Bundesliga: Sven Ulreich saves penalty as Thomas Müller seals win in Stuttgart | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.12.2017
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Bundesliga: Sven Ulreich saves penalty as Thomas Müller seals win in Stuttgart

A brilliant finish from substitute Thomas Müller and an injury time penalty save from Sven Ulreich helped Bayern Munich to exactly the type of win that has put them top. They lead the Bundesliga by 11 points.

Stuttgart 0 - 1 Bayern Munich
(Müller 79')

They seem to always find a way. Bayern Munich were rarely entirely convincing against a Stuttgart side now without a goal in four matches, but a goal from substitute Thomas Müller and a Sven Ulreich penalty save at the death means they stay clear of the chasing pack as the Bundesliga heads towards its winter break.

Stuttgart, who featured Bayern old boy Holger Badstuber at the heart of their defense, were resolute in the opening period, creating a couple of decent early opportunites. 

But, despite a lack of genuine creativity, the champions had the better of the early chances, Corentin Tolisso in particular should have scored when send through one-on-one shortly before the break.

As the second half dragged on, Stuttgart got deeper and deeper but Bayern labored, struggling to unpick the knot of white shirts. As it has so many times, that all changed. This time it was Thomas Müller, on as a substitute, who made the breakthrough.

The German international killed a firm pass from Kingsley Coman dead with his right foot before driving low past the impressive Ron-Robert Zieler in the Stuttgart goal with his left.

It felt like a killer blow for the hosts, but after a series of corners and a VAR intervention after Niklas Süle's tackle in the box, Stuttgart had a golden chance to take the point they'd worked so hard for. But, unlike Müller, Chadrac Akolo couldn't take the chance, striking a tame low penalty which Ulreich pushed away.

As it happened

90+4 -- Ulreich saves! Akolo went low and to the keeper's left and he kept it out. And that's it.

90+3 -- They have it. The VAR has awarded the spot kick.

90+3 -- More drama. Stuttgart want a penalty. Süle went to clear a cross, only got studs to it and caught his opponent in the knee.

90+2 -- Stuttgart are over-committed and Vidal lifts a simple ball to James, who has the freedom of the Stuttgart half. He opts to dink over Zieler who gets a hand to it. Then Stuttgart clear before Lewandowski can tap in.

90+1 -- Stuttgart really giving it a crack here. Akolo cuts in from the left and Boateng gets a nick on it to take it away from goal. That was going close.

89' -- Then the visitors break and are four on two but Müller's touch lets him down. Bayern should have killed it there.

88' -- Close! Stuttgart force a corner. It's cleared to Asano whose shot is deflected over. From the next one Badstuber heads towards goal but Ulreich pushes it over. Bayern clear the third.

86' -- There's a mist settling across the pitch, presumably from some pyrotechnics in the stands. But it doesn't look like Stuttgart have enough left to provide any fireworks of their own. 

84' -- Final change for Bayern, with Alaba on for Coman. Heynckes obviously happy with what he has. 

81' -- Double substitution for Stuttgart. Asano and Brekalo for Beck and Aogo.

79' -- GOAL! There it is. Textbook Bayern. Coman has it on the left, drives one in to Müller who kills it with his right then fires home with the left. Excellent finish.

75' -- Akolo leads a rare Stuttgart foray forward but it's all a bit slow and Bayern deal with it easily.

71' -- Now Cologne are leading Wolfsburg. Could this finally be the day?

70' -- It may not be the best news for Bayern in this match. Not yet, anyway. But 2nd placed Schalke are in even bigger bother.

68' -- Bayern's second change sees Süle replace Hummels, who winced slightly as he left the field.

67' -- Another good stop from Zieler as Boateng has a pop from distance. Pavard is back on the field.

65' -- Pavard is in a bad way after that corner, with blood streaming from his nose. It looks like he was caught by the elbow of a teammate.

64' -- Another Bayern corner sees Stuttgart nick the ball away from Lewandowski at the back post following a flick on. Then the visitors make their first chance, Müller on for Tolisso.

61' -- Boateng lifts a lovely ball to Lewandowski in the box but he's crowded out. It finds its way to James and his shot is blocked. Stuttgart defending well but coming under increasing pressure now. Can they hold on?

