After Borussia Dortmund slipped up on Friday night, Bayern Munich took advantage with a superb performance against Gladbach. With 10 games to go, the Bundesliga is enjoying a serious title race.
Gladbach 1-5 Bayern Munich
(Stindl 37' - Martinez 2', Müller 11', Lewandowski 47', 90+1' pen., Gnabry 75')
Gladbach are usually the side that troubles Bayern Munich, but Niko Kovac's side smashed through the door that Dortmund left them open on Friday night to draw level on points at the top of the table with 10 games to go.
Bayern Munich started both halves furiously, scoring two goals in the opening 11 minutes. Javi Martinez continued his fine form, heading home from a corner despite protests from the home side that the Spaniard shoved Nico Elvedi out of the way to score. Then the impressive Thomas Müller poked home a rebound on an afternoon when Yann Sommer denied Bayern on multiple occasions.
Lars Stindl scored a brilliant strike before the break, but it was a brief moment of hope for the hosts as Robert Lewandowski finally got on the scoresheet just two minutes after the break. Gladbach did their best to stay in it, thanks to Sommer, but rarely troubled Manuel Neuer. Serge Gnabry tucked in a rebound after Sommer kept out a Lewandowski header, before the Pole added some gloss to the scoreline converting a late penalty.
The result leaves Bayern with 54 points, the same as Dortmund, and they are just two goals behind Lucien Favre's side with 10 games to go in the season. The momentum in the Bundesliga title race appears to have swung from the Ruhr area to Bavaria.
As it happened:
90+1' GOAL! 5-1 Bayern (Lewandowski) The Pole stutters and sends Sommer the wrong way.
90+1' PENALTY TO BAYERN! With time running out, Bayern get a penalty after Kimmich gets a hug off Hazard in the box.
86' A moment of history here. Müller comes off, after a superb display (worth noting), and 19-year-old winger Jeong Woo-yeong comes on to make his Bundesliga debut. He made his Champions League debut earlier this season, and it has been quite a year for a man who is highly thought of in Bayern circles.
82' This one is over. Sanches and Davies come on for James and Gnabry as Bayern wind down. It's going to be a huge game in Munich at the start of April when Dortmund travel south. Goodness me.
75' GOAL! 4-1 Bayern (Gnabry) Well, that block looks less important now. Gladbach spread apart, Müller splits the lines, Kimmich delivers yet another superb cross for an unmarked Lewandowski. Somehow Sommer saves the header, but the ball bobbles around and although Lewandowski can't get to it, Gnabry can't and that is that.
73' CHANCE! Gorgeous from Bayern. Müller threads it through a ball-watching group of Gladbach players to Lewandowski, who looks set to apply the finishing touch but hesitates just a touch and Zakaria slides in to make a huge block.
72' Hecking rolls the dice. Hofmann comes off, Raffael is on. Huge roar. The home side's magician is back. Can he wave his wand here, in the final 20 minutes?
68' CHANCE! That's why Gladbach are still in it. Kramer pounces on Thiago's loose touch and Gladbach are away on the break. Hazard streams down the left, tucks it across and eventually it's Zakaria, who just came on Neuhaus, who gets to it but his low drive goes just past the far post. That was pretty, but the end result wasn't what Hecking needs.
62' Thiago is shining in this one. His footwork sets up Lewandowski, but his shot is blocked. Sommer then has to slide to clear a cross. All a bit hectic. But the same is true when looking at Bayern's defense. Hazard bursts past Boateng, who can't be tactical as he's already on a yellow. The attack is cleared, but both sides are stretched.
58' Odd to say given that Bayern scored almost instantly after the restart, but Gladbach still feel in this. A goal before 75 and there's plenty of reason to believe Bayern might wobble in the final 15. Got to get that goal first though. The home side are enjoying a bit more of the ball now, with Bayern super deep. Now then, can they do something with it?
52' CHANCE! Boateng gets booked for handball, which seems a bit harsh as the ball hit his arms when they were on his chest and he was turning away. Not sure what else he's supposed to do there? Anyway, leaves Gladbach with a central free kick chance just outside the box. Wendt and Hazard over it. Wendt goes for the piledriver. Inches wide. What a game!
47' GOAL! 3-1 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski) Copy and paste. Bayern swarm forward after Süle heads a Sommer kick right back at the Gladbach keeper. Thiago streams forward, and slips Lewandowski in. This time, the Pole makes no mistake and shows great technique to get the ball out from under his feet. Wow.
46' Gladbach gets us underway and Hazard plays Bayern in with a pass to nowhere. Suddenly, just like at the start of the first half, Bayern are streaming forward. James should put it on target, but fires wide. Bayern out fast again!
And breathe. Bayern flew out of the blocks, deserved their lead and would have had more were it not for Yann Sommer's heroics. Gladbach stuttered and spluttered a bit, but are still in it thanks to Lars Stindl's superb strike. A frantic game that shows no signs of letting up. The second half should be brilliant!
45+1' The frantic pace of this one has continued, but it looks like the first half will pass without further drama. What a half it has been too!
40' CHANCE! This is one of the most end-to-end games of the season! With the home crowd back in it, Gladbach try to settle. But it's Bayern. Boateng plays a stunning 40 yard pass to Müller, who plays in Lewandowski. The chance ends with a great clearing header from Ginter and then, from the resulting corner, another good save by Sommer. All happening here in Borussia Park, appropriate on Karneval weekend really.
