AAP Soccer

Coutinho hat-trick in Bayern league romp

By AAP Newswire

Philippe Coutinho has finally lived up to Bayern Munich's high hopes for the Brazil playmaker while New Zealand youngster Sarpreet Singh made his first-team debut off the bench.

Coutinho scored a hat-trick and set up two more goals to help Bayern end a two-game losing run in Germany's Bundesliga with a 6-1 rout of Werder Bremen on Saturday.

He was substituted for Singh in the 82nd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

"That was his game," Robert Lewandowski said of Coutinho.

Lewandowski scored twice while substitute Thomas Mueller nabbed the other as Bayern bounced back to form after successive 2-1 defeats to Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

Bremen's visit came just at the right time for the seven-time defending champions.

Bremen had lost their previous 20 competitive games against Bayern, 17 in the league and three in the German Cup.

Coutinho showed what Bayern had been expecting when they signed him on loan from Barcelona in the off-season.

"It was fun for everyone who was in the stadium," Bayern coach Hansi Flick said of the 27-year-old Coutinho.

"The team was delighted for him, that he produced such a performance on the pitch. Three goals scored, two made - that was simply class!"

However, Florian Kohfeldt's team gave Bayern a scare when Milot Rashica rifled home the opener in the 24th minute.

However, Serge Gnabry gave Coutinho a tap-in in the 45th before the scorer turned provider for Lewandowski as Bayern went to the break 2-1 up.

Coutinho scored again on 63 and 78 minutes while Lewandowski struck in the 72nd before Mueller's effort three minutes later.

"Today it was important to get the points to move back up the table," Coutinho said.

Bayern are fourth, six points adrift of leaders Leipzig who accounted for hosts Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-0.

Patrik Schick opened the scoring early, Timo Werner added a penalty and Nordi Mukiele completed the scoring as Leipzig made it six wins in a tow.

They are two points clear of Gladbach, who are away at Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Goals from Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz gave third-place Borussia Dortmund a 4-0 win at Mainz.

Meanwhile, Juergen Klinsmann claimed his first win in charge of Hertha Berlin thanks to Vladimir Darida's thumping strike for a 1-0 home victory over high-flying Freiburg.

"It was hugely important for the team," Klinsmann said.

"The heads will be a little lighter."

Cologne defeated nine-man Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 in the Rhine derby and Union Berlin drew 1-1 with Paderborn.