2017/2018 German Bundesliga
  • Robert Lewandowski (25' PEN)
  • James Rodríguez (29')
  • Arturo Vidal (75')

James Rodriguez shines as Bayern win at Schalke to go top

Bayern Munich celebrate VI Images via Getty Images

James Rodriguez opened his account for Bayern Munich and created two other goals in a 3-0 victory at Schalke that sent Carlo Ancelotti's side to the top of the Bundesliga table.

Colombian Rodriguez moved to Bavaria this summer on a two-year loan from Real Madrid and he played a key role on his first league start, earning Bayern a penalty from a cross before scoring himself and then brilliantly teeing up substitute Arturo Vidal for the third.

The spot-kick, eventually awarded for handball against Naldo following consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, was converted by Robert Lewandowski for his 10th of the season already in all competitions.

Earlier in the day Bayern had revealed Manuel Neuer would be out until 2018 due to a broken foot so back-up Sven Ulreich started in goal.

It was Schalke's stopper Ralf Fahrmann who made the first big save when he brilliantly kept out Sebastian Rudy's half volley from distance, with Corentin Tolisso then close to turning home Lewandowski's cross just after that.

Ulreich was first called upon during a Schalke counter when he saved from Amine Harit and then Bastian Oczipka, who was correctly ruled offside, negating the strike from Guido Burgstaller that went in at the third attempt.

Moments later Bayern broke and Rodriguez's cross clearly struck the raised arm of a diving Naldo, though the spot-kick was only awarded once a replay had been scrutinised, and Lewandowski rolled into the corner of the net to reach double figures for the season.

The visiting side's lead was doubled just four minutes later through Rodriguez. Bayern cashed in when ex-Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb gave the ball away just outside of his box, with Tolisso switching the ball to the right-hand side of the box, where Rodriguez took one touch and stroked home a near-post finish.

Ulreich was grateful for Javi Martinez's goal-line clearance after he botched an attempted save just before the half, with Schalke then restarting the game with Yevhen Konoplyanka on as a substitute.

An unmarked Thomas Muller should have made it 3-0 from Rodriguez's cross but his close-range header struck the woodwork and Bayern then had to weather the Schalke storm.

Daniel Caligiuri, Konoplyanka and Leon Goretzka all steered narrowly wide and Burgstaller had a brilliant opportunity one-on-one he fired tamely at Ulreich.

That seemed to drain the confidence out of the home side and Bayern wrapped up the three points 15 minutes from time thanks to some brilliance from Rodriguez and Vidal.

Rodriguez collected a pass with his back to goal, moved out of the box and chipped a delicious pass through three players for Vidal, who timed his run to perfection to place a side-footed volley beyond Fahrmann.

A fourth goal, and a second for Rodriguez, was nearly forthcoming late on but Fahrmann did well to turn away his effort from a Muller cross.

German Bundesliga Standings

1 Borussia Dortmund 11 +21 27
2 Borussia Monchengladbach 11 +13 23
3 RB Leipzig 11 +13 22
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 11 +13 20
5 Bayern Munich 11 +6 20
6 TSG Hoffenheim 11 +9 19
7 Werder Bremen 11 0 17
8 Hertha Berlin 11 -1 16
9 Mainz 11 -2 15
10 FC Augsburg 11 +1 13
11 SC Freiburg 11 -4 13
12 VfL Wolfsburg 11 -2 12
13 Bayer Leverkusen 11 -8 11
14 Schalke 04 11 -7 10
15 Nurnberg 11 -13 10
16 Hannover 96 11 -8 9
17 Fortuna Düsseldorf 11 -15 8
18 VfB Stuttgart 11 -16 8