Bayern Munich have snatched a stoppage time win in Stuttgart, courtesy of a spectacular debut Bundesliga goal from midfielder Thiago Alcantara. His scissor kick party piece denied Stuttgart a shock point.
Stuttgart surprisingly led most of their match against visitors Bayern on Wednesday evening, taking the lead after half an hour and holding it for another 45 minutes. Yet with just seconds left on the clock, the score tied at 1-1, Thiago Alcantara delivered a sublime scissor kick to open his Bundesliga account with Bayern Munich.
Speaking on Sky after the game, Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider said he thought his side, inching ever closer to the relegation battle with six defeats in their last eight games, "deserved at least one point."
Wednesday's match in Stuttgart was the upshot of Bayern's December visit to Morocco to represent Europe and win the FIFA Club World Cup. The two teams played their delayed encounter midweek to bring them back into line with the rest of the German top flight at 18 games played. Three more points for the last-minute win puts Bayern 13 clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
Scrappy, strikerless first half
For the first time since joining Bayern, coach Pep Guardiola fielded an unchanged starting 11 for back-to-back competitive games, again leaving the disgruntled striker Mario Mandzukic on the bench. Also missing Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, Bayern fielded a team of technicians who dominated first-half possession without making very much of their time on the ball.
The earliest clear-cut chance fell to Stuttgart's teen winger Timo Werner eight minutes after the off, but he scooped the ball acres over Manuel Neuer's crossbar from a tight angle on the left.
Moments later, Stuttgart might have felt unlucky not to be awarded a penalty for possible handball, when another Werner shot cannoned into Rafinha's arm. After half an hour largely characterized by wayward long-range Bayern potshots, the rub of the refereeing green went the hosts' way instead. Replays revealed that Vedad Ibisevic's opening goal, a tidy low finish after a scrappy buildup, might have been disallowed for offside.
Thiago, in a sign of things to come, forced Sven Ulreich into a spectacular save to preserve Stuttgart's lead going into the dressing rooms at the break.
Mandzukic and Pizarro in, cross Kroos out
About an hour into the game, with Bayern still somewhat impotent in the final third of the pitch, Pep Guardiola brought on a pair of attackers in out-of-favor Mario Mandzukic and the Peruvian veteran Claudio Pizarro. One of the midfielders to make way, contract rebel Toni Kroos, made his displeasure at being subbed out quite clear - throwing his gloves to the ground and ignoring his teammates on the bench on his way off the pitch. Kroos is believed to be holding out for a better annual salary in talks to extend his current Bayern deal, amid reported interest from clubs such as Manchester United.
Bringing on a pair of strikers still did comparatively little to break down Stuttgart's dogged defense, and Bayern's equalizer ultimately fell from a set piece. Pizarro rose highest in the 76th minute to head home Thiago's floated delivery from the right flank, tying the score.
Thiago tested Ulreich again from close in shortly after the equalizer, moments before the Stuttgart keeper got down low to deny Thomas Müller with his left foot.
Only 45 seconds of stoppage time remained when Thiago decided the game in Bayern's favor, leaping to volley Rafinha's late cross into the bottom corner. It was a case of third time lucky for the Spanish midfielder, who left Ulreich no time to react or reach his final shot on target.