Bayern Munich's development under Carlo Ancelotti is a constant source of intrigue. Against Gladbach, the decision to play genuine wide men paid dividends.
In the end, Gladbach proved less bogey team and more perfect team for Bayern Munich to face on Saturday. Bayern's "crisis" came to a swift end against a team tired who seemed helpless to revert to their bad habits away from home. With Gladbach content to try their luck on the break, Bayern were able to control the game to their heart's content.
Under Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern are doing a lot of things differently than under Pep Guardiola. Most notably, they are a more reactive than active side. Against Gladbach though, Bayern slid into top gear and played the kind of dominant football that harked back to an era even before the opening day destruction of Werder Bremen. Ancelotti said before the game Bayern's 4-3-3 formation wasn't going to change, but the way they play certainly did. Bayern's width and early ending of the competitive game was a welcome and familiar return to Bayern football.
Pushing Gladbach hard from the start meant the goal was an inevitability when it came, and this time more because Bayern deserved it than because Bayern always score. Douglas Costa dazzled with his feet, but more notably with his delivery. The Brazilian was at his best, showcasing how effective a drop of the shoulder and a low, fizzing cross can be. On the other flank, Arjen Robben was just as lively and should have had a goal.
The Champions League demands a different approach, but the return of Robben, Costa and co poses an interesting conundrum for Bayern - at least in the Bundesliga. With real wingers (and not space invaders) out wide, Bayern truly stretched their opponents and took the opposition out of the game both with the ball at or passes from their feet.
Without Thomas Müller - who was on the bench for 73 minutes of the game - though there was often no one on the end of those crosses. Müller's dip in league form hasn't helped, but this performance suggests that perhaps in the Bundesliga, Müller is a luxury Bayern can afford to leave at home.
Before the game, Ancelotti said that balance was the most important word in football. Against Gladbach, Bayern found that balance, but whether that stays and with what ingredients remains the most intriguing thing about Bayern at the moment.