Thomas Muller helps Bayern open Bundesliga with rout of Hamburg
Bayern Munich got their quest for a fourth straight Bundesliga title off to an emphatic start with a 5-0 win over Hamburg on Friday night.
No team has ever won four Bundesliga titles in a row, but after goals from Medhi Benatia and Robert Lewandowski were added to by a Thomas Muller brace and a Douglas Costa effort, Bayern made it clear they intend to become the first.
Hamburg, who avoided relegation via a play-off for the second season in a row in May, were in a different league to Pep Guardiola's men and will be glad to return to north Germany having at least improved on their previous two games at the Allianz Arena.
Having been beaten 9-2 and 8-0 on their previous two visits to Munich, Hamburg were always going to be cautious on their latest trip, and Lewis Holtby's first shot of the game in the fourth minute did not alter that.
The former Tottenham and Fulham midfielder is still waiting for his first Bundesliga goal for Hamburg and that was the only chance he was going to get on Friday night.
He was needed more to prevent Philipp Lahm from overlapping down the Bayern right as the Bavarians inevitably sought to get the defence of their third straight Bundesliga crown off to a winning start.
They found themselves up against a well-drilled Hamburg defence, though, and not even the invention of Costa and a more subdued Arjen Robben on the right could find a way through.
In the end it was a set-piece which saw Bayern take the lead, Benatia diverting Xabi Alonso's free-kick past Rene Adler with his right shoulder in the 27th minute.
The floodgates did not open then, though, and Benatia was fortunate just a few minutes later not to pick up a second yellow card, which would have complicated matters for the record German champions.
Had Dennis Diekmeier been more precise with Hamburg's next chance of the game - the first of the second half - the game might have opened up, but instead it was Bayern who continued their now habitual monologue, doubling their lead soon after through Lewandowski.
The Pole was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball into the bottom corner, with the aid of a deflection, after Matthias Ostrzolek's headed clearance fell kindly for him.
The same could be said of Muller for Bayern's third, but his close-range header would not have been possible had it not been for the pace of Costa to keep the ball in down the right wing, and then deliver it perfectly with the outside of his left boot.
Muller added Bayern's fourth shortly after, taking Lewandowski's pass beyond Adler before cutting it back inside the near post, and it was starting to look like another night in Munich to forget in a rush for Hamburg.
Adler prevented worse by tipping David Alaba's effort over, but even his full-stretch dive could not reach Costa's curling effort in the closing stages as Bayern signalled their intent for the season in style on the Bundesliga's opening night.