Munich - FC Bayern Munich had to overturn a one-goal deficit to salvage a point at home to a determined Borussia Mönchengladbach in ther final Bundesliga assignment before the winter break.
Gladbach's Thorben Marx fired the Foals into a surprise first-half lead via the penalty spot, before Bayern substitute Xherdan Shaqiri ensured the spoils were shared on what was a frustrating night for the Bundesliga leaders.
Bayern made the sort of start typical of their 16 previous Bundesliga outings, with Franck Ribery and David Alaba providing further evidence to back up their billing as the best left-sided partnership in the world. Ribery took just five minutes to create the first real opening, teeing up Thomas Müller, whose stooping header had Marc-Andre ter Stegen scrambling across his line. The Borussia stopper was called on again moments later, this time smothering at the feet of Toni Kroos.
It was a serene 19 minutes or so for the hosts; the only thing missing was the opening goal, but it all turned sour 60 seconds later as Gladbach made their first meaningful foray into Bayern territory. Tolgar Cigerci moved unnoticed into the box, with referee Tobias Welz deeming his ensuing cross to have hit the hand of Jerome Boateng. Marx stepped up, Manuel Neuer didn't move and the Foals were ahead.
Ribery fired off an immediate response, but chasing a Bundesliga game for only the third time this season, Bayern were leaving themselves extremely exposed. Neuer was stationed predominantly on the edge of his own area, and when he came and got nowhere near a long ball over the top, Bayern had Dante's back-tracking efforts to thank for not falling further behind. Of course, it wasn't long before the league leaders were back on the offensive, with Juan Arango on hand to head clear Bastian Schweinsteiger's goalbound free kick.
Javi Martinez' 38th-minute withdrawal temporarily knocked Bayern's flow, but with substitute Shaqiri in tow and backed by the vociferous Allianz faithful, the Bavarians emerged from the tunnel after the break full of purpose as Schweinsteiger's low drive forced a smart save from ter Stegen. However, sat incredibly deep, Borussia were giving away few clear-cut chances, and it was little surprise to see Mario Gomez enter the fray in place of Mario Mandzukic just eleven minutes into the second half.
Bayern's no33 gave the home side a more obvious presence in the final third and, within two minutes of the striker's introduction, Bayern were level. Gomez acted as the perfect decoy for Shaqiri, who swept home at the back post after a mistake by Gladbach scorer Marx. Bayern smelled blood as the Foals retreated deeper and deeper, with Shaqiri chancing his arm from the edge of the box and tickling the roof of the net.
Desperate to end the winter campaign on a high, Bayern laid siege to the Gladbach goal. Ter Stegen got down well to claw away Ribery's dipping volley, before beating away quick-fire efforts from David Alaba and Schweinsteiger. Müller made way for Claudio Pizarro with ten minutes left to play, but Gladbach arrived with the intentions of spoiling the party and duly dug their heels in for the remainder, as Bayern were forced to drop points for only the fourth time in the Bundesliga this season.
Line-ups and statistics
Christopher Mayer-Lodge reporting from the Allianz Arena