37' GOAL! Gladbach (Stindl) Niko Kovac takes off his scarf. He's not as comfortable as he was. Hazard plays a defense-splitting pass through Süle's legs, and although Stindl still has work to do he holds off Boateng and fires it past Neuer, high and inside the near post. What an effort! Game on.
33' SAVE! Surely this is number three? Gnabry sprints clear of Gladbach's defense, opens up his body and curls it... but Sommer makes a brilliant reflex save to deny him. Down the other end, just moments later, Stindl fires over in the box. Still can't get over that save.
31' Again Bayern come forward because Gladbach can't play the ball out of the back. Gnabry's whipped effort is easy for Sommer though. There have been a few passages of play where Gladbach look like they're coming into the game, but then it's a flurry of red shirts flying forward again. Müller is having a stormer.
26' Another roam forward for Bayern, another Lewandowski chance. Müller mishits a pass into Lewandowski, and he times it well but hits it over. The Pole is 0/3 so far in this game. Don't see that very often.
23' Maybe not. Lewandowski bursts through and tries to angle an effort past Sommer, but the Swiss is having none of it. What a season he has had? Perhaps not enough said about that.
21' Gladbach have the ball in the net, but the flag is up. Elvedi heads it down in the box from a corner, and Plea acrobatically turns it in, but made his move too late and was offside. Bayern try to pass it out of the back, can't and suddenly look a little nervous. Momentum changing all of a sudden, perhaps?
18' Ginter demanding for more movement from the two lines in front of him, doesn't get it but tries to force it anyway and Bayern end up with the ball. The visitors have knocked it down a gear or two, understandably.
14' CHANCE! Gladbach are alive. Michael Lang gets a chance at goal, but drags it wide of the far post. He's offside, and it's flagged, but you'd want to at least test Neuer there. Offside or not, a welcome change for the hosts after what has been a blistering opening quarter of an hour.
11' GOAL! 2-0 Bayern (Müller) Gnabry gets a cross in behind a ball-watching Gladbach defense, Müller stabs goalwards. Sommer saves the first, but not the rebound and that might be the most unsurprising goal I've seen in a while. Bayern rampant, Gladbach just watching on, wide-eyed.
8' Gladbach just happy to clear it however they can at the moment. A few brief roams forward, are nothing more than that. Hofmann gets booked for trying to pull Kimmich's arm off as he goes round him into the box. Fortunately for the hosts, James' delivery is poor. Wonder what Bayern had for lunch? They are flying!
4' Bayern are hunting a second, already. Like sharks coming off an unplanned fast, they are swarming around Gladbach. Dieter Hecking's side are struggle to get control.
2' GOAL! 1-0 Bayern (Martinez) The corner comes in, and Martinez gets there ahead of Elvedi, who seems to slip/be pushed a bit and the Spaniard's diving header ends in the back of the net. A brief VAR check later, and it's confirmed. Bayern are ahead. It's as if someone told them what was on the line. Blimey.
1' CHANCE! What a start that might have been. Just 27 seconds in. Müller steals in after Gladbach suffer a brain fart. The winger plays a beautiful ball into Lewandowski, but Sommer makes a great save. Bayern right out of the blocks.
1' Bayern get us underway in light rain!
18:27 The teams are out. There's a man on the pitch, I think the stadium announcer, in a polka dot suit. It must be Karneval weekend?
18:14 Want a flashback? There are many possibilities, but worth noting this fixture is a historical one.
18:10 For Bayern, their life recently has been about a resurgence of Javi Martinez. The Spaniard has looked his formidable best of late, breaking up the play, adding stability to the back four and restoring calm to a team that has been in need of it this season. Vintage Martinez, if you like. The 30-year-old looks as good as he did in 2013. Whether that can be the difference against Gladbach? I fancy Gnabry to play greater role, but it'll soon be time to find out.
17:54 Things aren't great for Gladbach right now though. While this has been a super season - they have 43 points and are in 4th - but they haven't won in the last three Bundesliga games. They played well for 30 minutes against Hertha, and then lost it 3-0. They drew with Frankfurt thanks to a late equalizer, but then lost 3-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Their chance conversion rate in those last three games is a very worrying three percent.
17:43 TEAMS! The hosts bring Michael Lang, Jonas Hofmann and Alassane Plea back into the team (leaving perhaps their strongest XI now). Bayern perhaps with weak points at left back (Rafinha) and perhaps Müller on the right. There's certainly enough quality there (when isn't there?) but can they convert it into a potentially title-changing performance?
Gladbach XI: Sommer - Wendt, Elvedi, Ginter, Lang - Kramer, Neuhaus - Hazard, Stindl, Hofmann - Plea
Bayern XI: Neuer - Rafinha, Süle, Boateng, Kimmich - Martinez, Thiago - Gnabry, James, Müller - Lewandowski
17:30 After Borussia Dortmund's defeat to Augsburg last night, the door has once again opened for Bayern Munich. A win today will see Niko Kovac's side draw level on points with Dortmund, but likely still a few goals back. In their way though, stand Gladbach - a team that has regularly and recently tasted victory against the record-champions. The game earlier in the season in Munich ended 3-0 to Gladbach. An omen, and perhaps a prayer for Dortmund?