Berlin, Sep 23 (IANS) The Colombian James Rodriguez scored the first goal for Bayern and provoked the penalty that led to the second, scored by Robert Lewandowski, in a 2-0 home stadium victory over Schalke that put the Bavarians on top of the Bundesliga.
Coach Niko Kovac showed once more how much he believes in rotating his players and made four changes in the starting lineup on Saturday from the one that downed home-team Benfica in the Champions League, reports Efe.
Niklas Sule, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara – who missed the Lisbon match due to a foot problem – and Thomas Mueller were starters in place of Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez, Renato Sanchez and Arjen Robben.
James was first on the scoreboard in the eighth minute with a header that turned a right-side corner kick by Joshua Kimmich into a goal. This was no less than the fourth Bayern corner kick early in the game, which gives some idea of the pressure Schalke was under.
Bayern came close to a second score in the 21st minute with a shot by David Alaba that Schalke keeper Ralph Fahrmann deflected, then at minute 24 when Fahrmann won a close contest for the ball with James inside the box, and yet again in the 29th minute when a shot by Alaba hit the crossbar.
But despite the pressure, by the last part of the first half Schalke’s defense had toughened and slowed Bayern’s maneuvers, though without much improvement in its offense.
In the second half Bayern slightly outpaced its rival, and at minute 63 the Colombian player was knocked down inside the box by the Austrian Alexander Schopf, after which Lewandowski converted the penalty kick into the final score of the game that ended with a 2-0 victory of Bayern over Schalke.