The question was whether or not Bayern Munich could find an answer to Dortmund's five-goal game against Hannover. A day later at home in Munich, Niko Kovac's men delivered an emphatic response.
Bayern Munich 4-1 Stuttgart
(Thiago 5', Gentner o.g. 55', Goretzka 71', Lewandowski 85' - Donis 27')
Whatever Dortmund do, the question is whether Bayern can match it. After BVB scored five against Hannover, Bayern answered with four goals of their own as the Bundesliga title race stays alive.
In truth, Stuttgart weren't as far away from a point as the scoreline suggests. Having conceded inside the opening five minutes, it looked like it would be a long afternoon for the visitors but Anastasios Donis curled in a beauty and suddenly Bayern were unsettled.
Just after the break though, and somewhat inspired by the arrival of Serge Gnabry, Bayern got the goal that returned them to calmer waters. Gnabry's strike was guided home by Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner and it looked all over.
Even then, Stuttgart had the chance to level the scores but Nicolas Gonzalez, unmarked in the box, fired straight at Manuel Neuer and then hit his rebound against the post. A minute later, Bayern had a penalty and the contest was slipping away from the visitors. But Robert Lewandowski struck his spot kick against the post, and Stuttgart were alive again.
Not for long though. Leon Goretzka headed in a third and then Bayern's number nine got his goal with time running out. Alphonso Davies made his debut late on, but the day was about Bayern weathering a mini storm to steady their ship.
Bayern lifted their game right when they needed to, and that was the reason they eventually ran away with it
As it happened:
90' James gets a free kick, 30 yards out, central position. Just wide. Inches.
88' Alphonso Davies makes his debut for Bayyern Munich. Not a bad time to do it. Will he have time to get involved?
85' GOAL! 4-1 Bayern (Lewandowski) There's always time for more. A beautiful pass puts Lewandowski through, he goes around Zieler and despite the angle closing quickly he tucks it high into the empty net. Four now. Tough on Stuttgart, but such is life for the opposition in Munich.
80' Bayern coasting now, and they look more like the side that threatened to run away with it in the first 10 minutes. Alaba tests Zieler from range, and Gnabry nearly takes advantage of a mix up at the back but no change to scoreline.
71' GOAL! 3-1 Bayern (Goretzka) I've given up trying to predict this one. Stuttgart look to have weathered the storm, but then Leon Goretzka pops up at a corner to head home after Zieler flapped. Game over, I think.
65' LEWANDOWSKI MISSES! What a moment in the game. Having missed a chance, Stuttgart give away a penalty when Kempf steps on Lewandowski's foot. Surely this is game over, but the Pole's shot cannons off the post and goes wide. Drama!
65' PENALTY TO BAYERN!
64' CHANCE! Just as I write it, Stuttgart get an enormous chance to be level! Gonzalez is found in the box and has time to place it into the far corner, but it's saved, the rebound hitd the post and bounces clear. What a chance...
62' Have Stuttgart got another goal in them? I'm not so sure. They've deserved something from today, though. Whether they, like many sides that come to Munich, will get it is another thing.
55' GOAL! 2-1 Bayern (Gentner o.g.) A scrappy goal for what has become a scrappy game. Zieler makes two robust challenges and while everyone thinks the second might result in a penalty, the ball pops out to Gnabry. He brings it down, smashes it goalwards and Christian Gentner tries to deflect it clear but guides into the top corner of his own net. Gnabry might get it, but I think it's Gentner's. Either way, Bayern lead again.
53' Never let it be said that Bayern fans don't make their voice heard...
51' Forgot to mention that Gnabry came on for Martinez at the break. Kovac going for it a bit? He should, all things considered. Bayern hovering around the edge of Stuttgart's box...
46' The second half has started. James is warming up. Perhaps he'll get a run out? Rumor has it he was late for the final training session...
HALFTIME Bayern looked like they were going to run away with it after the first 10 minutes, but Stuttgart scored a screamer and have looked good for a point. Big 45 to come. Is this the reason Bayern won't win the league?
