Bundesliga: Bayern Munich beat Wolfsburg to end poor run | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.10.2018
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Bundesliga: Bayern Munich beat Wolfsburg to end poor run

A brace from Robebrt Lewandowski and a nerve-settler from James Rodriguez secured Bayern's first win for a month. The champions weren't at their best but did more than enough despite being reduced to 10 men.

Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Bayern Munich
(Weghorst 63' - Lewandowski 30', 48', James 72' - Robben s/o 57)

It wasn't always pretty, but it's three points and some breathing space for Niko Kovac. After a four game winless run and a press conference that saw the club's top brass attack German media and ex-players, things are starting to look a little brighter.

The champions looked a touch more dynamic early on than they have of late, but struggled to create much against their compact hosts until Lewandowski latched on to a Mats Hummels through ball and slotted it through the legs of Koen Casteels.

The Polish striker's relief was apparent in his celebration, which he was performing again shortly after the break. If Bayern worked their opener well, the second was a gift. Niklas Süle's crossfield pass looked harmless until William left his back header woefully short, allowing Lewandowski to beat Casteels to the ball and tap home.

Arjen Robben saw red in the second half (Reuters/F. Bimmer )

Arjen Robben saw red in the second half

If a two goal lead normally means game over against the champions, their current vulnerability leaves a glimmer of hope for their opponents. Robben's second yellow for a brainless late tackle after a first half booking for diving gave the Wolves the scent of a point and when Wout Weghorst turned in substitute Admir Mehmedi's right wing cross, the fans at the Volkswagen Arena sounded as if they believed.

But in truth, Bayern were rarely troubled again, with Kovac's decision to send on Leon Goretzka for Serge Gnabry vital in shoring things up. But with such fragile confidence, a single goal lead doesn't feel enough. But when James took in Lewandowski's cute reverse pass and lashed home, two turned out to be plenty.

The win sends Bayern third, for 24 hours at least. It's not what they're used to, but it's getting closer.


As it happened

FULL TIME: There was a scare - and a sending off along the way but job done for Bayern. The match report will be here shortly.

90+2 - We're halfway through the four added minutes. This one is done.

90' - The ball pinballs around the box for a while and drops out of the sky to Weghorst. He hooks a volley on the turn but it's the wrong side of the post.

89' - A rare yellow card for Manuel Neuer late on, I think for time-wasting though it's not totally clear.

87' - Very scrappy in these final minutes. Bayern won't care.

83' - Wolfsburg have two enormous strikers on but they're not getting enough  in the box for it to make a difference. Sanches is on for James.

79' - That third goal has taken the edge off this one but Ginczek does go close with a back post header.

75' - Lewandowski makes a bit of a mug of Brooks again with a brilliant first touch. Casteels pushes this one away but the Bayern frontman scents a hat-trick.

73' - That is, in all likelihood, that. Lewandowski comes short on the edge of the box, holds off Brooks and slips a lovely little reverse ball to James. The Colombian shapes to curl it in the far corner but lashes it in the front post instead. Excellent goal.

72' - GOAL! Bayern Munich 3 - 1 Wolfsburg (James)

71' - Labbadia throws on his final sub. It's Malli for Rexhbecaj.

69' - Mehmedi is getting plenty of space down the right but this time his cross is poor. The hosts getting in good positions but wasting them at the minute.

65' - Perhaps more than half a chance now. Labaddia's substitution pays instant dividends as Mehmedi glides down the right before crossing low to the big Dutchman who almost misses from six yards but finds the roof of the net. Nice move that and this could be an uncomfortable last half hour for Niko Kovac, who replaces Gnabry with Goretzka.

63' GOAL! Wolfsburg 1 - 2 Bayern Munich (Weghorst)

60' - Double substitiution from Wolfsburg, who have half a chance now. Ginczek and Mehmedi for Steffen and Brekalo.

58' - The Dutchman should have few complaints about this but innevitably does. The winger stupidly clips Rexhbecaj in a position of little danger and gets a second yellow after his first half booking for diving.

57' - RED CARD: Arjen Robben

53' - Well, well. Weghorst gets the wrong side of Rafinha and the Brazilian brings him down. The referee points to the spot but then sees the linesman's flag is raised for offside. It was fractional, but he was off. Big let off for Bayern and Rafinha though, that was very poor defending.

52' - Gnabry looks to have got clear in the inside left channel but Brooks does well to get back and force it out for a corner, which comes to nothing.

48' - Oh William. A shocker from the full back. Süle's crossfield pass posed no danger but Wiilliam's header back to his keeper was woefully short and Lewandowksi got there first and tapped in.

