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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 26 January, 2020

Hat-trick hero Coutinho gets champions back on track in 6-1 rout

Werder Bremen took the lead but were hit for six by Bayern Munich.

Bayern Munich playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
Bayern Munich playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

PHILIPPE COUTINHO TURNED in a dazzling display as Bayern Munich came from behind to beat Werder Bremen 6-1 in the Bundesliga.

On-loan Barcelona playmaker Coutinho scored a hat-trick and laid on another for Robert Lewandowski, who continued his prolific campaign with a brace.

Bayern headed into the match on the back of consecutive league losses to Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach and Bremen deservedly led at the Allianz Arena through a fabulous Milot Rashica strike.

But those struggles felt a lifetime ago by the time Coutinho set up substitute Thomas Muller for the fifth, while the former completed the rout with a brilliant finish from the edge of the area.

What does it mean? Bayern show their muscle to stay in touch

Hansi Flick’s men are back into the Bundesliga’s top four – at least until fifth-placed Schalke play on Sunday - and, despite their inconsistency, their array of attacking talent means it will still take a formidable effort from any of Gladbach, RB Leipzig or Borussia Dortmund to deny them the title.

If Bremen’s vibrant forward line make their position fourth from bottom appear confusing, abject defending after Gebre Selassie’s departure cleared up any mystery.

Resurgent Coutinho looks like the Liverpool star Barca were desperate to land

The dream move to Barcelona that Coutinho persistently lobbied for turned sour, but this was far more like it from the joint-fourth most expensive player of all time. Creativity, vision and a pair of contrastingly wonderful second-half finishes meant he deserved his treble.

Boateng feeling the strain

It seems peculiar to single out a defender on the right side of a 6-1 scoreline, but most things Bayern’s former Germany international did sat somewhere between laboured and awful. The relentless Rashica could and should have made him pay a heavier price.

What’s next?

Bayern travel to Freiburg on Wednesday, a day after Bremen entertain Mainz.

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