German Cup: Late Thomas Müller strike rescues Bayern Munich in Bochum | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.10.2019
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German Cup: Late Thomas Müller strike rescues Bayern Munich in Bochum

Bochum were six minutes away from pulling off the mother of all upsets, but Bayern Munich had other ideas. Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller struck late as Niko Kovac's side stayed in the cup by the skin of their teeth.

VfL Bochum 1-2 Bayern Munich, Ruhrstadion
(Davies og 37' — Gnabry 84', Müller 89')

They came so close, but Bochum couldn't quite get it over the line. What would have been an upset of historic proportions slipped from their grasp in the final six minutes, during which a 1-0 lead was flipped into a 2-1 defeat, not helped by a late red card to defender Armel Bella-Kotchap .

The 2. Bundesliga side, whose Ruhrstadion is sandwiched between the more familiar football locations of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen, will draw huge confidence from an accomplished defensive display, the kind of which have been a short supply during a domestic campaign that has already seen them ship 24 goals in 11 league games, a joint-high total in Germany's second tier.

For Bayern, it was ultimately a win. But not one that will curry favor for Niko Kovac, who despite guiding Bayern to a domestic double in his first season in charge, is not inspiring Bayern to runaway victories in these kinds of fixtures. The elation that followed their 7-2 victory over Tottenham in the Champions League has already faded quickly into the rearview mirror among those who might be engineering his unseating as coach, and an unconvincing win at a struggling 2. Bundesliga team will not help his cause.

Fußball DFB-Pokal VfL Bochum - Bayern München (Getty Images/Bongarts/L. Baron)

Serge Gnabry, right, levelled the scores in the 84th minute.

Ultimately, Kovac had to send on his big guns to bail Bayern out. With a potential banana skin coming up in Frankfurt at the weekend and a Klassiker on the horizon, Kovac would have wanted to keep Robert Lewandowski's powder dry, but the Pole was thrown on at half-time, with Philippe Coutinho and Thomas Müller not far behind. Leon Goretzka, making a return to the club where it all began for him, was anonymous and jeered off the field when his number was raised in the second half.

Seemingly liberated from their league woes, Bochum were brilliant after an Alphonso Davies own goal had given them the advantage a few minutes before the break. They were organized, resolute and showed sheer grit to push Bayern as hard as they did. Uli Hoeness was in attendance alongside sidekick Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the pair were shuffling uncomfortably in their seats as the clock ticked down, but they and Bayern were spared.

Serge Gnabry kept his head at the far post to level the scores, notching up his ninth goal of the season in all competitions. Bella-Kotchap was then dismissed after stumbling and using his hand to prevent Müller from a clear run at goal, and the former Germany forward arrived in the six yard box at the right time a minute later to deftly tuck the ball past Bochum keeper Manuel Riemann at the near post.

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