48' - GOAL! Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Wolfsburg (Lewandowski)

47' - Bayern made a change at the break that I missed. Rafinha is on for Alaba, which presumably means the Austrian has an injury of some sort. This is Rafinha's first game for more than a month.

46' - We're back, shortly after the camera picked up Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the stands. The latter looked relaxed and happy but Herr Hoeness looked as furious as he did in that press conference.

HALF TIME: Robben overhits a through ball to Lewandoski and that is it for the opening period. Wolfsburg's keeper Koen Casteels has probably been the best player on the pitch as Bayern have played with more purpose than they often have of late. But they're not out of the woods yet. Worth noting that Dortmund are 3-0 up agianst Stuttgart - Sancho, Reus and Alcacer the scorers for BVB.

44' - Robben booked for a pretty pathetic dive in the box. 

43' - Getting a bit scrappy now, you get the impression neither side is too disappointed with the scoreline as it stands.

40' - Gnabry lets fly from distance and it goes out for a corner. Wolfsburg clear that behind and Kimmich's second delivery is really poor and easily booted away.

37' - Wolfsburg get a corner but Brekalo's delivery is nodded clear.That's the first time they've been in Bayern's half for a while

35' - Arnold in the book now, after Lewandowski took a tumble on the edge of the box as Bayern were preparing a corner.

32' - Almost two! James dips in from the right after Robben picked up a loose clearance but Casteels again does well to push away the Colombian's drive. Moments later, Thiago goes in the book.

30' - There it is. And you can feel the relief. Hummels played a straight ball forward, Gnabry showed great awareness to dummy it and the Polish frontman slotted it cooly between Casteels' legs. 

30' - GOAL Bayern 1 - 0 Wolfsburg (Lewandowski) 

29' - Hmmm. We've just seen a slow-mo replay of a corner and Arnold is absoutely all over Lewandowski at the back post, clearly pulling his shirt for several seconds. Playing a dangerous game.

25' - The champions ramping up the pressure and Casteels does very well to keep it level. First he parried Robben's low drive, then when the rebound looped back off Lewandowski, the Belgian was up quickly to claw it out.

22' - Bayern's best moment. Robben and Lewandowski combine nicely to play Kimmich in. The right back steps inside and hits with his left, but he's a little off-balance and Casteels gets down to push it away. 

18' - Arnold drives in from the left and just keeps going through three or four 'tackles'. Finally Süle gets close and Arnold goes to ground, adamant it should be a free kick. The ref sees nothing wrong but replays show Süle dgot none of the ball. Bit of a let off there.

15' - Wolfsburg come forward for the first time in the match. First it's a cross from the left which Steffen can't reach, then one from the other side just evades Weghorst. After that the big Dutch striker is denied a free header from a dead ball by the lightest of flicks from Hummels.

12' - James strikes, it's on target but the right side for Casteels, who makes a relatively routine stop.

11' - The men in red are aboslutely dominating the ball with Wolfsburg already compact and deep. Now Lewandowski tries to turn and is taken down just outside the box. Free kick in a dangerous position.

8' - Gnabry has been involved a lot early on and now he drives a low cross in from the left. Wolfsburg don't look too certain but eventually hack it clear.

4' - Casteels is off his line quickly to snuff out another run from Gnabry. The ball is then recycled and Lewandowski sends  a header in to the keeper's arms.

3' - Bayern having most of the ball early on as Gnabry tries to wriggle in to the box but is denied.

1' - And we're off!

15: 26 - The stands filling up now in sunny Wolfsburg, you get the feeling the opening exchanges could be key for Bayern and their confidence.

15:20 - It was against Wolfsburg that Robert Lewandowski famously scored five goals in nine minutes back in 2015. But the Polish striker would probably take one today, he hasn’t scored in over 200 minutes, a drought for a man of his high standards.

15:15 - For most of the international break all the talk was of Niko Kovac's job security but the outbursts from his bosses at a staggering press conference yesterday drew the spotlight away from the Croatian. If you missed that, you really need to read
this.

Frankfurt's 7-1 win last night has pushed Bayern down to 7th and Kovac has made some big calls in his team selection. Thomas Müller, Franck Ribery and Jerome Boateng are all benched, with Javi Martinez back to add some knowhow to the base of midfield and and Serge Gnabry and James Rodriguez both handed relatively rare starts.

Wolfsburg are on an even worse run than Bayern, having failed to pick up three points since matchday 2. But the hosts do have a few players that could pose a nervous Bayern side problems, towering Dutch targetman Wout Weghorst and Maxi Arnold chief among them.

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