Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick as eight-time reigning champions Bayern Munich started the 2020-21 Bundesliga season in familiar fashion with a 8-0 humiliation of Schalke on Friday night.
Bayern never looked back after a fourth-minute lead from Gnabry, with Leon Goretzka, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, newly-signed Leroy Sane and youngster Jamal Musiala adding the other goals 26 days after their Champions League triumph in Lisbon.
Last season’s treble winners stretched their unbeaten run to 31 games overall (with 103 goals in the process) and 21 in the league, to underline their status as top favourites.
Harmless Schalke are now winless in 17 Bundesliga matches and appear to face another very difficult season with coach David Wagner, whose job is made considerably more difficult with the debacle.
“It felt great to finally be on the pitch with the lads. Today was a very good day for us, a good game, many goals. Everyone was just so hungry for the restart,” Sane told streaming portal DAZN.
Schalke’s Bastian Oczipka spoke of “a bitter start,” admitting that “we were shown our limitations.”
The season-opener took place behind closed doors after Munich authorities the previous day vetoed the presence of 7,500 fans owing to a spike in coronavirus cases in the region.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick fielded Sane against his former club in his first official game for Munich who had only trained for 10 days after a post-Champions League holiday.
But Schalke’s hopes of a first Bundesliga win against them in 10 years ended in the fourth minute.
Joshua Kimmich, back in midfield in place of Thiago Alcantara who was unveiled as a Liverpool signing earlier in the day, fed Gnabry with a long ball and the Germany forward beat a defender to fire home from the edge of the area.
Set up nicely by Sane, Lewandowski had a shot blocked at the last instance one minute later but the second came in the 19th when Thomas Mueller laid the ball back to Leon Goretzka who scored into the bottom left corner against his former club.
Last season’s Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League top scorer Lewandowski made in 3-0 from the spot in the 31st after being fouled by Ozan Kabak.
That ended the game as a contest before half-time but Munich weren’t finished yet.
Gnabry first finished off a fine attacking move started by left-back Benjamin Pavard two minutes after the restart, and completed his first-ever Bundesliga hat-trick set in the 59th, both set up by Sane.
Mueller volleyed the sixth after a super feed from Lewandowski in the 69th; Sane then also found the net two minutes later after another through ball from Kimmich; and 17-year-old substitute Musiala netted his first top flight goal to complete the rout and become Bayern’s youngest-ever Bundesliga goal scorer.
“Many things didn’t work for us. Bayern are probably the best team in the world and it hurts. We won’t play like this every weekend. We must now look ahead at the next game against Bremen,” Schalke captain Benjamin Stambouli said.
The first matchday continues Saturday and Sunday, with the match between runners-up Borussia Dortmund and fourth-place finishers Borussia Moenchengladbach the top tie.