Bayern have picked the perfect moment to boost themselves to the top of the table, downing surprise league leaders RB Leipzig right before the traditional winter break in convincing fashion on Wednesday.
A first half blitzkrieg from the Bavarians stunned Die Roten Bullen, whose first 45 was equally as nightmarish with Emil Forsberg handed his marching orders in the 3-0 defeat at a packed Allianz Arena.
Leipzig had already beaten Borussia Dortmund earlier in the season but faced their most stern test yet. Both teams were sitting level on points, making the game immensely important.
But Leipzig never really got started as Bayern shocked them with two early goals in the opening 30 minutes from Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso. Leipzig were consistently on the back foot and could never get a foothold on the game.
The match was essentially over after Bayern scored their second goal, but Leipzig were handed a monumental mountain to climb when Forsberg was sent off just minutes after Bayern scored. The Bulls fought to get back into the game but their efforts were not enough, conceding a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half that Robert Lewandowski put away easily.
— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) December 21, 2016
Bayern were happy to sit on the three-goal lead and toyed with Leipzig in the second half. Leipzig will to spend the winter break in second place for the first time this season as Bayern finally returned to the top.
Bayern lift for crushing victory
Bayern are masters of finding their feet just in time for an important match. Despite a run of woeful form a few weeks ago, they managed to turn it around with a winning streak in time to take on Leipzig.
It was clear Bayern take the surprise leaders very seriously as they put on an immense performance to ensure Leipzig would not be able to get claim any sort of footing throughout the 90 minutes. Carlo Ancelotti has shown that even under new management, Bayern still have that incredible ability to snap out of a slump and whip themselves into shape for big games.
Many were touting this game as a true test for Leipzig, but in truth it was barely a test for their opponents. Bayern have shown why they are always at the top of the table; they crushed Leipzig and sent a warning that winning this league will not be as easy as they thought.
Thiago Alcantara steps up
Thiago has always been a consistent performer for Bayern but against Leipzig, the Spaniard really stepped up his game. The ex-Barcelona man played in a more forward position than he usually does and embraced the No.10 role with aplomb.
He was one of the major creative forces for Bayern throughout the match and showed that perhaps a more permanent position in the attacking half of the Bayern lineup would be a good option for him.
The Guardiola signing was rewarded with man of the match for his efforts. Expect to see more wonderful performances from him after the winter break.
Leipzig down but not out
The question that was on everyone’s minds before this game was simple: Are Leipzig the real deal? Could they beat Bayern Munich to the title? The answer, it seemed after tonight, is a resounding no, but there is much more to a season than winning a single game.
Leipzig have shown that they are far more consistent than the Bundesliga champions and appear to be better at grinding out wins against the smaller sides. Bayern, of course, have the raw talent and expertise but they have been floundering as they transition to life under their new manager and should not believe they are in the clear.
Leipzig are far from out of this title race and losing to Bayern should be something that motivates them to return to the Bundesliga after the break with passion.