James Rodriguez played a starring role for FC Bayern München as ran out 3-0 victors against FC Schalke 0 at the Veltins-Arena on Tuesday to claim top spot in the Bundesliga.
Schalke 0 FC Bayern München 3
Lewandowski penalty opens scoring
James quickly doubles Bayern’s lead
Muller denied by the woodwork
Vidal seals win in closing stages
The on-loan Real Madrid playmaker opened his account for the Bavarian giants and set up another for Arturo Vidal, after Robert Lewandowski had broken the deadlock midway through the first half.
The hosts enjoyed some good passages of play in the early stages, but it was Bayern who created the first couple of chances inside the opening 10 minutes.
Sebastian Rudy forced a superb save out of Ralf Fahrmann in the eight minute with a powerful strike from 30 yards out after being teed up by James, and the keeper had to be alert again two minutes later to deny Thomas Muller from an acute angle on the left.
The Royal Blues looked to have soaked up the early pressure and thought they had drawn first blood on 22 minutes when Guido Burgstaller slotted home on the rebound after Sven Ulreich stopped Armine Harit from scoring, but the offside flag cut their celebrations short.
The Video Assistant Referee was brought into play three minutes later as the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty for handball on Naldo, and Lewandowski made no mistake from 12 yards out to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side the lead.
The Gelsenkirchen outfit were still smarting from the referee’s decision when they fell further behind on 29 minutes, with an unmarked James finishing calmly from close range after being picked out at the back post by Corentin Tolisso.
Domenico Tedesco’s men failed to threaten the visiting goal before half-time and they were fortunate not to go three goals down early in the second half as Muller headed James’ cross from the right against the near post on 51 minutes.
But Schalke went close to reducing the deficit three minutes later when Daniel Caligiuri raced towards goal from the right flank and fired in a shot from 20 yards out that flew into the side-netting.
Leon Goretzka then failed to test Ulreich from distance with a shot that flashed across the face of goal on 59 minutes, and the action quickly switched to the other end as Kingsley Coman called Fahrmann into action with a driven effort from a tight angle.
First start ?
First goal ?
First assist ?
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 19, 2017
The Royal Blues wasted a golden opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the 66th minute when Bastian Oczipka played Burgstaller in on goal, but his shot was blocked by the leg of Ulreich.
Bayern then sealed the win 15 minutes from time following good work from James inside the area to pick out Vidal, who volleyed home from 10 yards out.
James was denied a brace at the death as he got on the end of Muller’s driven cross, with Fahrmann reacting sharply at his near post to keep out the Colombian star.
Other Bundesliga results:
VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
FC Augsburg 1-0 RB Leipzig
VfL Wolfsburg 1-1 SV Werder Bremen