Serge Gnabry grabbed a hat trick as Bayern Munich thrashed Stuttgart 5-0 to move nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Tuesday evening.
The hosts actually created the best chance after a subdued opening to proceedings at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but Omar Marmoush could only drag his shot wide having been slipped in on goal midway through the first half.
Bayern eventually began to impose themselves and made their dominance pay when Gnabry popped up to give them the lead five minutes before half-time. Early substitute Leroy Sané made a driving run from the halfway line before laying it off to his compatriot, who bent a sublime first-time effort into the top corner.
Stuttgart came flying out of the blocks in the second half and created two decent opportunities, but Wataro Endo was unable to convert a driven cross from close range and Philipp Forster ended a neat move by firing straight at Manuel Neuer.
Die Schwaben were made to pay moments later. Thomas Muller found Gnabry on the counter in acres of space in the box, with the winger cutting in onto his left foot and making no mistake with the finish.
Three goals in the space of just five minutes put the game to bed – and Gnabry was involved in all of them. First, the winger latched onto a loose pass and lifted the ball into Robert Lewandowski, who bore down on goal and dinked the goalkeeper with sumptuous ease.
The former Arsenal man was the provider for the prolific Pole again shortly afterwards – seeing his low delivery converted – before bagging his hat-trick, knocking the ball in after Florian Muller spilled a cross as his feet.
There was still time for Muller to be forced into a good double save and Lewandowski to come within the width of the post of a hat-trick of his own, but it finished 5-0 to Bayern.
Here’s how the away side rated in this Bundesliga clash…
Manuel Neuer (GK) – 6/10 – Didn’t have much to do, but dominated his box and showed good handling.
Benjamin Pavard (RB) – 7/10 – Saw a decent outside-of-the-boot effort deflect over. Solid at the back but an easy night’s work.
Niklas Sule (CB) – 8/10 – Really solid, often snuffing out Marmoush’s runs. Read the game brilliantly.
Lukas Hernandez (CB) – 6/10 – Stuttgart had some joy through his side of the back line. Didn’t have much to do after the break.
Alphonso Davies (LB) – 6/10 – Not given an easy time by Tanguy Coulibaly on Stuttgart’s right wing. Booked for a silly handball. Subbed.
Marc Roca (CM) – 6/10 – A first start of the season. Tried to drop deep, get on the ball and spray passes, with varying degrees of success. Won the ball well in the build-up to the second. Subbed.
Jamal Musiala (CM) – 8/10 – Some very neat touches and demonstrated his vision in forays forward, although a bit lightweight at times. Did the defensive side so, so well.
Thomas Muller (AM) – 7/10 – Yet another assist on the break, playing a simple pass to Gnabry. Produced a lovely turn later in the second half.
Serge Gnabry (RW) – 9/10 – Beautiful, arching, first-time finish into the top corner for 1-0. Doubled up with a simple finish before providing two inch-perfect assists for Lewandowski. Got his hat-trick, pouncing on a mistake from the keeper.
Robert Lewandowski (ST) – 8/10 – Kept quiet for the most part, but still popped up with a brace – first lifting the ball over the goalkeeper after racing through on goal and then tapping home from Gnabry’s low cross.
Kingsley Coman (LW) – N/A – Forced off early, pulling his hamstring as he chased back having been dispossessed.
Leroy Sané (LW) – 7/10 – Brilliant driving run before a simple assist for Gnabry to make it 1-0. Not as involved as his attacking colleagues thereafter.
Malik Tillman (ST) – 6/10 – A Bundesliga debut.
Tanguy Nianzou (CM) – N/A
Michael Cuisance (CM) – 6/10 – Some nice touches and posed a threat in the attacking third.
Omar Richards (LB) – N/A