Bayern machine rolls on in Bundesliga

Bayern Munich were crowned autumn champions in the Bundesliga thanks to a 3-1 win over Hamburg which means they top the table going into the new year.

Mario Mandzukic gave Pep Guardiola’s men the lead just before half-time and Mario Gotze made it two just after.

The Bayern coach made changes to his side in view of the upcoming Club World Cup in Morocco and Pierre-Michel Lasogga pulled a goal back late on.

However, Xherdan Shaqiri made sure of the points with the last kick of the game, ensuring Bayern’s name will be at the top of the Bundesliga pile in January, even if they are not in action in the Bundesliga next weekend.

Hamburg, beaten 9-2 on their last visit to Munich, gave as good as they got early on with Bayern rarely able to advance into the final third of the field.

Rafael van der Vaart, after receiving a yellow card within two minutes, helped out as an additional defensive midfielder, depriving the Hamburg attack of an option, but with the hosts pretty much in control of the ball, he knew where he was needed most.

Bert van Marwijk’s men were therefore able to restrict Bayern to just one Mandzukic effort, which was blocked, before the Croatian broke the deadlock just before the interval.

Rafinha hooked a cross back from the goal line and Bayern’s top scorer rose determined to head in from five yards out.

Hamburg came out with a new approach in the second half and Lasogga had two shots on Manuel Neuer’s goal, testing the Bayern goalkeeper with a curling effort before missing the target with a more powerful one.

Bayern resisted the pressure and doubled their lead when Thiago Alcantara lifted the ball up for Gotze, who took one touch to control the ball before swiveling and sending it in with his second touch before it even touched the ground.

His work had been done and he was replaced by Franck Ribery soon after as Guardiola started to think about keeping his players fresh for the upcoming Club World Cup.

The move nearly backfired as Lasogga drilled a shot into the roof of the net five minutes from the end.

However, Bayern responded again with Shaqiri breaking through in stoppage time and slotting a shot inside the near post to seal victory for Bayern.