Bayern cruise to season-opening win on back of Lewandowski hat trick
Bayern Munich, chasing a historic fifth league title on the trot, devoured lacklustre Werder Bremen 6-0 in the opening contest of their Bundesliga campaign, courtesy of a Robert Lewandowski hat trick and further goals from Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribery.
Bayern are always expected to win comfortably at home in the Bundesliga, but this simply majestic team performance to kick off the Carlo Ancelotti era in Bavaria was a bonus.
It's hard to be critical when winning 6-0, but with better finishing, Bayern could easily have reached double figures. Only Thomas Muller will know how he didn't manage to beat the overworked Felix Wiedwald in the visitors' goal.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Given the current injury list, Ancelotti's starting lineup was predictable -- unlike his predecessor Pep Guardiola's. Rest assured, there will be stiffer tests ahead than probable relegation strugglers in Bremen, but the Italian got off to the perfect start.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Manuel Neuer, 7 -- The world's best keeper hardly had a shot to save from Bremen's impotent attack. After claiming a new league record of 20 clean sheets last season, Neuer predictably picked up the first of many for this campaign.
DF David Alaba, 7 -- Enjoyed the freedom of Munich on the left side, rampaging forward at pace. His partnership with Ribery will be a joy to watch in coming weeks.
DF Mats Hummels, 7 -- Bayern's summer signing slotted in as if he had never been away on his second league debut at the Allianz Arena, following 226 games for Borussia Dortmund. Some classy forays forward and exquisite passing, as we've come to expect.
DF Javi Martinez, 7 -- Paired with Hummels in central defence, Bayern's record signing enjoyed an untroubled balmy evening against a very limited Bremen side.
DF Philipp Lahm, 9 -- Searching for his eighth Bundesliga title to match fellow German legends Oliver Kahn, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl, Lahm started the season in fantastic form. Bayern's skipper even had the temerity to score a goal, smashing in off the post following a fantastic one-two with Muller -- the skipper's 12th goal in 307 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern.
MF Xabi Alonso, 8 -- Passed fit on the eve of the game, the 34-year-old Spaniard set the Bayern bandwagon rolling inside the opening 10 minutes, striking a marvellous first-time volley into the top right corner. He controlled the game effortlessly and was given a standing ovation when making way for rising star Joshua Kimmich on 64 minutes with the game in the bag.
MF Thiago, 8 -- The Italian-born Spaniard was at his inventive best and won the penalty that enabled Lewandowski to seal his hat trick.
MF Arturo Vidal, 7 -- The Chilean was as combative as ever and threw himself into every challenge as if his life depended on it. With the game over early, it definitely didn't.
MF Franck Ribery, 7 -- Bayern' second-longest-serving player (behind Lahm) played in Lewandowski for his opening goal and took advantage of fine work from Muller to drill home Bayern's fifth of the evening. The Frenchman also managed to keep his hands down after some unnecessary temper tantrums in recent weeks.
MF Thomas Muller, 8 -- Provided three quite delightful second-half assists but couldn't crown his good work with the goal he deserved, missing a handful of chances in each half. It just wasn't Muller's evening in front of goal.
FW Robert Lewandowski, 9 -- Top scorer in the league last season with 30 goals, the Polish striker netted another hat trick to reach his half-century of Bundesliga goals in only 64 games for Bayern. He doubled the lead on the night when he finished from a narrow angle and prodded home Muller's inch-perfect cross 46 seconds after the break. His third came from the spot and, like Muller, he could easily have added to his tally but found Wiedwald in brilliant form.
MF Joshua Kimmich, 7 -- Replaced Alonso, and Germany's new wunderkind continued his fine record of never finishing on the losing side in 24 appearances.
DF Rafinha, NR -- The twice-capped Brazilian replaced the skipper just after the fifth goal to little acclaim.
DF Juan Bernat, NR -- Bernat alarmingly slipped down the pecking order last season, and it looks like the Spaniard will have to put up with similar bit part appearances under Ancelotti.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.