Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to take his goal tally to five in two games as he fired Bayern Munich to their first Bundesliga victory of the season in a 3-0 defeat of Schalke.
After finishing with his lowest goal return for four years in 2018-19, plundering 22 league goals, the Poland international has started the new campaign in electric form and Schalke failed to contain him.
Any hopes Schalke boss David Wagner had of taking points from his first home game in charge were cast into doubt when Lewandowski converted a first-half penalty.
The 31-year-old saved his best for the second half, when he curled a spectacular free-kick into the top corner and then added a third to wrap up a comfortable victory.
Bayern coach Niko Kovac took the opportunity to hand a debut to loanee forward Philippe Coutinho in the last 35 minutes, and after a frustrating start to the season the champions are starting to look more like themselves.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 24, 2019
Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, heavily linked with a move to Bayern during the close season, made a good reaction save to keep a powerful Lewandowski header out after 15 minutes.
When Schalke’s loanee full-back Jonjoe Kenny made a clumsy sliding challenge on Kingsley Coman four minutes later the referee had no option but to award a penalty that Lewandowski calmly stroked into net.
The second half was just four minutes old when Corentin Tolisso won a free-kick 25 yards from goal, prompting Lewandowski to unleash a scintillating strike that swerved away from Nubel and into the top-left corner.
With 15 minutes left, Coman burst down the right and crossed to the edge of the box where Lewandowski had time to take a touch before rattling a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net to add gloss to the result.
What does it mean? Normal service resumed
After defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup and a draw with Hertha Berlin in their season opener, Bayern put paid to suggestions that they are on the wane with a calm, confident victory.
Lewandowski like a fine wine
Bayern’s dependence on Lewandowski for firepower is often viewed as a weakness in their squad, but when he is in this kind of form that argument falls flat.
Everton loanee Kenny enjoyed a clean sheet on his Schalke debut in a goalless draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, but his sloppy challenge on Coman ended any chance of another.
Key Opta Facts
– With Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso, and Kingsley Coman Bayern had four French players in their starting lineup – this was the first time in Bundesliga history that a team started a match with four players from France.
– Robert Lewandowski is the first player to score the first five goals of a Bundesliga season for Bayern – only Jonathan Akpoborie in 1996-97 for Hansa Rostock had a longer such starting run (first six goals of the season).
– Only Gerd Muller scored more goals on the opening two matchdays of a Bundesliga season than Lewandowski (six in 1977-78, also for Bayern).
– Lewandowski scored in his eighth consecutive Bundesliga appearance against Schalke – only Klaus Fischer netted in more consecutive games against one opponent in Bundesliga history (nine, against Stuttgart).
Struggling Mainz travel to Munich for a clash with the champions on Saturday, while Schalke entertain Hertha.
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