James Rodriguez's dazzling full debut helps Bayern Munich past Schalke

Chasing a sixth Bundesliga title in succession, Bayern Munich moved serenely to the top of the table with a comfortable 3-0 Bundesliga win over Schalke courtesy of goals from Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez and substitute Arturo Vidal.


Without two of their best players in the injured Manuel Neuer and under-the-weather Arjen Robben -- and following a particularly timid setback in Hoffenheim on Sept. 9 -- Bayern returned to winning ways on the road with Colombia international Rodriguez starring in his full Bundesliga debut.


It is hard to be critical when winning 3-0 away in Gelsenkirchen, any negative reaction to the victory would be nitpicking.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Carlo Ancelotti went all-in, making six changes from the comprehensive win over Mainz on Saturday. He had to replace Neuer and Robben, but the Italian started with all four of his summer signings, while leaving Mats Hummels, Franck Ribery, Arturo Vidal, Thiago and Jerome Boateng on a star-studded bench.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Sven Ulreich, 8 -- Again filled in capably in only his eighth league game for Bayern, producing a string of fine saves to preserve his side's advantage, most notably from Guido Burgstaller in the second half. Whether he's able to keep a clean sheet against the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe of PSG next week, is another matter entirely.

DF Rafinha, 6 -- The ex-Schalke defender stepped in again for David Alaba at left-back and is a solid, reliable backup to have.

DF Niklas Sule, 7 -- Resumed his partnership with former record-signing Javi Martinez at the heart of the defence. Not the quickest by any means, but a good honest defender with his best years ahead of him.

DF Javi Martinez, 6 -- Sturdily replaced Boateng in central defence, before making way for Hummels late on.

DF Joshua Kimmich, 6 -- Provided three assists at the weekend against Mainz but quiet by his recent standards.

MF Corentin Tolisso, 7 -- Bayern's record signing languished on the bench for the whole game against Mainz at the weekend, but buzzed around brightly and laid James' goal on a plate.

MF Sebastian Rudy, 7 - The team's most-underrated player. His thunderous strike brought the best out of Ralf Fahrmann in the Schalke goal early on before Bayern took command.

MF Kingsley Coman, 6 -- Despite many fancy tricks and surging runs, Coman failed to test the keeper until around the hour mark with a powerful shot. The France international always leaves the feeling there's more to come, but again showed very little end product.

MF James Rodriguez, 9 -- On his full Bundesliga debut, James didn't look too promising initially when he attempted a dangerous pass inside his own penalty area in the 12th minute. This was quickly forgotten as the Colombian "won" the VAR assist penalty blasting the ball into Naldo's hand from ultra-close range. He then doubled Bayern's lead with a slide rule finish into the corner of the net with his first attempt on goal. Crowned a superb display with a cute through-ball for Vidal's quality goal with 15 minutes remaining.

MF Thomas Muller, 7 -- Captain in Neuer's stead, Muller led the troops to the top of the table and headed his best chance against the post early in the second half following another superb James delivery.

FW Robert Lewandowski, 8 -- Broke the deadlock with a VAR-assisted penalty and has opened the scoring in Bayern's last five matches against Schalke. The Bundesliga's top scorer (six goals in five games) was given a breather after the hour mark with the tougher test in Paris next week in mind.


MF Thiago, 7 -- Replaced Lewandowski and immediately started pinging pinpoint passes around midfield.

MF Arturo Vidal, 8 -- The combative Chilean replaced Tolisso yet there was still time to score the final goal of the evening, latching onto a nice pass from James to volley home with a first-time finish.

DF Mats Hummels, N/R -- A late replacement for Martinez, which means the German will likely start against the likes of Neymar and Mbappe next week in Paris.