'Best performance so far in Bundesliga,' says manager after champions draw level with leaders Dortmund.
Guardiola’s delight as Bayern rout Schalke
BERLIN // Pep Guardiola, the manager, was delighted as Bayern Munich’s 4-0 win at Schalke on Saturday saw the European champions draw level with Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga leaders.
Bayern remain second in the table, but are level with Dortmund on both goal difference and points after their win in Gelsenkirchen.
After six league games, Bayern have only dropped two points under Guardiola and are enjoying 70 per cent possession in most matches.
“That was our best performance so far in the Bundesliga, we completely dominated against one of the best teams in Germany,” said Guardiola whose side host Bundesliga rivals Hanover 96 in the German Cup second round on Wednesday.
“We did very well over the 90 minutes which pleased me. In Germany, you have to limit your opponents’ ability to counter-attack and we cut down their chances and controlled the game.”
Having introduced a 4-1-4-1 formation when he took charge in June, Guardiola has reverted to the 4-2-3-1 with which Bayern won the treble of European, cup and league titles under Jupp Heynckes last season.
Bayern dominated the midfield with captain Philipp Lahm alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in the defensive midfield positions.
“We went into the game from the first minute with a very serious approach, the mentality was there,” said Germany star Schweinsteiger.
“We wanted to get the three points, so we are happy that we did that. At times we were quite good, but we still have things to work on.”
While injury-hit Dortmund dropped their first points of the season with a 1-1 draw at Nuremberg, Bayern earned their win at Schalke without midfielders Javi Martinez, Mario Goetze and Thiago Alcantara.
Centre-back Jerome Boateng, who was rock solid in Bayern’s back four, said the defending champions will only get stronger over the coming weeks.
“We’re improving from game to game and we improved again today,” said Boateng, who enjoyed the win with half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng in the Schalke side.
“There were a few mistakes in our counter-attack game, but we will improve on that.”
Despite making a bright start, Jens Keller’s Schalke undid their good work as first Schweinsteiger, then striker Mario Mandzukic were left unmarked in the area to head home.
Schweinsteiger, back in the starting side after straining ankle ligaments last month, smashed home Arjen Robben’s corner on 21 minutes and 60 seconds later, Mandzukic converted David Alaba’s cross.
Franck Ribery, the France winger, and Claudio Pizarro, the then replacement striker, added late goals as Schalke’s four-match winning run came to an abrupt halt.
Bayern have now gone 31 games without losing a Bundesliga match and have recorded 26 league wins and five draws since losing 2-1 loss to Leverkusen in October 2012.