45' CHANCE! Coman drops the shoulder in the box, gets space and opens up his body. It's perfect! But it's also an illusion, because the ball is spinning in the side netting behind the goal not in the goal itself. It looked in. Stuttgart will be happy with that.
43' A remarkable trend happening at Bayern. What would you do differently? Perhaps Gnabry for Müller, but it's hard to say. The team out there is certainly good enough.
40' Suddenly the game is a bit sloppy. Bayern can't make the most of their possession and Stuttgart can't get control of it when they do get the ball.
34' CHANCE! Donis is up for it. A cross from Zuber lands in between Hummels and Kimmich and Donis sidefoots it first time, but Neuer is well positioned. What a turnaround from the visitors. Hats off.
32' Well, well. What an intriguing game we have here. Bayern seem to have digested that equalizer now. Thiago gets a shot in after a corner is cleared into his path but Zieler just about deals with it. Stuttgart break, but Zuber isn't sure what to do and Bayern catch up and the chance is gone. If only Dodi Lukebakio played for the visitors...
26' GOAL! 1-1 Stuttgart (Donis) Don't shoot from there are the words I just said out loud as Anastasios Donis got the ball well outside the edge of the box with Bayern defenders closing in. It's a good thing he didn't listen to me though, because Donis curled it into the top corner. A beauty. Stuttgart are level!
24' CHANCE! Oh Stuttgart! Esswein does really well to get space to cross on the right, and it falls to Gonzalez after a bit of a scramble but he doesn't hit it right and it goes wide. Got to do better there. Bayern already getting a little lazy with this lead?
20' So far, so good for Stuttgart. No, really. Look at this stat.
17' Some gorgeous play from Bayern there. Martinez threads the needle on the right side of the box, it's flicked back inside, the on-coming runner and then Goretzka gets a shot away after the ball is touched across into his path. The shot is blocked and the play will be forgotten, likely, but what a passage of play.
13' Bayern have calmed things down a bit, perhaps feeling sorry for their opponents. Esswein got a shot away, but it was blocked and the corner came to nothing. Also worth noting is Bayern's powerful pre-game choreo (see the tweet below).
10' David Alaba somehow escapes a yellow card after he looks at his man before shouldering him to the floor with the ball long gone. Rules anyone? No? Ok. As you were.
8' Well, the bad news for Stuttgart is that Bayern are already running riot here. Kimmich flashes a low drive just past the far post. Dortmund managed five yesterday. Bayern look like they're ready to at least match that today.
5' GOAL! 1-0 Bayern (Thiago) I was just about write that Bayern are slowly growing into the game, but that Stuttgart looked well positioned. Ah well. This is a beautiful goal. Kimmich drops a ball into the box to set up Coman, but he is forced wide and loses it, Müller gets the cross back in though, where Lewandowski stabs it back to Thiago. He sidefoots a shot perfectly in the bottom corner with Stuttgart's defense all left looking rather hopeless. Worth watching again.
1' Off we go!
- There's lots of speculation about whether or not Bayern are about to sign Callum Hudson-Odoi. If social media is to be believed. That's a slippery slope...
- TEAMS! Bayern Munich keep Leon Goretzka in the 10 after his sterling performance in the 2019 opener, and otherwise the team looks the same. Never change a winning team and all that. Stuttgart, on the other hand, don't know what a winning team is and so Markus Weinzierl changes again, handing a debut to new central defender Ozan Kabak. Talk about throwing someone in at the deep end. More interestingly, Mario Gomez is on the bench. So Stuttgart will be playing on the break then.
Bayern Munich XI: Neuer - Alaba, Hummels, Süle, Kimmich - Thiago, Martinez - Coman, Goretzka, Müller - Lewandowski
Stuttgart XI: Zieler - Insua, Kempf, Kabak, Beck - Gentner, Ascacibar - Zuber, Gonzalez, Esswein - Donis
- Good afternoon! All eyes are on Bayern Munich, as usual. Except this time, the question is more about who they are this season?They seem to have rediscovered their form, and the expectation is that they'll win handsomely against a poor Stuttgart side today, but will they?