59' -- Now the visitors find some penetration. Tolisso feeds Coman in the box, he does his best Arjen Robben impression and cuts in from the left but is foiled by another strong stop from Zieler.

57' -- Bayern really struggling to get through the men in white at the minute. With Müller, Ribery and Rudy on the bench, they have plenty of options should Heynckes wish to change it up. 

53' -- Bayern have a free kick just outside the Stuttgart box. It favors a left-footer so Lewandoski leaves it to James, who puts it in to the stands.

51' -- That late attacking flurry from Bayern at the end in the first half hasn't emerged in the second. It's all in midfield so far. Meanwhile, Nils Petersen is at it again.

47' -- Early substitution for Stuttgart, Terodde comes off clutching his ribs and is replaced by Kaminski.

46' -- We're back underway in the second half.

HALF TIME: That's the break. Fairly uninspiring fare but Stuttgart will be happy with the way they've defended. The hosts had a couple of decent opportunities early on but Bayern have had the better of the chances, Tolisso, in particular, should probably have put them in front. It's got 2-0 Bayern written all over it.

45+1 -- Another Stuttgart corner in the one added minute but Hummels is there again.

42' -- Stuttgart's turn for a corner now but Hummels nods away. 

40' -- Badstuber shanks out a clearance for a corner under little pressure. It's initially cleared but Bayern recycle the ball. Eventually Kimmich crosses and the ball is headed towards goal by Hummels after James' shot was blocked, but it has nowhere near enough on it to beat Zieler. 

36' -- Tolisso really should score here. Stuttgart gave the ball away in midfield and the Frenchman was sent through but he failed to properly get it out of his feet and didn't get enough power to beat Zieler, who stuck out his right boot to save.

32' -- Ulreich breifly spills a cross but just about recovers. Stuttgart seems to be pressing much higher now and it's causing a few mistakes from the champions.

26' -- Hummels heads over from a Bayern free kick. That one was never troubling Zieler. Elsewhere, Freiburg have equalized in Augsburg, Christian Günter making it one apiece there.

23' -- Still no goals here but Bremen's resurgence is continuing...

21' -- Lewandowski gets it in the box, cuts back, opens up his body but Zieler makes a smart save to his left. You'd have put money on him to slot that home, it's the chance of the match so far.

19' -- Hummels undercooks a back pass but Ulreich just nips in before his opponent. Fair to say the excitement levels aren't high in this one yet.

17' -- Rafinha swings in a cross from the left which looks a little desperate and floats in to the keeper's arms.

13' -- Stuttgart sitting pretty deep and allowing Bayern to get in to the final third before really pressing them. It's been largely successful so far but doesn't seem a sustainable defensive tactic.

10' -- Boateng is up and seems to be fine.

8' -- Boateng is getting treatment on the pitch, so time to tell you about some early goals elsewhere in the Bundesliga. Alfred Finnbogason put Augsburg ahead against Freiburg, Luka Jovic has given Frankfurt the lead over Stuttgart and Bremen lead Mainz thanks to Philipp Bargfrede.

7' -- Some lovely build up play from Beck and Torode gets Akolo in space. He strike low to Ulreich's left but the Bayern keeper gets down to push it round the post.

4' -- Akolo finds a decent amount of space on the edge of the Bayern area. He sets himself and strikes it fairly cleanly but can't keep the ball down.

1' -- Badstuber gets in a bit of a mess early on and Bayern work the ball from the right wing in to Lewandowski, who turns and fires a snapshot in to the side netting.

1' -- And we're off!

-- The players are emerging from the changing rooms and we're just about to get going.

-- Despite a patchy start to the season that saw them dismiss Carlo Ancelotti and welcome back Jupp Heynckes, Bayern Munich are already assured of being the Herbstmeister (champions of the first half of the season), a 'title' that leads to the Bundesliga crown in almost two thirds of cases. 

A win today would ensure that the gap to second placed Schalke remains at least nine points, and the Bavarians could barely have picked better opponents. Since beating Dortmund in mid November, newly-promoted Stuttgart have picked up just one point from four games, losing their last three without scoring.

Nevertheless, Heynckes has named something close to his strongest available side, despite the upcoming midweek clash with Dortmund in the German Cup. Here's how both sides line up.

 

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