a back-four. Serge Gnabry made way for Dayot Upamecano, who had been benched after an error-riddled performance against Leverkusen.

Union trainer Urs Fischer had to do without alternate captain Grischa Prömmel on an accumulated yellow-card suspension. Additionally, squad captain Christopher Trimmel returned a late COVID test. Julian Ryerson and Genki Haraguchi replaced the two team leaders on straight plug-ins. Fischer also decided to start Bastian Oczipka over Niko Gießelmann in the left wing back slot. To the extent that Union were able to keep a shape in the match, it looked to be a 5-3-2 with Sheraldo Becker operating as a short-striker behind Taiwo Awoniyi.

Union managed to keep it fairly compact against Bayern in the opening quarter of an hour. The high FCB press was out in full force, yet chances were lacking. Apart from a Lewandowski chip ball over FCU keeper Andreas Luthe following a Rani Khedira mistake in the 11th, the Bavarian hosts didn't get any real looks at goal. Unfortunately for the capital city guests, a Luthe error in the 18th enabled the record champions to take the lead. Kingsley Coman certainly fired a laser hook from just outside the penalty area. The Union keeper nevertheless looked bad flailing at the effort with just one hand.

The lead was certainly not undeserved as Bayern had set in the tone in terms of possession and press. The Köpenickers mounted a slight response in the form of a Robin Knoche header (21st) and a narrow Awoniyi miss (22nd). Die Eisernen were made to pay for their profligacy in the 25th, when Nianzou headed home a Joshua Kimmich cross for the 2-0. The 19-year-old Frenchman picked an excellent time to score his first Bundesliga goal. Nianzou's fellow Frenchman came close to extending the lead on some chances shortly thereafter.

Two Robert Lewandowski goals on both sides of the halftime break effectively killed off any slim hopes Union might have held for a comeback. A poorly-thought-out short header back from Paul Jaeckel to keeper Luthe saw Lewandowski immediately spring into the gap to poach a chance. Berlin's net-minder had little choice but to haul the super-striker down and a penalty was awarded. Lewandowski duly converted for the 3-0 at 45+1.

Two minutes after the restart, Lewandowski completed a brace. Thomas Müller unlocked Jamal Musiala on the right near the touchline. The Polish superstar easily dusted off Musiala's pass for the 4-0. The game being more-or-less decided after that meant that both teams stepped off their physical duels. With space, creativity, and an influx of substitutions on both sides, there were some interesting chances down the stretch.

There would nevertheless be no further tallies on this day.

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