Bayern Munich woke up from their winter sleep with a 2-1 win at Volksparkstadion thus extending their lead at the top of the Bundesliga standings to 11 points in front of the second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Hamburger SV welcomed Bayern Munich in the opening game of the 18th round and the first Bundesliga match in 2016, but have ultimately failed to get something out of the encounter against the organized and determined rivals, who look locked on course to reclaim the Bundesliga title.
Pep Guardiola entered the last six months of his contract with Bayern Munich in fantastic fashion as the Catalan did not allow his evil spirits from the past to haunt him.
January has so far been unkind to Pep Guardiola in Munich.
His first new year period at helm was marked by a 3-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg, second winter in charge began with a 4-1 thump by Wolfsburg and the fans were feeling worried following the last week’s surprising friendly loss to Karlsruher.
Guardiola’s troops have been dealt a 2-1 blow, but the Spaniard insisted it was the competitive matches that counted.
Undeterred and thoroughly focused on recording another win in the league, their third in a row following the 3-1 set-back against Borussia Monchengladbach early in December, Bayern triumphed at Hamburg with a hard-fought 2-1 win which saw Robert Lewandowski claim his 17th goal of the season.
It took Bayern more than a half an hour to break the deadlock and wake up from the winter snooze.
The visiting team were business as usual as Bayern dominated the possession from the start, but tight defending from the Red Shorts left Bayern unable to breach the backline and approach the goal.
In fact, the first chance in the game happened in front of Neuer’s goal when Denis Diekmeier received a precise pass on the edge of the box and fired a shot inches wide of the left post.
Bayern were trying different things in order to break the resilient hosts with Douglas Costa and young Kingsley Coman running the Hamburg defences ragged on the flanks, but without concrete result.
And then, after 37 minutes in the game, Rene Adler was penalized for a foul in the box and Bayern Munich were awarded a penalty kick.
Robert Lewandowski was precise from the white spot as he scored his first penalty goal of the season. The Poland forward took his tally to 16 goals in the season with the penalty kick, extending his fantastic goalscoring exploits.
Aforementioned Coman had a fine chance to double the lead, but his fantastic dribble and drive from just outside of the box were denied comfortably by Rene Adler.
A glimmer of hope for the home side came less than ten minutes in the second half.
A pitiful moment for Xabi Alonso who was trying to avert a cross inside the six-yard box, but ended up sending the ball past his own goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who misjudged the ball himself as well.
The hosts’ hopes were cut short only eight minutes later.
Just a minute over the hour mark Thomas Muller’s shot deflected off Robert Lewandowski’s foot with the ball changing direction and going behind Hamburg keeper who had already went to the other side of the goal. The Poland international scored a brace, taking his tally to 17 this term.
Low in confidence, Labaddia’s men struggled to keep their pace in the final 30 minutes of the game and were even lucky to avoid high-margin loss.
David Alaba could have made scored the third goal for the visitors but his thunderbolt strike just five minutes after Lewandowski’s second of the game rattled the crossbar.
Thiago Alcantara also tried his luck with ten minutes on the clock, but his shot from the edge of the box did not surprise the Hamburg keeper who made a decent save to block the attempt.
Bayern Munich let their guard drop in the final moments of the game when Michael Gregoritsch’s long-range free kick lacked a couple of inches to end up inside the right post.
In the end, with no changes to the result, Bayern Munich recorded an important 2-1 win which saw them cement their spot at the top and ease their way out of the winter dream.
HAMBURG: Adler 6 – Diekmeier 6.5, Djourou, 6 Cleber 6.5, Ostrzolek 6 – Kacar 6.5 (Jung 6), Holtby 7 – Muller 6.5, Hunt 6, Ilicevic 6.5 (Gregoritsch 6) – Lassoga 6 (Rundevs 6)
Unused subs: Carolus, Drobny, Porath, Sakai
BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer 6 –Boateng 7 (Martinez 6.5), Badstuber 7.5, Alaba 6.5 – Alonso 7.5 – Costa 7 (Robben 6), Lahm 7, Alcantara 7, Coman 7.5 – Muller 7 (Vidal 6), Lewandowski 8
Unused subs: Kimmich, Rode, Starke
REFEREE: Felix Zwayer