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Guardiola delighted as Bayern floors Schalke

Updated: 2013-09-23 06:55
By Reuters in Berlin (China Daily)

Coach Pep Guardiola was delighted as Bayern Munich's 4-0 win at Schalke 04 on Saturday saw the European champion draw level with Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern remains second in the table, but is level with Dortmund on both goal difference and points after its win in Gelsenkirchen.

After six league games, Bayern has only dropped two points under Guardiola and is enjoying 70 percent possession in most matches.

"That was our best performance so far in the Bundesliga, we completely dominated against one of the best teams in Germany," said Guardiola, whose side hosts rival Hanover 96 in the German Cup second round on Wednesday.

"We did very well over the 90 minutes which pleased me. In Germany, you have to limit your opponent's ability to counter-attack and we cut down their chances and controlled the game."

Having introduced a 4-1-4-1 formation when he took charge in June, Guardiola has reverted to the 4-2-3-1 with which Bayern won the treble of European, cup and league titles under Jupp Heynckes last season.

Bayern dominated the midfield with captain Philipp Lahm alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in the defensive midfield positions.

"We went into the game from the first minute with a very serious approach, the mentality was there," said Germany star Schweinsteiger.

"We wanted to get the three points, so we are happy that we did that. At times we were quite good, but we still have things to work on."

While injury-hit Dortmund dropped its first points of the season with a 1-1 draw at Nuremberg, Bayern earned its win at Schalke without midfielders Javi Martinez, Mario Goetze and Thiago Alcantara.

Centerback Jerome Boateng, who was rock solid in Bayern's back four, said the defending champion will only get stronger over the coming weeks.

"We're improving from game to game and we improved again today," said Boateng, who enjoyed the win over half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng in the Schalke side.

"There were a few mistakes in our counter-attack game, but we will improve on that."

Despite making a bright start, Jens Keller's Schalke undid its good work as first Schweinsteiger, then striker Mario Mandzukic were left unmarked in the area to head home.

Bayern has now gone 31 games without losing a Bundesliga match and has recorded 26 league wins and five draws since losing 2-1 to Leverkusen in October 2012.

(China Daily 09/23/2013 page23)

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