Julian Nagelsmann witnessed the Bayern Munich he desired as the reigning champions thrashed Freiburg 5-0 to overtake their visitors into second place in the Bundesliga.
Serge Gnabry, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane, and Marcel Sabitzer scored as Bayern maintained their unbeaten home record against Freiburg.
Bayern has never lost at home against Sunday’s opponents in the Bundesliga, with this victory giving them 20 victories and three draws from 23 meetings in Munich.
Bayern’s results and performances in the Champions League have been strong, but they have been erratic in the Bundesliga. After last week’s jolt of allowing Borussia Dortmund to come back from 2-0 down, perhaps we’ll start to see coach Nagelsmann’s side at their clinical best domestically on a regular basis.
Bayern started this game two points behind their visitors, only the third occasion in Bundesliga history that they have started a game against Freiburg trailing them in the rankings.
Bayern made a strong start, and Gnabry’s fine header put them ahead after Mark Flekken’s sharp save from Leroy Sane’s close-range shot resulted in the ball looping up towards the penalty spot.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Matthias Ginter failed to close down Choupo-Moting inside the penalty area, allowing the striker to drill a low shot across Flekken and inside the left post.
Gnabry hit the left post before Sane effectively ended the game in the 52nd minute with a ferocious 22-yard strike with his left foot that raced past Flekken into the left corner.
After Philipp Lienhart made an embarrassingly weak attempt to cut out Gnabry’s floated pass from the right wing, Mane got in on the act with a lovely lob. Sabitzer scored the fifth goal in the 80th minute, taking advantage of more sloppy defending before stroking home from 15 yards.
What does it imply? Bayern rally to Kahn’s appeal, and it’s all too easy.
Bayern Munich’s goalkeeper-turned-CEO Oliver Kahn stated on social media and then at the club’s AGM on Saturday that he expects more from this team. As a result, Nagelsmann, the coach who has struggled to use the quality at his disposal through the first two months of the season, is bound to suffer.
Bayern came into this game having won just one of their last six Bundesliga games (D4 L1), with Nagelsmann aware that a string of Champions League victories could not continue to cover up cracks in the team’s domestic form.
In the end, Bayern’s front four each scored once against a team that had been unbeaten in their previous 11 games in all competitions (W8 D3), with Sabitzer scoring the fifth. Bayern concluded with an 8-0 advantage in shots on goal.
Davies, the dynamic
Alphonso Davies had a bruised skull in Bayern’s previous Bundesliga game, a 2-2 draw with Dortmund, but the Canadian left-back was declared fit to play here and was influential early on, firing a scorching drive just over before teeing up Sane for the opening goal.
He had the third-most touches among Bayern players (94), and won four of his five duels while completing 63 of his 68 passes (92.6 per cent).
Freiburg is stunned by the swarming trio.
In this one-sided game, the three Bayern players who played just off goalscorer Choupo-Moting combined for 12 shots on goal. Sane had five goals, Gnabry four, and Mane three, and both Sane and Gnabry claimed an assist to go with their goals.
This was Bayern at their raucous best, when the rest of the Bundesliga couldn’t handle them. They are four points behind shock leaders Union Berlin, but this will not be the case for long.
What comes next?
These teams will be in DFB-Pokal action on Wednesday, with Bayern visiting Augsburg in Germany’s domestic cup competition, and Freiburg hosting St Pauli on the same day.