Lewandowski stars in Coutinho's Bundesliga debut for Bayern
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By CIAR�?N FAHEY
BERLIN (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored a hat trick and Philippe Coutinho made his Bundesliga debut as Bayern Munich eased to a 3-0 win at Schalke on Saturday.
Coutinho, who completed his loan move from Barcelona on Monday, came on for an unhappy looking Thomas Muller with more than half an hour remaining, but had to be content with a co-starring role as Lewandowski stole the limelight.
"I've only been here for three or four days. The game here is very intense," Coutinho said. "For sure I need to work hard, and I will do."
Lewandowski opened the scoring with a penalty in the 20th minute, doubled Bayern's lead with a brilliant free kick in the 50th, and claimed his fifth league goal in two games with a fine turn and finish in the 75th.
The Polish striker, who has now scored all of Bayern's league goals, also started the season with a goal in the 3-1 win over Energie Cottbus in the German Cup.
Schalke, playing its first Bundesliga game at home under new coach David Wagner, was left to rue two handball penalty decisions that seemed to go Bayern's way with minimal intervention from the VAR.
Lewandowski fired the first warning shot early on, dealt with easily by Alexander Nubel, who has been touted as a possible successor to Bayern counterpart Manuel Neuer. The 22-year-old Nubel has a year remaining on his Schalke contract and has shown little intention of extending it.
The Schalke keeper reacted smartly to save Lewandowski's next effort from close range in the 17th.
The breakthrough then came when Jonjoe Kenny brought down Kingsley Coman in the area and Lewandowski scored from the spot.
Schalke fans were incensed not to be awarded penalties in the second half when Weston McKennie was brought down, and when the ball struck Benjamin Pavard's arm.
Bayern coach Niko Kovac responded by bringing on Coutinho and Ivan Perisic for their debuts. Perisic was the next player to deflect the ball out with his arm. Again there was no intervention from the VAR.
Lewandowski then killed off the home side's hopes with his third goal.
Promoted Union Berlin claimed its first point with a 1-1 draw at Augsburg despite having Keven Schlotterbeck sent off late.
Sebastian Andersson had just scored the club's first goal in the league in the 80th.
Schlotterbeck earned a straight red card for a bad challenge on Florian Niederlechner, and ripped his jersey in frustration after becoming Union's first player to be sent off in the top flight.
Bayer Leverkusen's fine start to the season continued with a 3-1 Rhine derby win at Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Leverkusen, which opened its league campaign with a 3-2 victory over Paderborn last weekend, produced a spectacle of attacking football with three goals in the first half. Alfredo Morales' strike was too late for the home side.
Hoffenheim defeated 10-man Werder Bremen 3-2 to give new coach Alfred Schreuder his first Bundesliga win, and Borussia Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose enjoyed his first league victory thanks to quick-fire late goals from Breel Embolo and Alassane Plea in a 3-1 win at Mainz.
Freiburg won 3-1 at promoted Paderborn.
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Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP
Updated August 24, 2019