BERLIN — The new Bundesliga began in an empty stadium on Friday with eight-time defending champion Bayern Munich routing Schalke 8-0 for a record in the league’s opening match.
And it should have been more.
Germany winger Leroy Sané starred and scored on his Bayern debut and Jamal Musiala became Bayern’s youngest ever goalscorer at 17 years, 205 days, but otherwise it was business as usual as they totally dominated and the visitors tried limiting the damage.
Schalke’s winless run stretched to 17 games, while Bayern extended its winning run to 22.
Serge Gnabry scored a hat trick and Sané set up two of the goals. It was 3-0 by halftime and Bayern missed a host of chances.
“Everyone was so hungry. We were all looking forward to the new start and we just wanted to attack,” said Sané, a former Schalke player who joined Bayern from Manchester City in the off-season.
The game took place without fans despite plans for 7,500 spectators to attend. A spike in local coronavirus infections forced authorities to row back.
“It’s a really big blow. We were really looking forward to our fans,” Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidžic said before kickoff.
The team showed no ill effect from the supporters’ absence, nor the short break of 26 days after winning the Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain.
It was the biggest opening night win since 2016 when Bayern routed Werder Bremen 6-0.
Gnabry got the side off to a flying start in the fourth minute, taking Joshua Kimmich’s pass from midfield, switching direction to elude Schalke captain Benjamin Stambouli, then unleashing a fine strike with his left boot inside the left corner.
Robert Lewandowski almost made it 2-0 a minute later after being set up by Sané, but Sebastian Rudy managed to deflect the Poland striker’s shot with his outstretched leg.
Schalke managed to hold out until the 19th, when Leon Goretzka scored against his former side with Thomas Müller laying the ball back.
Sané brilliantly set up Lewandowski shortly afterward, but the Poland striker fired over.
Lewandowski finally got off the mark from the penalty spot in the 31st, after he’d been fouled by Ozan Kabak.
Niklas Süle -– a central defender -– struck the post and Bayern missed other chances before the break, too.
Sané set up Gnabry’s second goal in the 47th -– his first assist for the club -– and repeated the trick to help his Germany teammate complete his hat trick in the 59th.
Lewandowski set up Müller in the 69th by wrapping his right boot behind his left leg, a rabona move, two minutes before Kimmich set up Sané for his first goal.
Sané made way for Musiala to make his second Bundesliga appearance in the 72nd. The 17-year-old English midfielder grabbed his first goal in the 81st.
Bayern board member Oliver Kahn addressed club officials’ lack of social distancing during the game. TV images showed at least 10 Bayern officials including Kahn, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president Herbert Hainer and his predecessor Uli Hoeneß sitting together without wearing masks.
Kahn told broadcaster ZDF that the officials stuck to “Bavarian regulations, which also permit exactly that.”