Bayern defence exposed in walloping at hands of Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich were handed a 4-1 pasting by nearest challengers VfL Wolfsburg on their return to Bundesliga action after six weeks winter hibernation.
Following a minute's applause in honour of the deceased ex-Wolfsburg star Junior Malanda, Bayern never recovered from a wretched start, going behind to Bas Dost's goal from a perfectly executed counter attack after only four minutes. Wolfsburg's big Dutchman then doubled the lead just before halftime with a sublime first time volley past helpless Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Belgian Kevin De Bruyne added salt to the wounds with two more clinical goals after the break, while Juan Bernat's first ever Bayern goal proved a mere consolation for a woeful Bayern side, who looked like they were still on the beach in Qatar where they had spent their winter training camp.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Manuel Neuer, 6 -- Having given up only four goals in 17 previous Bundesliga outings, Neuer was beaten four times in a mere 73 minutes by the rampant Wolves. He was not at fault for any of the goals, but this will be of little consolation on a nightmare night for Bayern. Will never win the Ballon d'Or on this form.
DF Sebastian Rode, 3 -- Replaced the injured Rafinha as right back and was totally overwhelmed in the first half by Wolfsburg's man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne. Correctly hauled off after 50 minutes as Bayern chased the game.
DF Dante, 3 -- Horribly exposed on multiple occasions as the back line was caught repeatedly on the break. In fact, three of the four goals were from counter attacks. The Brazilian defender loses his proud away Bundesliga record of 36 games without defeat in a Bayern shirt. Don't be surprised to see him on the bench Tuesday vs. Schalke.
DF Jerome Boateng, 5 -- Another record busted. Bayern's defensive rock tasted defeat for the first time after an unbeaten run of 56 consecutive Bundesliga games.
DF Juan Bernat, 7 -- His consolation goal was his first ever for the club and, therefore, easily walks away with Bayern's man-of-the match award. Incidentally, the 21-year-old Spaniard is the only outfield player to have featured in every game for Bayern this season.
MF David Alaba, 5 -- Tirelessly toiled down the left side on his return from injury, but apart from a smartly saved first half snap shot, a sub-par evening from the Austrian.
MF Xabi Alonso, 5 -- Normally the canniest of operators, he failed to provide the screen between a solid defence and the attack. More performances like this and the journos' knives will be asking whether he can play together with Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield.
MF Bastian Schweinsteiger, 4 -- Slipped embarrassingly to the floor in Steven Gerrard fashion as Bayern fell quickly behind on a swift counter.
MF Arjen Robben, 6 -- Blameless for Bayern's woe. A week on from his 31st birthday, the dazzling Dutchman was once again the Bavarians' brightest forward spark. Went close to scoring with a fizzing free kick which was fantastically tipped over the bar.
FW Thomas Muller, 5 -- Scant reward for persistent toil and was deservedly hooked off with 20 minutes to play.
FW Robert Lewandowski, 4 -- Totally ineffective, never got into the game at all. Substituted and spared more misery.
FW Mario Gotze, 4 -- Came on as substitute for Muller with 20 minutes to go and was unable to make much of an impact.
FW Claudio Pizarro, 4 -- Replaced Lewandowski for the final 20 minutes and gets such a paltry rating for missing a simple open goal from a yard when it looked easier to score. Oh dear.
MF Mitchell Weiser, 5 -- Weiser replaced Rode but only really caught the eye when stumbling in the box, which can become a trifle annoying in the end.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.